Coparenting with a narcissist can be challenging and requires a lot of patience, boundary-setting, and self-care. Narcissists often have a distorted sense of reality, and their behaviors can be manipulative, self-centered, and emotionally abusive. This can make it difficult to work together to co-parent your children effectively.
However, it is important to prioritize your children's well-being and create a stable environment for them. Here are some tips for coparenting with a narcissist:
- Establish clear boundaries: Set clear boundaries with the narcissistic parent and communicate these boundaries to them. Let them know what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Be consistent in enforcing these boundaries.
- Keep communication brief and to the point: When communicating with the narcissistic parent, keep your messages brief and to the point. Stick to the facts and avoid engaging in emotionally charged conversations.
- Document everything: Keep a record of all communications with the narcissistic parent, including emails, text messages, and phone calls. This can be helpful in case of legal disputes. We recommend Our Family Wizard. It is the best co-parenting communications app we have worked with.
- Don't engage in their games: Narcissists often engage in manipulative behavior to get their way. Don't engage in their games, and don't let them provoke you.
- Focus on your children: Keep the focus on your children's well-being. Put aside your personal feelings and work together with the narcissistic parent to provide a stable and loving environment for your children.
- Seek professional help: Consider working with a therapist or a family counselor who has experience working with coparenting with a narcissist. They can provide you with the tools and support you need to navigate this challenging situation.
Remember that coparenting with a narcissist can be difficult, but it is possible. Keep your focus on your children, and prioritize their well-being above all else.
Can a Narcissist Ever Get Better or Change?
Narcissism is a personality trait that can be difficult to change. Some experts assert that with effort and commitment, select individuals may be able to address and modify their narcissistic tendencies. Change or get better though? Not very likely.
There are different levels and types of narcissism, ranging from mild to severe, and some forms are more resistant to change than others. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), for example, is a more extreme and persistent form of narcissism that typically requires professional treatment. The assumption though is that an individual is willing to get evaluated and then treated.
Theoretically, individuals with narcissistic tendencies can work to reduce their self-centeredness and develop more empathy and consideration for others. This would, however, involve developing an awareness of one's own behavior and the impact it has on others, as well as learning how to regulate one's emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Some approaches that may be helpful for addressing narcissism include therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic therapy, as well as group therapy or support groups. Additionally, mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, may be helpful in developing self-awareness and reducing reactivity.
It's important to note that change (if any) would be a gradual and ongoing process, and it's not always possible for everyone to completely overcome their narcissistic tendencies. However, with effort and commitment, individuals could make significant progress towards becoming more empathetic and considerate towards others.
Currently, we have not ever seen a genuine effort towards changing behaviors from the narcissists we deal with. But experts say that it is possible.