Co-parenting with a narcissist can keep you embroiled in the abuse for the rest of your life as they simply transfer all of their behaviours onto the child(ren). This can be exhausting, frustrating and worrying as you know how it felt being treated that was as an ADULT so hate the thought of your child going through it.
Sadly, the narcissist will not change their behaviour. There is no magic word to stop them from hurting their own flesh and blood. They simply do not care. They are only interested and in their agenda.
This series on co-parenting with a narcissist is going to explore this difficult top in more detail. I hope to be able to give you the tools to deal more effectively with the narcissist. To handle the day to day drama they love to lure you into. But most importantly, to protect your child.
Firstly we are going to look at how narcissists parent which will help prepare you for co-parenting.
1. Emotional manipulation
A parent will use emotional manipulation to maintain control over their child.
Guilt– a child who feels guilty if they “let their parent down” in either a real or perceived way
Blame– the child is blamed for everything to ensure the narcissist maintains their persona of perfection (eg an accident gets blamed on the child rather than the parent taking responsibility)
This can cause the child to doubt himself and weaken his self-esteem.
Gaslighting- a narcissistic parent will convince a child that they are not abused or badly treated by him. They will often say that they want the best for the child and sacrificed their life so that the child has what they need. By saying these positive things over and over, the child will start thinking that they are exaggerating and, that their parent is a good parent. Even though the child experiences verbal, emotional, physical or even sexual abuse.
2.They are always in control
A narcissistic parent will decide what the child does regardless of whether the child enjoys it or not. A narcissist parent won’t really get to know their child and instead turn them into the child they want them to be to best represent the narcissist
3. They are not able to be ‘introspective’
Narcissists struggle with their own emotions and so are unable to model healthy emotional responses to their children. This can lead to children being unable to regulate their own emotions and having inappropriate reactions
4. They put people down
The narcissist needs to feel superior to everyone so will put other people down to raise themselves up (although they will be careful not to do this in public as they don’t want to ruin their facade)
5. They are inconsistent in their behaviour
A narcissist parent is very inconsistent in their anger and praise therefore a child will walk on eggshells, unsure what will set the narcissist off.
6. They project a lot
A narcissist parent will put their emotions onto others so if they are feeling angry they will tell the child that it is them who is feeling angry which will confuse the child and leave them unsure what emotions are real and imaginary
7. They are the martyr who sacrifices their life for the children
A narcissist parent will make a child feel guilty for all that they have done for them. The child will feel responsible for making their parent happy or unhappy but the truth is that the narcissist will never be happy so the child will always feel like they have failed them.
In the next episode we will be looking at how their behaviour is abusive and how to report it.
If you are in the midst of this and are struggling to see the wood for the trees please do get in touch, I really do want to help.
What are your experiences of co-parenting with a narcissist? Have you found anything that works? Is there anything specific you would like me to cover? Your feedback helps me to provide you with the information YOU want so thank you.