If you share custody of your children, you know that it can be a difficult situation for your family, no matter the circumstances. Parenting relationships can become more strained when one parent displays frequent narcissism because this trait affects how a person interacts with others. If you believe your co-parent could be a narcissist, you’re probably wondering about your options when dealing with this challenging situation. Read this blog or contact an Ocean County Child Custody Attorney for tips on successfully handling narcissism.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CO-PARENT IS A NARCISSIST?
The only way to know if someone is truly a narcissist is if a mental health professional diagnoses them with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Not everyone who displays narcissistic tendencies has this disorder, but it can still be difficult to deal with someone who frequently exhibits behavior related to this disorder. Common symptoms of NPD include an exaggerated sense of superiority, low empathy for others, a constant need for attention/praise, envious tendencies, and manipulation of others. Most people have exhibited one of these symptoms at least once in their life, but it is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with someone who often displays these behaviors. If your co-parent has narcissistic tendencies, they might:
- Put their wants/needs before your or your children’s needs
- Manipulate your children into thinking you’re the cause of any problems that arise
- View criticism or constructive feedback as a personal attack
- Refuse to be flexible for custody arrangements
- Have fewer rules with the children so they seem like the ‘fun’ parent
HOW CAN I SUCCESSFULLY CO-PARENT WITH SOMEONE WITH NARCISSISTIC TENDENCIES?
Even if your co-parent doesn’t have NPD, it’s extremely important to establish a legal and reasonable parenting agreement that you and your co-parent can reference for future scheduling. It may be helpful to hire an experienced custody lawyer to protect you legally. If a narcissistic co-parent tries to manipulate their way into breaking the agreement, your lawyer can likely hold them accountable for going against your legally binding plan. You can also hire a mediator to resolve issues between you and the other parent.
When it comes to personally dealing with a co-parent who might be a narcissist, it’s best to try to control your emotions around them because they might try to get a rise out of you with their behavior. You can protect your children from their behavior by creating a safe and loving environment away from the co-parent. It’s best to keep children out of parental issues as much as possible. If the co-parent’s behavior turns abusive, you can contact family protective services and seek full custody of your children.
Do you think you could be dealing with a narcissistic co-parent? You should speak with a trusted child custody attorney who can help you determine your options going forward. Thankfully, the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC is here to fight for you! Contact our firm today for an initial consultation.