Is it possible you may be co-parenting with a narcissist?

What is a Narcissist?

  • Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from other people
  • Fixation on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  • Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions
  • Need for continual admiration from others
  • A sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  • Exploitation of others to achieve personal gain
  • Unwillingness to empathize with the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people
  • Intense envy of others, and the belief that others are equally envious of them
  • Pompous and arrogant demeanor

Narcissists are controlling, they seem unaware of others’ needs or how their behavior affects others. They are often intolerant of others’ views and will use various strategies to protect themselves at the expense of others. They will insult and blame others, and heaven help the person that gives them negative feedback! Then they turn angry and hostile. Since the narcissist’s fragile ego cannot accept criticism (even if you didn’t intend it to be a criticism), they will feel humiliation easier and react with angry outbursts. Their rage isn’t the normal reaction for what was done to them and they’ll often try to seek revenge. And wow, you married this person.
Of course, it doesn’t do any good to point that out, you’ve already realized what a big mistake this was, but what do you do now?

Our courts are filled with narcissistic parents and their ex-spouses. The lawyers grapple with the problem and the courts are just unable to micromanage your case in such a way to keep you sane.

Here are some steps that we use however to limit the craziness the other parent will expose you to. It doesn’t eliminate the problems altogether, but you can control it somewhat.

Steps to Survive Co-parenting with a Narcissist

Step 1. Keep your communications short.

Step 2. Talk about the children only.

Step 3. Never let them see you sweat.

Step 4. Think like a lawyer.

Writing it down also lets you address someone hearing it incorrectly or misunderstanding. “Just to make sure we are all on the same page, you’ve agreed to pick up the kids at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow and I’ll have them ready at the library for the pickup. Please let me know if I’ve got this wrong.” Then you have proof about the details, which can be important if something goes wrong later. No matter how nasty the response is, keep in mind that the court will likely read this, so keep it clean. Keep in simple. Keep it short.

Step 5. Don’t talk badly about the other parent in front of your children, or where the children can hear you.

Step 6. Don’t take the bait.

Step 7. Set healthy boundaries.

If you are having issues co-parenting with your ex and there are signs of a mental condition like narcissistic personality disorder be sure to seek advice from an experienced custody lawyer can help. Contact Anderson & Boback today to speak with one of our family law attorneys so you can discuss issues related to co-parenting with a narcissist.


When Everything Is On The Line, You Need An Attorney You Can Trust, That Will Advocate & Fight For Your Family! We Can Help!