Co-Parenting with a Narcissist: What You Need To Know

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is bad enough, but it takes things to a whole other level when children are involved and you have to do co-parenting with a narcissist.

Getting away from a narcissist is a difficult thing to do. However, when you have children together, you must try to put aside your differences and do what is best for the children.

While you may realize this, the narcissist only thinks about what is best for themselves personally. This makes co-parenting one of the biggest challenges you will ever face. In fact, you are going to have to deal with this person until your children reach adulthood.

Since you already know what you will have to deal with for the next several years, you need to find a way to make it work.

The first step is obviously to seek intervention through the courts. Then, once a custody agreement is established, you will have to work together to ensure that things stay as normal as possible for your children.

The Trials and Tribulations of Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

Narcissists are perpetually angry and always look for ways to get even with those they feel have done them wrong. In fact, if they think they can get away with it, they will continue to torment you at every opportunity because they have it in their heads that they are victims, and everyone else, you, in particular, is at fault.

They feel that they are better than everyone else and that they are entitled to special treatment. As a result, they often say and do horrible things and then make it seem like their partners’ fault. If you have to co-parent with a narcissist, you have a long and challenging road ahead of you. Stay grounded in your truth and focused on keeping your children the priority in all interactions.

First, you must take steps to avoid confrontations as much as possible. You can’t change a narcissist, but you can make sure that your children are safe, healthy, and happy.

Proving Your Case in Court

Narcissism personality disorder can be challenging to prove, especially in a court of law. It is not a physical disorder, and the narcissist is so good at being a narcissist that they can hide it. They also will not seek therapy or treatment, so getting an actual diagnosis will be impossible.

You must have an attorney who is an expert with this type of case and can handle dealing with toxic people. If you intend to prove that your ex is a narcissist, you can expect to spend a lot of time and money trying to do so.

A highly skilled narcissist can fool the most intelligent people, including lawyers and judges. In fact, it may be that they can completely fool judges into believing that they are excellent parents.

And unfortunately, many judges fail to realize that a narcissist will use these proceedings to maintain control over you and your children.

The narcissist will play the role of the perfect parent whose only interest is ensuring the children are happy and well-cared for. They will go out of their way to make the courts think they are right and that you are the one who is actually the problem.

Co-Parenting Counseling may be Ordered

Sometimes, the court may order both parents to take co-parenting counseling. Unfortunately, narcissists often fail to show up for these sessions.

On the rare occasion they do, they will look for ways to make it look like the therapist is against them. They will petition the court for a new therapist, but chances are they will not attend those visits unless they think they can manipulate the therapist into their way of thinking.

If you are lucky, the judge will order you and your ex to take psychological evaluations, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). As long as your ex isn’t able to outsmart the test, the court can learn a lot about what is truly going on.

Once proven that your ex is a clinical narcissist, they can begin to create a plan that will be in the children’s best interest. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

In fact, it may be that your child will be placed on the witness stand. If they are entirely under the narcissist’s control, it will only take a single look from that parent to scare the child into lying on their behalf.

The Narcissistic Parent

While you may think you have it rough dealing with a narcissistic ex, your children are going through a lot worse. This is because their needs are not put ahead of the needs of the narcissist.

Instead, the children are groomed to put the parents’ needs ahead of their own. Thus, the bond created is highly toxic, and the results could be detrimental.

Narcissists often see their children as tools to be used whenever they need them. As a result, the children will essentially be extensions of the narcissist, and the parent will be highly manipulative. This is mental abuse, and it can have serious consequences.

The narcissist will do whatever it takes to manipulate their children. They will use brainwashing and demoralizing techniques to break them down.

Over time, this will leave the children with serious mental health issues. This will not matter to the narcissist as long as they get what they want.

Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

Making Co-Parenting with a Narcissist Work

When dealing with a narcissistic ex, you must realize that you will have to do most of the work. So the first thing to do is set boundaries.

You will need to be very clear about what is expected of your ex and what will not be tolerated regarding how they parent your children.

Here are some tips to help you in co-parenting with a narcissist.

1. Put Everything in Writing

When co-parenting with a narcissistic ex, it is crucial to ensure everything is documented, including schedules, meetings with teachers, activities, discipline, etc.

Documenting everything is necessary to ensure that the narcissist cannot turn things around to make you look like a bad parent. Then, when things are in writing, you can hold them accountable for their actions.

2. Avoid Reacting to Triggers

The narcissist will do whatever it takes to trigger you and set you off. You must learn how to not react to these triggers. Instead, look for tools to help you cope with this behavior. Do not respond in the heat of the moment, lest you say or do something you may regret later on.

3. Focus on the Children

The most important thing to remember is the children’s best interests. It is apparent that you and your ex cannot get along.

In fact, they will take steps to make you look like the one who is being difficult. Therefore, focus on the needs of your children. This will help to keep you from acting when you are triggered. Also, ensure that the children aren’t being dragged into fights with your ex.

4. Be Consistent as a Parent

Just because your narcissistic ex isn’t going to change doesn’t mean you can’t help your children grow and develop. You must show consistency in your parenting, even if your ex does not.

When you say you will do something, do it. When you say you will show up at a specific time, show up at that time. These behaviors will help your children’s development because you will set an excellent example.

5. Get Outside Help From an Expert

Finding a therapist with experience in dealing with narcissists may be necessary. They can help you throughout this process and will be able you learn how to best deal with your co-parenting issues.

You may also want to consider finding a therapist for your children. This will help them learn how to deal with the situation healthily.

6. Be Parallel Parents

It may be that you and your ex cannot work together as co-parents. If this is the case, you may want to consider working as parallel parents. This means you will be a team but won’t have to engage with one another.

You will do the same things, but instead of doing them as co-parents, you will be working separately. This is often necessary when the relationship between parents is so toxic that they must avoid each other.


Co-parenting with a narcissist is emotionally and physically draining. To be the parent you need to be, you must take time for self-care.

Not only will this help you, but it will also help your children because it will show them the importance of self-care. In the long run, this may be the best thing you can teach them, especially when dealing with a narcissistic parent.

About The Author

Special offer for our visitors

Why Won’t My Kids Listen? Get your FREE Checklist with Proven Solutions

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions