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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