Co-Parenting with a Narcissist?

There is no co-parenting with a narcissist – only hurt and despair. The health and welfare of our children were never his priorities during our marriage. During the divorce, the children were manipulated to obtain information about me.

They were all under age ten and missed their dad even though he was abusive towards them. Parenting time with the narcissist was used to continue the abuse. The children were met with demands by the narcissist to secretly remove items from their childhood home for him and met with rage and fury if they did not comply. They were grilled relentlessly about my activities and screamed at when he heard something he did not like.

He screamed at our young children because he was mad at me. I’m an adult, and his screaming and tantrums mean something different to me. This behavior towards the children was incredibly destructive and painful.

Eventually, the children told me they no longer wished to visit their dad, and, as he claims, in retaliation, he moved hundreds of miles away. The narcissist slowly cut off contact with the children until this past Christmas; there was no contact at all.

There is no co-parenting with a narcissist; only damage control.


Author: Undeniably Sara

Abuse is an unfortunate reality in this world and is more than physical assault. The invisible trauma we suffer can result in chronic illness, which is a relentless beast gnawing away at the soundness of mind. Education and support from others are vital in the healing journey.

45 thoughts on “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist?”

  1. My dad did this. It was horrible. I may have been a people pleaser before him but after him, I became a doormat and handed people the shoes (my daighter’s words).

    He died when I was 16 but I married him to make sure I wouldn’t forget.

    I’m glad your children have you to care about them and to care. I’m sorry about this past Christmas but maybe they were relieved?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s “auto-incorrect.” 🙂

        Another phrase I’ve heard is “We’ve got to stop carving the stick they usento beat us.” This was in a corporate setting, but seems akin to the shoes/doormat analogy.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m sorry you had such a negative experience with your father. I fret over my children and their experiences. It is so very true that many times we end up marrying a person just like a difficult parent. Ugh! I know the kids are hurt when their father ignores them during holidays and birthdays but they do not wish to have any contact with him. It must be a conflicting emotion for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was “lucky” enough that my narcissistic husband leave me two weeks after our son was stillborn, so I don’t have to go through the constant pain, frustration and I’m sure exasperation that you and your gorgeous children have to endure. In all of your posts I can see my ex, so I have so much empathy for what you are going through. Stay strong and count your blessings that at least you aren’t still married to him xx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My husband’s ex-wife is a narcissistic sociopath. I completely understand. There is no co-parenting. It’s as you say, damage control, and right now I’m not even sure we’re able to do that. With best wishes and understanding …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry your dad is a narcissist. I know that had to be difficult for you. I can relate to your comment about your mom. I used to just sit and wait for something bad to happen because inevitably it would and I had to be there to protect the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I brought my children up very differently to how I had originally intended had they not had to deal with this challenging person. My first priority was always that they would know their own mind and to be able to fight for the right to be their own person . Both my youngsters eventually walked off and left him at various times when he started his nonsense.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m terribly sorry you, and so many others, have had to deal with abuse from a narcissist. I suspect my parents are on the narcissistic spectrum ( I would call them mild), and I also ended up married to someone who was abusive and is a sociopath. I wish healthy relationships was something we learned in school, I would have liked to have avoided that waste of 8 years. Lol

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It seems narcissistic abuse is quite common. I agree with you that it would be helpful if healthy relationships were taught in school. I think the early intervention would be good for victims and potential abusers alike. Life is far to short to spend even a minute being abused.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. having one good parent is better then 2 damaged ones. Sometimes its best the damager steps away even if they do so for selfish reasons it may be the most selfless thing they do without realising

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sorry to hear that. We have these two experiences in common as well. As difficult as it was, I learned that my ex sabotaged his own relationship with the children and his court case. He tried to turn the kids against me but they were observant enough to see he was acting out of anger. He also refused to pay child support – sending us back to court after the divorce was finalized – only to be required to pay all the back support in addition to a permanently higher monthly payment than if he would have just paid what he owed in the first place. It is gratefying to see him do it to himself – that way I have no guilt or responsibility in causing his troubles.


      2. You are fortunate to have the children see the truth. Unfortunately one of my son’s is still caught in his web of lies. It’s sad, but I am not giving up. My son will know I fought the whole time because I loved him so. My oldest son was able to come back. However, the court will not interview him as a whistle blower to the the mental abuse. He may have won the battle, but he hasn’t won the war.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Undeniably Sara, it’s enlightening to read these comments, as Ms. Jinx observed, healthy relationships should have been taught in schools, but we were often bullied by students, and sometimes teachers (wondering, if the school system could really teach us). It still falls back on the home and it is best to protect our family, not in the sense of control, one day at a time, that implies, deliberate kindness to the upcoming ones, despite what we have experienced from those who should have protected us..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. Much of our school system is broken, and struggling to teach the basics of reading and writing. Family is the primary teacher in our lives, but I know there are far too many children who are safer and better cared for at school. There is no easy or simple answer to this problem

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I received counseling from a narcissism expert, Dr. Wes Carter, who told me the best revenge against a narcissist is to live your life to the fullest. I had to learn the hard way, and no one understands the PTSD we suffer post-narcissistic abuse except others who have been through it. My kids are learning more every day about my ex’s illness and understanding his behavior. My struggle now is trying to teach them his emotions are not their responsibility. Every time he gets upset, they feel they have to make him feel better. They think it is their responsibility to keep him happy, which is what I did for the 8 years we were together. Constantly juggling all the balls in the air, frantically making sure nothing falls, so he won’t get upset. Exhausting doesn’t even cover it. Prayers for all of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I know I’m super late to this post, but this is TOTALLY my life. I literally just posted something similar to this a few days ago. How do you deal with it? What tips do you have that keep you from just snapping on everyone (even the kids at times) because they still think he’s this awesome guy, while you’re doing EVERYTHING for them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am fortunate that my ex-husband moved several hundred miles away a few years ago and now has very infrequent contact with the kids (usually via text – not physical visits). It is a double-edged sword because the kids feel abandoned by him but are also scared and angry about the abuse when they were younger. Take care of yourself so that you can be the best mom for your kids and stock up on patience because it will likely be a while before the kids can see through his behavior. I’m so sorry to hear this is a current struggle for you – but it will get better.

      Liked by 1 person

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