The Art of Modified Contact – 5 Steps to Lessen the Madness (blueprint + tools)

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jan 07
co-parenting with a narcissist

 Excerpt from How to Do No Contact Like a Boss!

Co-parenting with a Narcissist.

Is there really such a thing?  Not really.  There’s “parallel parenting”, which is more like sending your child off into another dimension while you are forced to let go of questionable goings-on over there.  You’re forced to release the urge to influence when your child goes to bed, brushes their teeth, and what they see on TV.  Expect that there will be attempts at last-minute changes in schedule and spontaneous cancellations.  Even worse, the fact that on the Narcissist’s end, your child may be handed over to babysitters and blasé family members while the Narcissist continues his or her agenda of living free from parental responsibilities.

In other cases (or simultaneously), the Ex will continue their oppressive tactics of calling and texting at all hours, showing up unannounced to your residence, and forcing themselves onto your property and into your home uninvited as if they are still very much a part of your life…while you stand meekly aside (uttering a feeble, half-hearted protest) and watch them bull their way into your child’s room and/or rip their report card off of the refrigerator – blaming your child’s “C” on your “below-standard parenting practices”.

I know the trickery involved.  One needs to grow a big set of kahunas in order to pull this off successfully.  It entails acting in ways you wouldn’t even consider under normal circumstances.  Not only towards the ex, but also in developing a forced coolness when it comes to your child.

First and foremost, you MUST stop trying to be nice.  That might work with people who actually have the ability to acknowledge and appreciate what you’re trying to do, but not the Narcissist.  When you try to be nice to them, they see it as an invitation to keep taking advantage of you…and continue their tyranny and dictatorship over your life.

It’s time to overthrow this oppressive regime and take your life back into your hands.  Following are some basic steps to stop the madness and begin experiencing a sense of stability:

1 – You don’t have to answer the phone every time he or she calls. 

Let it go to voicemail and then determine if you need to respond. When the Narcissist calls, most of the time it’s to blame and shame you for some fabricated sin.  This is done in order to look like a concerned parent in front of a new partner or even in front of your kid(s).  Never mind that they haven’t paid child support for seven months and cancelled the kids from their insurance (no one knows about that except you).  You suck and they rule.  That’s the general order of the day when they reach out to call.  Why participate in that?  If you do engage in conversation, hang up the moment the focus deviates from the kids or the Ex turns abusive.  You can offer a warning the first few times, but simply hang up after that.  No explanation needed.

2 – Consider changing your cell phone number and require that they contact you by email.

If you suffer from out-of-the-blue, or semi-automatic text messages from the Narc that catch you off guard (or cause anxiety, never knowing when you’ll be attacked)…try this (I did, and it cut down on the stress and surprise attacks BIG TIME)…typically, you only have to have one method for the Narc to reach you regarding your child(ren). This could include cell phone, land-line, email, or even a court-appointed email system. Change your cell phone number and don’t give the new number to your Ex. Let him or her contact you by email instead. This is especially nice since most everyone has their email set up to go to their phone, anyway. This way, you can read the email and decide whether you need to respond right away. It also cuts down on ambushes because emailing takes more effort. Texting, SMS, and messaging platforms are very easy venues for the Narcissist to attack at will. Cut out that option for them. Of course, your Ex will throw a hissy-fit, but who cares? Not only will it decrease the number of stealth attacks, you will have some nice email documentation to present to the court if you ever have to file a harassment order or simply want to demonstrate his or her instability.

3 – Let today be the day you decide they don’t walk through your door ever again

Your home is supposed to be a place where you feel safe; your haven; your sanctuary from the world.  Don’t allow them to desecrate your sacred space again.  You have every right to demand that they no longer go inside your residence.  Notify them that you have made this decision.  If they attempt to disrespect your request, inform them you will notify the authorities.  Then, if necessary, follow through.  Feel the fear, and do it anyway.  This is not only to implement a new way of life for you, but also to eliminate under-handed tactics often employed by the disordered.  These might include:  planting spyware on your computer and/or in your home, stealing heirlooms and other valuables (including cash), raiding your home in search of evidence of a new partner (none of their business), or simply a ploy to keep you feeling off-balance and subjugated.

4 – Don’t feel that you have to go along with their requests for schedule changes.

Does your Ex often make last-minute plans that don’t involve the kids – during their time with them – and want you to jump in and smooth things over?  That’s not up to you.  As painful as it might be in regards to your children, don’t allow your Ex to get into this destructive habit.  If you agree to it once, it will become a part of your long-term arrangement.  It not only upsets your kids’ routines, it opens the door for your Ex to continue taking advantage of you.  If you do make any exceptions, they should only be in the event of their confirmed illness or injury.  Are they claiming that they’ve broken a toe-bone?  Been diagnosed with a crippling disease?  Request documentation from the hospital.  Lastly, your Ex needs to make their personal plans during the times your kids are with you.  Not the other way around.  If you cave each time this happens, it makes it more difficult for you to have a case in the event you want to file for a modification of custody later.  Don’t set yourself up for that.

5 – Summon the Law of Attraction when it comes to your kids.

It’s easy to fall into insanity and obsession wondering what’s happening while your kids are with the Ex.  Create a vision board and place index cards on it with quotes such as:  “________” (insert child’s name) is always safe and healthy; “_________” knows I’m a wonderful parent; “_______” is always happy.  Whatever is applicable and relieves your anxiety.  In spite of your worry, try to visualize your kids being nurtured and loved.  Place happy pictures of them on or near your vision board.  Place their well-being into the hands of God/Source/Divine Intelligence and be the best parent you can be when they are with you.  Embrace what you can control and let go of that which you can’t.  

If you suspect any kind of abuse, start documenting and contact social services if you feel it’s necessary.

It’s important to remember that what often feels obligatory is simply your conscientiousness firing.  You want to be fair, do unto others what you’d have done unto you and all of that.  Except, it doesn’t work with Narcissists.  You must implement a different set of rules with them and not feel guilty about it.  Remember, you wouldn’t be forced to do all of these things if not for who they are.  Stand up for yourself and your right to a calm environment inside your own home.

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(24) comments

Adele February 4, 2017

My 13 year old daughter which I raised alone went to live with her Narc father. She wants nothing to do with me and we were very close. He taught her to lie since she was very small. They tricked me for a year! Made plans behind my back that she is moving there. She was my EVERYTHING – what must I do. I cannot speak to my Ex because he is bombastic over the phone and I hung up after a few warnings. It is almost 2 months and I am not allowed to see her apparently because it is her choice. Money is not a problem there so everything looks very attractive. She now has a stepmom who she calls mommy (she use to call me that) and a 2 year old stepsister.
Please help?? I cannot stand it without my child although she broke my trust and also stole from me. My Ex consistently blames me because my daughter took some of my pills once. I am on those pills and therapy because of him leaving me while I was pregnant. I now suffer from PTSD and according to him I am insane and a unfit mother!

Reply
    Kim Saeed February 7, 2017

    Hello Adele. I am truly sorry for what you’re going through. My best advice would be to contact your attorney and see what can be done to obtain some visitation time with your daughter, or at the very least, some phone time. She may be 13, but still a minor.

    Wishing you the best,

    Kim

    Reply
    Jen February 7, 2017

    Adele~ I am going thru something very similar. My 14 yr. old was told by his paternal grandfather and his dad (my ex narcopath) that he does’t have to come to my house anymore because he is 14. We have court ordered custody that states he is to spend 50/50 time with each parent. I called law enforcement and they went and spoke to my son and my ex N but they are unable to physically remove him unless I sign an arrest warrant for my ex violating the court orders. I chose not to do that since it would give my ex more fuel to use against me with my son. But when we were scheduled to go in front of a judge, my ex N knew he would be in trouble so he agreed to counseling for my son and I stating that there are “issues” between us. Almost 6 months later and he has yet to actually identify to the court what this fabricated issue is! As of the beginning of this year, we were assigned a new judge and yesterday we had court. The new judge told him that he is not being a good parent by keeping my son away from me. My ex N is playing the poor victim stating that he ‘tries’ repeatedly to encourage my son to go but he just won’t go (I hope you sense my sarcasm), which is another lie because my son is rewarded for staying with his dad… any video game or gadget he wants, no chores or bedtimes, and money for whatever he wants. I am hoping that this new judge will pressure my ex N into realizing that he can’t lie about what’s going on to keep my son away because regardless of any made up “issues” there are, I am not a bad parent like he lies to the courts and says I am.
    You have to fight smart and with grace and dignity… and don’t give up. Its hard at the beginning because N’s will lie, and some people will believe them, but over time their true colors will start to show and hopefully you will have good attorney’s and judges to bring his character to light. I left him 2 years ago and we are still not officially divorced and he takes me back to court repeatedly. But I have faith & confidence in our new judge. Hang in there! Keep fighting! Don’t give up!

    Reply
Jen October 28, 2016

I need more articles like this one, or better yet a book or support group for custody battles with a naropath. I’m having to go back to court again because my ex naropath has filed for full custody of the kids again. He says all sorts of lies about me and then I have to go defend myself. I’m so sick of it and just want it to stop. We were ordered by the court to do co-parent counseling and I’m having major anxiety about having to sit in a room with him while he lies and belittles and berates me to a counselor. He’s so abusive to me when no one is around. He sends me harassing emails & texts to bully me or to make me lash out in anger. But plays himself off as dad of the year to our community when he is dumping the kids with family members so he can go out and party. I struggle with how he’s made the children feel like they are personally responsible for making him happy. Its so sick.

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Bonnie Jean September 1, 2016

Hi – I have read the threads and several articles here on this site. I divorced my ex 7 years ago, am raising 2 daughters with him and it’s been a living hell as I call it. He is more than a Narc, I would say a Sociopath. I have put up my boundaries, done what I could to keep the contact down and I still get my phone blowing up and I STILL have anxiety.
I think after reading this, the only other thing I can do maybe is change my phone #. Question I was wondering was this…he bought them cell phones, ugh, because he knew I was limiting contact with them when they were younger. They are now 13 & 11 and so he knew he could control them with the phones..and boy he does. If I change my #, I don’t want to give it to them, but then again…they would need my number. If the girls have it, then he will get it as well.

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    Jen November 11, 2016

    My ex narcopath (Narc/Sociopath) does the same thing with the cell phones. Constantly calls the kids on them, so I had to put a restriction on it to no phone calls after 8pm because he was calling them as late as 9:30pm. And so what does he do? In his latest full custody request filing he put that I don’t allow the kids to talk to him on the phone. He said it in our co-parenting session again yesterday. (Yes I have to sit in a room with him for an hour listening to him tell crazy lies and accusing me of all kinds of heinous things, its a effing joke)

    Reply
pommepomme December 27, 2015

Having read this thread I have just set up an alternative email address so I hope that will help. I am divorcing a narc and we have a child together. It’s horrific and very painful. Recently he has been trying to change schedules then accusing me of parental alienation when I don’t accommodate him. He is such a parasite, I get tired of having to be so businesslike but the minute I let my guard down he instantly see’s it as an opportunity to take advantage. He can not and will not respect my peace and privacy at all, it pains him greatly that he still has to pay the rent on our place and maintenance, we are expats living in Thailand his name is on the lease so legally he can come and go as he pleases, which he knows and he does. It’s horrible. As soon as we separated he was spotted on Tinder and now 4 months later he has booked a beach trip with a new partner whilst I am living on a shoestring allowance. He took our car back before the school holidays so it’s been really difficult to get around with the kids. We are trying mediation but it’s like swimming in mud. He sent my engagement ring certificate to his friends in the US but I have managed to retrieve it. When I get it I can sell it and proceed with a legal divorce.

Reply
    Kim Saeed December 27, 2015

    Hi Pommepomme, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. I can relate to what you’re going through as I lived in a similar situation when I went to Egypt to start my student teaching there in order to be with my Ex and his family. My Ex was still going out at night to visit his orfi wife.

    I wish you all the very best with getting things lined up so you can divorce him. Just keep your eye on the horizon because this part of your life won’t last forever. <3

    Reply
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xfiles1992 January 8, 2015

The narcissistic parent I had to resolve with was my mother. I am her biological daughter and she used cps to steal (well, “help my children out of a violent home” in my mother’s words) my children from me. She has always been narcissistic, but it really came out very strongly when she called cps.
I had to notify her in a letter sent return receipt requested, for her to stop contacting me except for in e-mail. When I did get visits with my children they were never allowed to say where we were exactly, only the city, as I did not want my bio-mother knowing where I lived. The rest of the family was informed that my bio-mother had a way to contact me if she ever “needed” to talk. This helped the rest of the family with their responses whenever she inquires about me, as she still does. I have never heard from her via e-mail, and her inquiry’s have dwindled over the years.
My first road to recovery was to forgive her, as I knew she would never change. This meant that I did not have to allow her to control me by me being angry with her over her stealing my children from me. But this also allowed me to Not have to feel that I could ever allow love from her, or what she perceived as love. I’m doing a lot better today as this has taken 16 years with the healing process so far.
Being a Narcissist is not just for spouses, it can touch all walks of life with all kinds of relationships. It’s how we deal with the Narcissist that can help heal us, or not.
I chose no contact with mine, and my adult children now also see how my bio-mother is, and they through their own decision have also cut her off from their lives now too.

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mike January 8, 2015

Great article! I have blocked all communications but one…and I just let my Narcissist ex leave a message. Kinda helps. She still cant go a week without a phone call (or three). Most are ignored which drives her insane…but her issues aren’t related to our kids. The court orders are not favorable to her and she is always trying to change them. I can’t let her email me because she writes novels…then her husband kicks in and writes harassing emails. I literally have three binders full of her emails. She fabricates stories in her emails which I I feel I have to take my time to dispute because “a lie unchallenged becomes the truth.” Police won’t do anything regarding harassment in her many communications since we have kids together, so I still pray for the day that she gets bored and leaves me alone. Again, great article!

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    angie October 12, 2015

    a lie unchallenged becomes the truth…. Great way to put that into words! I feel this everyday with my ex!

    Reply
normalisboringsoiheard January 8, 2015

Counter-parenting. Now that sounds like a excellent book title. I have done everything, attorneys, judges, police, mediators, etc. He always runs his game on them. I finally, DONT CARE! They will always be my children, they know I love them. I am the safe place, Daddy is crazy town. He has these kids so angry, they dont WANT to be with him now, whos fault is that? He always insisted on having his way, now he is hanging himself with his own rope.

NIBSIH, ??

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onedogrunning January 8, 2015

I wanted to add that I think you are doing a fantastic job here, and it has helped me put difficult times in my life in all new perspective. Thank you so much for all you are putting forth, I am very grateful to have found this information presented in such an understandable, relatable and creative way. I think you are helping a lot of people.

Reply
Army of Angels January 7, 2015

This hit home, Kim. After two years, what I refer to as “counter-parenting” is becoming abnormally normal… My ex decided that if I needed to give him information, I would have to call him personally (he cancelled text and claimed he no longer knew how to email)… I didn’t cave-I write info notes about dr visits, illnesses, date it/sign it/cc to file, and stick it in the kid’s travel bag. I have lived to regret every time I have let my “niceness” get me suckered into doing something. I am still very much working on thinking the best for the kids, as they come home displaying signs of emotional and sexual abuse…that is another issue in itself. Peace to you?

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Anonymous January 7, 2015

I created a single email address to discuss issues @ our child. I do not respond to any emails that are sent to my work or personal emails. I now have a single place to trace his behavior. He is not allowed to text me unless he needs to reach our son & call me only in case of emergency. Also under no circumstances will I have a one to one conversation with him. Yes it took me time to get here but it is (and I am) worth it

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Jaclin January 7, 2015

I set up a monitored email after being harassed by texts, emails and phone calls even though we have almost been divorced for 2 years. I no longer have to deal with his 2,000 word rants. He is also only allowed to email once a day with an emergency over-ride stated in subject line if need be. By bringing in people to help, he is a perfect little angel. It has slowed him down and put him in his place. The funny thing is I hadn’t been the one responding to his rants for over a year, but now those same words being said back at him have put him in his place. I am just thankful I have found something that is working. I literally thought his harassment was going to kill me. I don’t know what I would do without my support group.

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    Kim Saeed January 18, 2015

    Jaclin, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love it when readers such as yourself share successful strategies. There IS a way to work around the Narcissist’s antics, as you’ve so generously demonstrated 🙂

    Glad you were able to find something that worked so well for you!

    Reply
    Jen October 28, 2016

    Jaclin- What support group do you attend? I’m currently trying to find a support group that caters to custody battles with a narcopath.

    Reply
onedogrunning January 7, 2015

It makes me sad that once a narcissist reproduces, they often have a ready-made supply that no one can take away from them. Also a formidable tool to continue manipulating the other parent. No amount of counseling is likely to counter that. It can be worse than physical abuse. How do you prepare a child for life with a narcissistic parent without breaking the rule of one parent speaking ill of another?

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    Kim Saeed January 18, 2015

    onedogrunning, thank you for commenting.

    I wouldn’t necessarily consider it ready-made supply…we do have the choice to leave. It’s never easy, and it does present a new set of challenges, but it’s the only chance we have for happiness in the long run.

    I share custody of my son with my Ex. I never talk ill of my Ex to our son. Children will eventually figure things out on their own without our having to tell them. In the meantime, we can do our best by leading by example and being the loving, nurturing parent. If that seems like a difficult task, it is, but it’s easier when we take care of our own well-being through therapy and transformational healing methods. Honestly, I am happier now than even before I met my Ex, all due to the healing activities I’ve done over the last few years.

    Best wishes to you…

    Reply
      Louise October 24, 2016

      In our situation the Narc ex has made it so the kids don’t want to come to our house eventho we have 50/50 custody. They will call and tell my husband they don’t want to go back to 50/50 and only want to go to dinners or the occasional weekend. He goes alone to the dinners in order to have more one on one time and he says the whole time they talk about going back to 50/50 or hanging on him. Sadly they get back to their mothers and they are back to not wanting to live with him and no contact. Anytime he wants to see the kids it goes through their mother and she gives him demands and makes him jump through hoops to see them. Then when they are with him there is CONSTANT communication and her actually getting involved with his parental time. How do you set up some sort of boundary not only with her but to where the kids understand that they are not to be in CONSTANT contact during his time or have her picking them up and literally controlling his time with his kids. (when I say constant I don’t mean them saying good night or a quick reach out..i mean there is pages and pages of phone records on one day with texts back and forth. I don’t even text my husband that much or my friends or anyone for that matter. it is excessive)

      Reply
Anonymous January 7, 2015

my suggestion for ‘co parenting’ with a narcissist is this – find a good lawyer and file for divorce – find a good counsellor for yourself and your children – and then just let yourself heal – narcissists are monsters in human clothing

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    Teena Taylor March 20, 2015

    Well the divorce bit is done. But guess what, I’ve just had to pull my child (8) out of counselling (for anxiety related to her relationship with her father) because here father intervened in her counselling and suddenly it took a very different turn, suddenly I was under the spotlight, funny that. Spoke with a lawyer today, and long story short, according to Family Court laws (in Australia) her father has every right to be involved in her counselling. Therefore, I cannot access counselling for her, because I know her father will involve himself and screw up the whole process. :-/

    Reply
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