How to parent successfully with a narcissist ex-spouse

Marital discord can lead to some Pennsylvania couples deciding that divorce is the only option and that co-parenting the children from different households is best for everyone involved. Some individuals are dealing with an ex-spouse who is a narcissist. They may find it difficult to maintain their sanity and put their children’s best interests first.

There are several steps that individuals can take in order to improve their communication with a toxic ex-spouse. Unfortunately, name-calling, manipulation, sarcasm and drama often surround communication with a narcissist. It is empowering to remember that a person does not have to respond to everything that the narcissist says or does. They have control over when and how they will engage with the person.

Many parents have found that communication improves when it is limited to email or a parenting portal. It is also helpful to block a toxic ex-spouse from social media. When communication is factual and business-like, co-parents are able to focus on parenting their children to the best of their ability instead of hashing out old marital problems or engaging in power plays.

It is usually not best to react immediately to something unpleasant or negative that a toxic ex-spouse says or does. It is better to walk away from the situation. A person could add this interaction to a vent session with a good friend and then respond to the ex-spouse at a time when they feel calmer. It is only necessary to respond to emergency situations immediately.

While these tips can improve the way a person responds to an ex-spouse, they have no control over the actions of their toxic ex-spouse. Some have found that their ex-spouse constantly barges through agreements and boundaries. If this is the case, filing a court order may be appropriate. A person may speak to an attorney about the situation. The attorney may be able to provide information about modifying a child custody or co-parenting plan.


FindLaw Network