So you’ve figured out that you are trying to parent separately with a narcissist.
And I don’t mean that sarcastically.
Congratulations on realizing the type of person you are dealing with. This is the first step in healing and minimizing conflict.
It was when I first learned about what narcissism was that I was able to begin using tactics that reduced the stress in my life caused by the narcissist – and the stress in my daughter’s life as well.
The first thing I had to learn was how to parent with him. I knew this wasn’t going to be a co-parenting relationship of respect and understanding.
Apart from figuring out to establish boundaries with him and heal from the abuse, I turned to parallel parenting as a way to sort out parenting with a narcissist.
Which is why I created this parallel parenting plan pdf – to help others moms like you!
A parallel parenting plan is really the jumping point to parenting with a narc. Keep reading to find out how they work and how you can set one up:
What is a Parallel Parenting Plan?
A parallel parenting plan is a document that will help you sort out parenting with a narcissist.
While it’s not an official agreement, it can help keep information organized and hold your ex accountable for the things they have agreed upon.
For example, a parallel parenting plan can outline visitation schedules, holiday schedules, and agreements when it comes to canceling visitations.
Parallel parenting plans are crucial in high-conflict situations. In fact, if you have gone to court and had a custody/visitation order made, it’s likely the judge has recognized the situation and implemented parallel parenting strategies.
Keep in mind, however, that in order for a parallel parenting plan to work you need to know how to communicate with your narcissistic ex.
If you come in demanding agreements, the nature of their mental disorder is going to prompt them to become aggressive and hostile.
How to Communicate With a Narcissist
Creating a parallel parenting plan can be easy – dealing with your ex will be hard.
You are going to feel that you need to defend yourself all of the time, which just fuels their need for attention – meaning that they will continue to provoke you to get a reaction.
As much as you want to lash out at them (and, trust me, I know they deserve it), it’s important that you stay as calm and civil as possible (even though they don’t deserve it).
Dealing with a narcissist in this way is going to help not only minimize the conflict but, if you do end up in court, you will come off as the reasonable one – which works to your advantage.
So when it comes to how to communicate with a narcissist, here are some tips you should follow:
- Be business-like. Try to keep emotion out of your interactions with the narcissist. Stick to only discussing matters that have to do with your child.
- Swallow your pride. As I said, the narcissist will try to provoke you any way they can, mostly by making accusations that aren’t true. Remember that it doesn’t matter what the narc says – you know who you are and the people who love you know this as well.
- Limit your communication to writing. Only texting your emailing your ex will help you keep emotion out of your interactions and it will also give you something in writing to submit to family court if necessary.
- Be a gray rock. This is a tactic that works well for dealing with narcissists. Make yourself as interesting to them as a gray rock – don’t let them know what is going on in your personal life and make yourself as boring as possible.
If you haven’t reached this point in your journey in dealing with a narcissistic ex, it can be challenging and stressful.
However, the more you practice controlling your emotions and communication, the easier it gets. Eventually, you’ll find the things they say simply rolling off your shoulders!
What You Should Have in Writing
Ideally, you should have everything you possibly can in writing, including visitation dates and times, pick-up and drop-off arrangements, and dispute resolution steps.
When it comes to sorting out parenting with a narcissist, you don’t need them to sit down and agree to anything.
For example, you may text your ex and say, “Hey, can you give me 24-hour notice if you have to cancel a visit?” and they say “Yes,” keep that text and include this in your parenting plan.
Or if they say, “I can only do every other Wednesday for visits,” keep the text and write it down.
Narcissists are notorious for twisting words and gaslighting, which means that they will say something and then convince you that it was never said.
They also like to control every situation they can which means they will try to dick you around on agreements to either suit your needs or cause conflict.
If you have everything in writing, they can’t really argue what they blatantly agreed to. They may try, but if you land in court those messages are clear evidence.
As far as the details of the parallel parenting plan go, check out this free parallel parenting plan pdf that will help you sort out what information you should have written down.
I would also recommend keeping track of visitations and noting when visits are canceled and the reasons that were given.
Do You Need a Lawyer or Custody Agreement?
Again, a parallel parenting plan is not an official document or agreement – but having one can pave the way to establishing a custody agreement in family court.
If your narcissistic ex is adamant about messing up the visitations, changing details, and denying any agreements they have made, it’s time to speak to a lawyer.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that these plans and custody arrangements are not about winning or losing when it comes to your ex. It’s about what is best for your child.
Family court will flat-out say that it’s in the best interest of the child to have both parents involved in their life – even if their other parent is a complete a-hole.
However, a flaky parent who wanders in and out of their child’s life will have a negative impact on their emotional development.
That’s not to say that the court will deny access to a parent who is inconsistent in their involvement but they do take this into consideration when establishing a custody order.
You know your situation best so only you can determine when it’s time to lawyer up. I had a lawyer immediately after my daughter was born because I knew the process was going to be messy.
I also know moms who try to work things out with a parenting plan only to end up in court when they are at their wit’s end – but I also know moms who make the parenting plan work.
If you’re at this point, reach out to your local family court office and ask about meeting with a lawyer for free. Some will set up appointments so you can speak to a lawyer about your situation and get an idea of what steps you need to take.
These lawyers, however, will not represent you in court.
If your income allows it, you may also qualify for legal aid and have your lawyer paid for. Be sure to explore these options!
A Sample Parallel Parenting Plan Agreement
While I highly recommend you check out my free parallel parenting plan pdf to get started, here is a page from a sample parallel parenting plan agreement that shows how to organize school breaks and summer visitation:
This table will help you organize exactly when your child is with you and when they are with their other parent over a two-week period.
Again, make sure you have your ex’s agreement in writing. This way, if they try to change this schedule unnecessarily, you have proof as to what they agreed to.
When it comes to parallel parenting, even though your ex is a piece of work, you still have to maintain some degree of understanding if changes need to be made.
Life happens, even to narcissists, which is why it’s important to establish an agreement when it comes to cancelations and rescheduling visits.
As far as court orders go, family court encourages parents to come to their own agreements. So it’s okay if you and your ex make agreements that deviate from the document.
Just make sure you have these changes in writing. Everything in writing!
And if the new agreements fall apart, you are within your rights to go back to what is originally stated in the court order until a new one is agreed upon and made official.
Parallel Parenting Plan Agreements – How to Parent with a Narcissist
Having a parallel parenting plan is really the first step in sorting out this mess. Even though it’s not enforceable by law, it’s a good starting point for establishing a court order.
Chances are, the court will go by what is agreed upon in the parenting plan unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. They prioritize consistency for children and want to help parents keep things as routine as possible.
So I hope you download that parallel parenting pdf to help you organize all of this information. You can use the sign-up box in this post or visit this page for more information.
And good luck sorting out parenting with a narcissist – you can do this!
Have you tried parallel parenting? What kind of struggles did you run into? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to share!