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Narcissist Coparent? Two Lessons…

December 14, 2020

The thing about coparenting with a narcissist is realizing they are not one to take critical feedback well.

It’s not that they just have difficulty hearing about anything they could do differently to facilitate the child’s needs, it’s that they take even the suggestion of doing differently as an assault on their person.

With that perceived attack, they respond in kind, usually a verbal onslaught of dismissing or demeaning rebukes of you.

The thing about a narcissist though, is that they always go for the jugular. They know your sensitivities and exploit them to the max. They will also make and deploy allies of the kids, their new partner or anyone who will listen to then deliver their attack on their behalf.

It can cut like a knife… if you let it.

Two lessons:

Firstly, as much as you would love to support your child by offering reasonable parenting feedback or information, often in the interest of facilitating either the child’s wellbeing or serving the relationship of the child and coparent, don’t. As you try to manage things in the other house, things get worse, not better.

Managing then means letting what happens there be the responsibility of the other parent.

Secondly, if there is something to manage, let it be your personal boundaries and any insecurity.

While not to diminish the impact of verbal, emotional or psychological abuse, the child’s rhyme of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, must be your mantra.

Realize, that even if there is a kernel of truth to the attack, it likely no longer matters and that is simply a deflection from the narcissist’s own insecurity. Learning to ignore, let go or redirect any attack graciously and move on will be one of your best strategies for deftly limiting the impact of any such behavior.

As you hold yourself from offering guidance to the narcissistic coparent while being Teflon in the midst of any attack, you serve your child.

With that you limit the likelihood of future or escalating conflict and you remain poised and able to simply carry on with your child.

With that, the situation is as much as 50% improved for your child.

That is an accomplishment.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com â€“ to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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