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Once upon a time, there was a Greek hunter named Narcissus whose beauty surpassed everyone. He rejected all admirers and eventually fell in love with his reflection on the water.
After his death, a narcissus flower bloomed on the place where he fell in love with himself.
Taking his example, you can deduce that a narcissist is a self-obsessed person. You must know a narcissist have little or no empathy for others.
Now, what happens when you marry a narcissist and have a child with them? Can you co-parent with a narcissist?
To know more, read on.
How to Find out Your Partner is a Narcissist
Narcissists appear very happy and charming on the outer surface. They are the life of the party as most people love them. But when you try to make a connection with them, they fail ridiculously.
But still, people choose a narcissist spouse just by seeing the glitz and glam of their outward persona.
Narcissists are very cunning and can easily manipulate you to do something for them.
They are control freaks, and they will go to every extent to control you as a person until your will gives in. which is exhausting, but you feel like you have no other way.
A narcissist will often give you the silent treatment and make you feel guilty even though you have not done anything objectionable.
Identifying a narcissist is a tough job as it might take years to realize you married the ‘wrong’ person.
Things get worse when you have a child together. What do you do then?
How to Co-Parent with a Narcissist
The best way to co-parent with a narcissist is to sever all ties with them via divorcing and taking custody of your child so that they can grow up in a safe environment.
But Divorcing is not easy as it costs a lot of time, money and emotional turmoil.
According to Healthline, narcissistic parents will not let you get hold of their children and will do everything in their power to keep them away from you by badmouthing about yourself.
Thus enormous conflicts will arise.
Then How Do You Co-Parent?
Since your spouse is aggressive and ready to gaslight you; Gather psychoeducation on dealing with a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
- You have to be very vigilant about the activities of your spouse. You cannot control that person. But, what you can do is observe and set your own rules by being assertive.
- Fighting with a narcissist will only drain you out. Moreover, it can scare your child. Eventually, it will affect your parental abilities.
- You will have to understand the person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has a very deflated sense of self-esteem. They probably have been subjected to extreme abuse that made them into the person they are today. They do not see anyone as an individual, They perceive everyone as an extension of their personality. And when that other person or their extended self does something unruly, they gaslight them.
Accept this. No matter how hard it is, you have to accept it.
How To Take Care of Yourself
- You have to make yourself a priority. It would be better not to engage in too many conversations with your spouse. Instead, try going to a therapist and ask how to deal with the mental pressure you are facing. Take breaks from work and take your children out. Spend time outside the house a lot as you cannot always fight for custody in court. Avoid taking your spouse along with you as they might again try to control you and your activities. On the other hand, do take enough rest to deal with adversities because co-parenting with a person with Narcissistic Personality disorder will come with loads of daily challenges. It might stay for the rest of your lives.
- Find support on other people, be it friends or family or someone you are very close to. Because the emotional intimacy that you will crave will never come from your spouse as they lack empathy, a typical sign of being a sociopath. Family therapy and couples therapy might help in some cases. But, it is hard to bring a narcissist to a therapist or provide them with any kind of mental health care. Because they are always in denial and will not accept that they have a problem. They will aggressively point out that you have a problem. Be prepared to be accused of something, like, “You are not raising good children. You should attend the therapy instead”.
The Effect on Children Having A Narcissistic Parent
The children of a narcissist experience abuse in many ways.
But the primary abuse they face is emotional.
Often a passive-aggressive narcissist will try to control their kids with corporal punishments. But when they grow up, almost at the age of moving out of their parents’ house, the brought up changes them because a narcissist never nurtures them.
They may show the following traits
- Decreased sense of self-esteem
- Does not know how to set boundaries
- Passive-aggressive behaviours
- Criminal activities
- Anxiety or Mood Disorders
- Personality disorders
- Imposter syndrome
- Suicidal ideation
- Emptiness because of the emotional absence of a parent
- Emotional vulnerability
- Trust issues
- Addiction issues
- Inability in forming a healthy relationship
What a Sensible Parent Can do
- First of all, they must stop criticizing narcissistic parents in front of their children. Why? Because it creates tremendous insecurity in a child. They get confused and cannot decide whose side they must take on.
- Second of all, sensible parents must assure them that they are here to support their children no matter what. Thus a safe environment is created.
- Make sure, as your child grows up, they o not end up hating both of their parents even if one is manipulative and toxic. They can learn from immoral behaviours. And via learning, they can decide what o implement in their lives. There is always a possibility that the child of a Narcissist might turn out as a narcissist.
- On the other hand, if the co-parent with NPD gets violent and starts physically abusing their spouse or children then the police must be notified and legal actions must be taken.
As I mentioned initially, acceptance is the key to co-parenting with a narcissist; You will find it hard to accept and keep thinking, “why me?” or “why my child?”
Well, there is no prompt answer except finding ways to cope with it through resilience.
If you can’t cope with it then take your kids and leave.
“The truth always comes out in the end, no matter how hard anyone tries to hide it. Lies are just a temporary delay to the inevitable.”
People will know the true self of the narcissist. They will be forced to change their ways to see that person who often devalued you in front of them. They will help you and your kids get back up on your feet. Not losing hope after facing such abuse is dangerously courageous.