Strategic Communication:

Timing and Techniques

· Main,Narcissists

When communicating with a narcissistic ex-spouse regarding co-parenting, sharing information about children, vacations, and other child-centered topics, the timing of your messages is crucial. Properly timing your communications can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts, reduce stress, and maintain control over your interactions. Here are some key strategies and techniques for effective timing in communication.

1. Avoid Immediate Responses

Why Immediate Responses Can Be Harmful:

  • Igniting Immediate Responses: Responding right away to a narcissist's message often leads to an immediate reply from them. This can cause a rapid back-and-forth exchange, escalating into an argument or conflict that we want to avoid.
  • Emotional Reactions: Immediate responses are more likely to be emotionally charged, which can give the narcissist the reaction they seek.


  • Pause Before Responding: Take time to cool off and compose yourself before replying. This can help you formulate a more measured and neutral response.
  • Set Specific Times for Checking Messages: Allocate specific times of the day to check and respond to messages, rather than reacting immediately upon receipt.

2. Timing Requests and Information

Avoid Sending Requests Too Early:

  • Premature Communication: If you send a request or information too far in advance, a narcissist may use the time leading up to the event to harass and manipulate you. For instance, if you inform them about an August vacation in May, you might face several months of arguments and accusations instead of a straightforward response.

Managing Anticipation: Narcissists often struggle with managing future events and may react negatively to information given too early.


  • Time Your Communications Wisely: Send requests and information closer to the event date, allowing just enough time for necessary arrangements without giving the narcissist too much time to create conflict.
  • Use Specific Dates: Clearly specify the dates and details in your messages to avoid any ambiguity or misinterpretation.

3. Adhere to Response Times in Divorce Decrees

Understanding Response Times:

  • Divorce Decrees: Some divorce decrees stipulate specific response times, such as 24 or 48 hours, for communications regarding certain matters, often related to the children.
  • Cooling Off Period: Waiting until the end of the stipulated response time allows the initial emotional intensity of the message to cool off, leading to more rational and calm interactions.


  • Wait to Respond: If your decree specifies a 48-hour response time, use this to your advantage. Responding at the end of the allotted time can prevent immediate back-and-forth exchanges.
  • Thoroughly Read the Decree: Ensure you understand the exact terms of your decree. Sometimes the response time applies only to specific matters, such as questions about the children. If the message does not pertain to these matters, the response time may not apply.


If the decree states that responses must be given within 48 hours for questions about the children, but the message sent has no question about the children, then you are not obligated to respond within 48 hours.

Additional Techniques

Keep Communications Brief and Neutral:

  • Avoid Emotional Language: Keep your responses short, factual, and devoid of any emotional language. This reduces the likelihood of giving the narcissist any emotional reaction to exploit.
  • Use the Grey Rock Method: Incorporate the Grey Rock Method in your communications to make your interactions uninteresting and neutral.

Document Everything:

  • Maintain Records: Keep detailed records of all communications, including dates and times. This documentation can be valuable if disputes arise or if you need to refer back to previous interactions.
  • Use Formal Channels: Whenever possible, use formal communication channels such as email or court-approved apps that automatically log and timestamp all messages.

Seek Support When Needed:

  • Professional Guidance: Consider seeking help from Grey Rock Communications, a communications coach, a co-parenting coordinator, therapist, or legal advisor who can offer strategies tailored to your specific situation.
  • Support Networks: Lean on friends, family, or support groups who understand your situation and can provide emotional support and practical advice.


Strategic communication is essential when dealing with a narcissistic ex-spouse in co-parenting situations. By carefully timing your messages, avoiding immediate responses, adhering to divorce decree stipulations, and employing neutral communication techniques, you can minimize conflict and maintain control over your interactions. Remember, the goal is to create a calm, structured environment that prioritizes the well-being of your children and your own peace of mind.