Co-parenting is not without its ups and downs. This is especially true when your ex is given to narcissistic behaviors. Co-parenting can seem all but impossible under these circumstances, but you must ensure your children feel loved and supported at all times. Psychology Today explains how you can co-parent with a former spouse when he or she proves difficult to deal with.
Narcissists have a hard time warming up to concepts that aren’t in line with their narrow way of thinking. When it comes to your kids and their interests, the other parent may routinely dismiss or belittle a child’s pursuits, to the point where they are no longer enjoyable. If this is an issue with your ex, try to reframe the interests in a way that gives them value to your former spouse. While it may seem unfair to cater to his or her warped point of view, the important thing is that your child feels safe and secure expression herself while growing up.
Narcissistic parents also have a hard time creating a feeling of unconditional love for their kids. This is because narcissists are unable to express love and affection while angry or upset. As a result, your ex-spouse may behave harshly towards kids during times of struggle, to the point where your children might question whether they are indeed loved by you both. The only real solution to this is to love your children unconditionally at all times. If the narcissistic parents continually uses language and insults to cut down your kids, build them back up the best you can. Support their interests, offer ample praise, and let them know they are lovable just the way they are.
Being exposed to narcissistic behaviors can also cause problems with empathy. When a child sees one parent reacting negatively towards others and dismissing their feelings, it can be easy to follow suit. It’s your responsibility to show your children how important empathy is when it comes to others. Look for real-world examples and ask your kids to step into another person’s shoes. Setting a good example will counter your ex’s bad ones and show your children there is more than one interpretation of life.