Parenting and raising children is perhaps the most difficult task in our lives, yet we are constantly challenged to do so. With a narcissist as a parent, it is even more complex and requires even more than normal parenting skills.
However, parallel parenting is the last resort when all else fails. While the goal of parallel parenting is always to enhance the relationship between parents and a child, it is not always easy to see how or when to use this parallel parenting technique.
This article discusses how you can effectively parallel a parent with a narcissist. Keep reading:
How To Parallel Parent With a Narcissist
Narcissists are masters of projection. They can’t stand being criticized, so they will never be honest with you about what you say and do. So to make your parallel parenting work, you’ll have to learn how to meet your needs.
Plus, the narcissist doesn’t care about you, so you’ll have to give up on the idea of getting them to change. Fortunately, you can use a few hacks to maintain your parallel parenting with a narcissist. Here are some of them
Don’t expect them to be the same parents you would want them to be. If they choose not to participate in certain activities because it doesn’t fit in with their agenda, don’t take it personally.
Let Them Have Their Own Space
Narcissists feel very entitled, so don’t expect them to give up any of their space when parenting their children. They need their space and time alone just as much as anyone else does, so don’t feel guilty if they want some quiet time or need a break from being with their kids for some time!
Be the Voice of Reason
Narcissists tend to have short fuses and react quickly to perceived slights or criticism. If you try to convince them on their terms, you will almost certainly end up getting steamrolled by their defenses.
Instead, show your support and respect by listening attentively while they vent and express their anger. Then calmly suggest reasonable alternatives that won’t cause them any more upset.
Don’t Try To Change Or Control Your Partner
Even if they look weird, don’t try to change them. Because narcissists don’t respond well to criticism or attempts at control, they will see these as evidence that you are trying to “fix” them rather than working with them.
Instead, focus on being supportive and understanding and letting them know how much they mean to you.
Avoid Any Emotional Investment in Them
Narcissists often use their children to get back to you for something you did or said during the relationship (or even before). So they will likely try to manipulate your emotions such that you’ll feel guilty for leaving them.
If this happens, make sure that you don’t get sucked into the drama – stay focused on yourself.
Set Clear Boundaries
You need to set clear boundaries on what’s off limits and what’s acceptable. This is especially important in the early days of parenting when you’re still figuring out if it will work. In case you fail to set boundaries, the narcissist may take advantage of you and forcefully try to get more than they’re entitled to out of you (which is usually a lot).
Narcissists will not change overnight, nor should we expect them to. It takes time for someone living with a Narcissist many years to understand what is happening and how their actions affect those around them. So patience is the key.
How To Recognize a Narcissist
Narcissists are extremely good at hiding their true selves from others. They use a combination of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and bullying to control people. And because they’re so good at hiding their true selves, you can never tell if someone is a narcissist by looking at their face.
However, there are some warning signs you can always look for in a narcissist:
- They want to be the center of attention
Narcissists love being praised and adored by others. If your partner or colleague demands constant attention, praises themselves excessively, and has an inflated sense of self-worth, they may be narcissistic.
- They’re insecure about their appearance
Narcissists have low self-esteem and often feel unattractive or inadequate in some way. They may spend hours daily analyzing their looks in the mirror or comparing themselves unfavorably to others. They may also have an unhealthy interest in other people’s bodies.
- An exaggerated sense of self-importance
Narcissists are often arrogant and haughty. They believe they are better, smarter, and more important than others. They tend to be very good at reading social cues so that others will respect them for this superior knowledge.
- The belief that they’re entitled to special treatment from others
Narcissists believe they’ve earned special treatment because they’re superior to everyone else. They believe their accomplishments, talents, looks, or wealth give them the right to do whatever they want without taking responsibility for any consequences.
Narcissists feel they deserve all these things because they worked hard for them; therefore, other people should treat them with respect and admiration.
- A total lack of empathy for others’ feelings
Narcissists are experts at misusing and taking advantage of other people’s emotions. They’re always looking for ways to get ahead without caring how others feel. They don’t understand the concept of empathy.
All in all, narcissists are masters of disguise. They can appear charming, attentive, and loving while secretly planning your downfall. These traits can be hard to recognize because they’re often accompanied by other positive personality traits that make narcissists seem like good people.
But if you spot any of these traits in your co-parent or partner, know that he is a narcissist and be careful when handling him.
Narcissistic parents are difficult to co-parent with. They lack empathy and consideration, so you can’t trust them to act in the best interest of their children.
Be prepared to fight for your children’s needs, educate yourself about narcissistic behavior, network with other parents who have managed the relationship well, and devise a professional parenting plan that ensures that all of your children’s needs are met.