This article provides nine practical ways to do so while parenting an infant.
Have A Legal Parenting Plan
Raising a child with a narcissist means you will see them for a very long time. Therefore, hire a lawyer to help you draft a parenting plan. Write down what you and your ex want when drafting a custody agreement.
The more details, the lesser your fights will be. Ensure you include the visitation schedules, holiday arrangements, and managing expenses with the infant. Once the parenting plan is drafted, both parties should sign it including a third party.
Make Use Of Court Services
Do you know about Guardian ad litem (GAL)? They are a neutral person appointed by the court. Their job is to ensure the child receives the best interests. Why not request one? The guardian will assess your situation and your child’s, and give recommendations about the best ways to take care of their needs.
Psychology Today adds that you can request a parent coordinator for support. They have special training and are certified to handle high-conflict cases. Working with a parent coordinator will help reduce your stress and your infant’s.
Alternatively, work with a mediator. Mediators do not offer advice or recommendations. Instead, they help resolve conflicts as parents work out details about the parenting plan. Once you are done working out the plan, present it to the judge to be passed as a court order. When co-parenting with a narcissist, a court order will help keep them in line.
Have Strict Boundaries
Your narcissist ex thrives by seeing you angry, anxious, and upset. Therefore, limit all channels that can satisfy their ego. For example, maintain only one communication channel that does not include meeting in-person, text messages, or a phone call.
Divorce Magazine suggests the use of a co-parenting app. All communications will be available in writing with the timestamps through the app. If the need arises, they can be downloaded and used as evidence in court.
Alternatively, try emailing. With emails, you have time to cool down before responding to a manipulative text. Besides, your ex will not see your emotions.
Keep Your Emotions In Check
Any emotions and attention you display will only feed a narcissist’s ego. For this reason, identify their triggers. If they call you a deadbeat parent, do not rush to justify or explain the accusation. Instead, remain calm and composed. Repeat a personal mantra every time you feel your emotions are off-balance. Your ex will stop messing with your feelings once they realize you are no longer prey.
Remember that your parenting issues are vaguely the reason behind conflicts between you and your ex. Instead, their ego is often the underlying problem. Your ex has low self-esteem and is highly sensitive to criticism. Therefore, do not wound their ego in an attempt to stop the argument. Your perspective when handling conflict should be to maintain your sanity, as well as, your child’s safety.
Prioritize The Baby
Narcissists are overly concerned about themselves. Therefore, always prioritize your child’s needs. Do consider their feelings every time you have drama with their other parent. Create time to talk about what they are going through, because they will not get this attention elsewhere.
Moreover, refrain from name-calling their partner regardless of how ruthless they are towards you. Doing so will only make your toddler feel guilty and responsible about the situation. Also, do not rant or speak ill about the other parent. Instead, talk to a mature adult or a counselor about the situation.
Lastly, never use your toddler as a pawn. Never ask them to convey messages to the other parent or bring you information. On the contrary, ask whether they had a good day and find ways to cheer them up if they did not.
Have a log on anything and everything about the parenting plan. Include the number of times your ex showed up late for visitation or made no appearance. Remember to write down those days they requested to change the parenting plan. These details may seem small but are crucial in establishing patterns.
Try Parallel Parenting
If you are having trouble co-parenting with a narcissist ex, try parallel parenting. The arrangement limits contact with an ex. You no longer have to be both present in the baby’s activities like birthdays. Besides, each parent decides how to raise the child when they are under their care. This last resort reduces conflicts and interference and gives you time and room to heal.
Go For Counselling
Your emotional state will be affected when co-parenting with a narcissist. Healthline advises parents to seek help from a licensed therapist. They will listen to your troubles and help you work towards finding solutions. Sharing your problems with a neutral party can also help you re-evaluate your situation.
Consider counseling for your little one too. Even at a young age, children can pick negative energy from parents. Find a child therapist to help your baby decode their emotions.
Co-parenting with your ex will be stressful, so find ways to take a break and relax. You will be in a better position to take care of your infant when you are physically and mentally fit. Read a book, meditate, take a walk, or go out with friends. When you practice self-care, you will be equipped to handle your manipulative ex and care for your little one.
NEXT: How Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Are Co-Parenting Amid Marriage Troubles
Sources: Healthline, Divorce Magazine, Psychology Today
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