Anger and headbanging highly likely occurrences.
When you are faced raising your children with the interference of the other parent, a narcissist, you are in for a treat of incredibly difficult situations. Because narcissist don’t parent in a healthy way in any occasion, as life is all about them. But when they have the opportunity to use the parenting tool to work against their ex, and demonstrate that they are ‘top dog’, all hell breaks loose. Hence, it makes sense to rephrase ‘co-parenting’ into counter-parenting.
It is an incredible challenging process for all involved, parent and children. Apart from the narcissist. Below are some important nuggets to keep in mind when you find yourself or a friend or family member in the situation of having to counter-parent with a narcissist.
- It is all about punishing you in any way possible and often via the children. A narcissist needs to be in control the whole time. This is more difficult when the family is not together anymore and the narcissists anger is directed to the person who, in their opinion, caused that.
- A narcissist doesn’t take responsibility for any situation and will always blame others. As the other parent you will be sneered and smeared about.
- It is important to navigate the process with your children as they will be on the receiving end of the negative comments about you, they will not stick to agreements
- You can’t protect your children from the influence of the narcissist. But you can be there to offer a solid base, the person they can rely on and trust. Be consistent and demonstrate your values of respect, love and reliability. This will show your children how a good parent is supposed to act, in contrast with the failures of the narcissist.
- You will have to do most of the work regarding the children. The narcissist is not interested and won’t support their activities. Forms won’t be filled in and sent off, payments won’t be made, lifts might be cancelled, so the workload is on you. If you want to ensure your children attend certain activities, it is up to you to make sure that happens.
- Remember that narcissists happily step over boundaries. No matter how strong you are, boundaries will be ignored.
- It is very tempting to rescue the narcissist. For example, when they don’t stick to the deal of bringing a child to a training session, it is easy to step in for the sake of your son or daughter and bringing them instead. However, by doing that your child won’t see the true colours of their narc parent. These situations are very trying: do you allow your child to pay the price by not being able to attend training? Choose your battles here.
- Take responsibility for what you can do and be clear about the narcissist’s responsibilities. Communicate that to the children as well. They will start to recognise who sticks to theirs and who doesn’t…..
- It’s hard for your children. They will be very confused and unsettled. Be gentle with them and keep focused on having a trusting relationship with them.
- Play the game and don’t take the bait. In order to survive the manipulation, you will have to manipulate and lie as well. It isn’t easy, but often it is necessary.
More ideas around counter-parenting in this blogpost.
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