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Navigating child custody with a narcissist co-parent

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2023 | Child Custody

There are few relationships in life that are tougher to navigate than a co-parenting relationship in which one of the parties is a narcissist. For reasons that are consistent with a clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, it can be virtually impossible to get a narcissistic co-parent to act in their child’s best interests – let alone in ways that are respectful of their co-parent.

As a result of the inherent challenges in this situation, it is vitally important for those who don’t suffer from narcissistic personality disorder to both seek necessary support and to get foundational documents in place when beginning a co-parenting journey with a narcissistic ex. That way, they’ll be in the strongest possible position to safeguard their own well-being while facilitating their child’s best interests.

Key considerations

One of the most important steps that someone can take when beginning this kind of co-parenting relationship involves crafting a solid parenting plan. Once approved by the court, this plan will be legally enforceable. Therefore, if one’s narcissistic co-parent violates its terms, clear evidence of that fact can lead to enforcement efforts and/or grounds for a modification in favor of the non-narcissistic parent.

When crafting a parenting plan, it’s important to have sufficient support from a legal professional who is familiar with the unique challenges posed by co-parenting relationships in which one of the adults is a narcissist. Otherwise, key concerns and potential sources of tension won’t be sufficiently headed off at the pass.

Finally, it can’t be overstated that those who are compelled to co-parent with narcissists need to make self-care a priority. This is easier said than done, but it can help to facilitate the strength and resilience one needs to make such an arrangement work.