TV Show From Victim to Victor episode 4: Co-parenting with a narcissist
In this show I spent time with Vicki to discuss the challenges of co-parenting with a narcissist. Vicki got recently divorced and notices how her 16 and 19 year old children are used and abused by their father. Feeling powerless about stopping the abuse and being torn between keeping silent or sharing her knowledge about NPD is difficult. Was it easier or better when she was still in the marriage? What has changed?
A few key snippets are covered in this blogpost. To see the full show, click here.
Are you ever safe from narcissistic abuse when you share children with your narcissist? Control, manipulations and lies continue after the divorce, and the children are an extra tool to create more cruel exploitation. The dilemma’s of the healthy parent are numerous. Do you share with your children their parent has NPD? Do you explain the objectives of the narcissist? How to deal with the powerlessness and anger around the abuse?
Narcissists are the centre of their own universe, but try to make themselves the centre of other’s universe as well. It is all about them. And while Vicki and her husband were just a couple, life was exciting and felt safe. However, the moment child number one had arrived the love story was over. The once considerate and supportive partner turned into a grump, who couldn’t handle the chaos that comes with newborn babies, mainly because he wasn’t the number one anymore.
He was hardly home, spent time at work, at the rugby and the pub.
The role of Vicki changed from wife and partner, to something like a servant. Someone who needed to be available when he wanted and she had to attend to unreasonable demands, like impromptu dinners and parties.
When the children got older, he started to engage with them. But always on his terms, they had to do as he told them and didn’t tolerate it if they wanted something different.
Co-parenting during the marriage actually meant that everything needed to happen according her husband’s wishes. There was no scope for discussion and he took the lead at external events, such as parent evenings.
Vicki was allowed to sit in, but not allowed to speak as ‘She wasn’t intelligent enough to follow those conversations.’ And she just accepted it.
A few years ago, still married to Vicky, her narcissist embarked on a serious relationship after numerous affairs and he removed himself from the relationship with Vicki. Separate bedrooms and spending even more time away from home preluded Vicki’s desire to divorce.
By that time the children were used as a tool to ‘punish’ Vicki.
For her, parenting became even more about covering up and compensating. A lot of times promises were made about money, which weren’t kept, but really affected the well-being of her children and it was Vicki who tried to make things work, from a much smaller budget.
Narcissists don’t like it when their ex-partners are in a good place as one of their rules clearly states (From ‘Rulebook of a Narcissist’). Rule 58: ‘If that makes you happy, I will take it away.’ In Vicki’s situation it meant that any joy she could have with her children was boycotted. Holiday invitations so they couldn’t be there at her birthday, special events on Mother’s Day to ensure they didn’t meet up, gossip and smearing about her to the children were the order of the day.
The dilemma’s of the healthy parent are numerous. Do you share with your children their parent has NPD? Do you explain the objectives of the narcissist? How to deal with the powerlessness and anger around the abuse?
Vicki’s conclusion and tips about co-parenting with a narcissist
- Co-parenting with a narcissist is focussed on damage limitation and firefighting. Covering up for the unloving actions and compensating for the shortcomings and promises.
- Never smear the narcissist and trust that your children over time will see what is happening and has happened.
- Focus on the relationship with your children and don’t allow your ex to be part of that.
Read my article about the 7 realities about co-parenting with a narcissist in Brainz Magazine.
Discover who is your narcissist via this quiz.
And if you wish to talk to me, you can book a free Zoom coaching session.