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Co-parenting with a narcissist: tips and ideas

Some Texas divorces are easy. Others, however, can metastasize into irreconcilable messes — especially when a narcissist is involved. To that end, let’s discuss how to survive a split child custody agreement with someone who exhibits NPD tendencies.

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder — or NPD — appears in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. People with the condition tend to be manipulative, charming and seek attention.

Unfortunately, psychologists and psychiatrists have yet to find a consistently effective treatment for NPD, and over 50% of people who seek counseling for the condition relapse within two years.

5 common divorce-disruption tactics used by people with NPD

Narcissists all have a unique playbook. However, they tend to exhibit similar qualities.

Demand an excessive amount of information

Narcissists crave attention at all costs, and things can grow ugly when you’re entangled in a child custody battle. In such situations, they tend to demand an unreasonable amount of paperwork and fight tooth and nail to become the sole guardian, even when they have zero intention of being an involved parent.

Complicate pick-ups and drop-offs

Narcissists transform every minor hiccup into an ordeal — especially when it comes to pick-ups and drop-offs. They may ignore court orders or try to start a fight at every exchange.

Encourage sneaky and manipulative behavior

People with narcissistic tendencies are exceptionally manipulative. They will go to all lengths to ensure things go their way, and they aren’t above lying.

In some cases, they may encourage the kids to spy on you and interrogate them about what happens during your time with the children.

Play the victim

Narcissists love to play the victim. They’re experts at manipulation and will frequently turn the tables to make you look like the “bad guy.”

Reputation sabotage

People who suffer from NPD frequently try to ruin the reputations of ex-lovers. They’ll spread rumors and smear your name all over social media.

Parallel parenting: a possible solution

Parallel parenting is a workable solution for many divorced couples grappling with narcissism. What’s the difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting?

Essentially, co-parenting involves more communication, and the parents may spend time together as a family for events and vacations. Conversely, estranged couples that go the parallel parenting route have very little communication, and it’s strictly relegated to the written word.

Parallel parents rely on a rock-solid child custody agreement and rarely attend the same events and functions. Each party is free to parent as they please as long as it conforms with the settlement agreement.