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How can you deal with a narcissistic co-parent?

Trying to predict a narcissistic co-parent’s next move can leave you feeling drained and tired. He or she may try to sabotage your relationship with your children or continually disrespect you.

Learning about how to deal with this type of behavior will help you be a better parent and reduce the amount of stress you feel as you co-parent.

Prepare your mind

According to Psychology Today, emotionally preparing yourself for difficult conversations can allow you to enter into them with a clearer head. Getting into arguments about minor problems can distract you from more important issues you both need to discuss, such as schooling or health care for your children.

Taking time outside of co-parenting to do activities that clear your mind, such as spending time with loved ones or exercising, can help you stay calm and reduce the stress you feel.

Keep interactions formal

A narcissistic co-parent may use your children against you in order to make you feel guilty or argumentative. Spreading lies or trying to bribe your children into spending more time with him or her are common tactics.

Limiting the amount of time you spend talking to your co-parent can help you avoid these problems. You may even need to use written communication more often, such as texting or emailing, instead of talking in person. This can limit the narcissist’s ability to manipulate you into fighting or getting upset.

Use empathy

While you should protect yourself and your children, you can also have empathy in your interactions with your ex-spouse. Staying polite in casual conversation while keeping your distance can help you deal with an alienating co-parent.