Co-Parenting with a Narcissist: Is it possible?

Narcissists usually develop their toxic traits since childhood, as many of them are raised to believe that love is conditional.

To receive affection, you must earn it. To be nurtured, you must work for it. No wonder why they grow up to be so egocentric and constantly in need of admiration.

In general, people high on narcissism have a crooked perception of self-esteem. Instead of being confident, they are self-centered. Instead of working hard on achieving their goals, they manipulate others into thinking they are praiseworthy. Meanwhile, they are unable to deal with criticism, even if it aims to help them improve. Their ego is far too fragile to handle judgment.

And because self-esteem is built from early childhood, parents have a lot to do with their kids’ personal characteristics.

Sadly, we often forget how incredibly perceptive our children are. They absorb information with the speed of light. So it is our job to control what kind of knowledge we are giving them.

In theory, it is quite simple. If you teach your kids that they need to constantly prove themselves to be loved, they will grow up believing that they are not enough. If you let them know that you are going to be there for them no matter what, they will feel free to follow their hearts without the pressure of disappointing you. And when they become adults, they will live knowing that they can always count on you, instead of avoiding being around you. Isn’t that what you want for them?

Many parents raise their sons and daughters to believe that the destination is more important than the journey itself. Eventually, these children become obsessed with winning the prize and fail to appreciate all the lessons on the way.

But what if it’s the other way around?

What if it is the parent who is the narcissist?

In that case, the children become an extension of their parents’ egos. A narcissistic mother or father expects to be praised for their kids’ accomplishments. In their minds, they deserve to be applauded for their children’s success, even if they had nothing to do with it. And if their sons and daughters dare to choose a path that differs from the one they believe is right, they instantly get upset and lash out at them, as if it was a life or death situation.

This toxic parental influence makes it extremely hard for the child to live authentically.

Do you believe that your partner is a narcissist and their behavior affects your children? If your answer is “yes,” then you are in a very unpleasant position. You are situated between a narcissistic spouse and an innocent child who needs guidance. It is your job to be a good role model and teach your kid to differ right from wrong.

Having in mind that children see the world through the eyes of their parents, you have the chance to show them an incredible world full of opportunities, excitement, and hope. Instead of pointing out your partner’s flaws, teach your children how to be empathetic. Eventually, they will be able to recognize the red flags of narcissism themselves.

By becoming a good role model, a mentor, and a friend to your child, you can contribute to a flourishing family bond.

Children raised by narcissists suffer from severe self-image issues. According to Psychology Today, if you do your best to be a good role model, parent, and mentor, then you can help your child develop healthy bonds and intimacy. You have the power to help your kid overcome their individuality issues and let them know that they are worthy of love.

Co-parenting with a narcissist is not impossible to handle. As long as you keep up with their dynamic, you can cushion the intensity of their behavior. Whenever you feel like their attitude is far too harsh, you can address the issue, giving them enough time to process your concerns. This can be the beginning of a much-needed conversation about boundaries in your family.

Parallel parenting is another way you can proceed with a narcissistic partner, in case you have already parted ways. It is a form of parenting, in which parents limit their communication, but follow a set of agreed terms for their children. This works well in high-conflict situations where you and your ex cannot reach any kind of agreement.

Are you co-parenting with a narcissist? What do you do to bring balance to the bond they have with your children? Let us know in the comment section!

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