Do you ever wonder why you are so exhausted raising your kids when their other parent is a narcissist?
It’s because, in all practicality, you’re a single parent. Not only that, if you are still married to the narcissist, he or she is the biggest and most difficult of all your kids. He/she causes you a high level of stress most of the time.
If you are trying to co-parent with a narcissist you might as well give up right now. Repeat after me, “I am the only parent.” Or, “He/she is not a parent.” While the narcissist is the biological mom or dad, he/she is not interested in, nor capable of properly raising another human being.
Let’s examine this concept. What does it mean to parent? Being a parent requires the following abilities and traits:
- Positive role-modeling
- Hard work
- Empathy and Compassion
Which of these traits would you say a person with narcissism possesses?
Narcissists lack maturity. As mentioned above, people who are married to a narcissist realize that their spouse is the most difficult “child” they have. Not only is their partner incapable of parenting, he/she needs to be parented. And for the record, there is not enough parenting the non-narcissistic spouse can do to raise him or her to full maturity.
It is helpful to realize that when co-parenting (a misnomer in this context, by the way) with a narcissist, you are working in concert with a grown person who is not developmentally mature enough to raise kids. Understanding this helps you be better equipped to proceed. Living in reality is always better than living with the false belief that the other person will change.
Instead of possessing traits that will benefit children in need of parenting, narcissists are stuck at a lower level of development – often acting out a toddler stage. This makes them incapable of responsible child-rearing. In fact, many narcissistic parents feel competitive with their own biological children – just one of the negative outcomes of having a narcissistic parent.
What can you do if you are the non-narcissist in the duo?
Answer: Change your inner dialogue.
You can change everything by repeating one simple mantra in your head: “I am the only parent my children have.” This one statement will save you from wasting years of your life living in frustration. Just by reminding yourself of this one reality, you will be liberated from the following traps caused when the other parent in your children’s lives is a narcissist:
(1) You wait for years, even decades for the other parent to take responsibility
(2) You feel constant frustration over the other parent’s actions and inactions
(3) You build resentments after countless experiences of unmet expectations
Once you come to accept that the narcissist is really just an under-developed damaged child, you will have an “aha” moment, or epiphany. The light bulb over your head will illuminate and you will realize the truth of what you’ve been dealing with for so long.
Once awareness sets in, then your mind can make a mental shift towards the rest of your life.
Trying to constantly get the other parent to “see” or change is fruitless at best. At worst, thinking in terms of frustration day in and day out will lead to unending stress. Rather than living with that nightmare, make a conscious choice to accept your role in your children’s lives, enjoy this role, and stop beating a dead horse.