Parenting is very difficult and takes quite a bit of initiative, patience, and overall grace. But did you know that co-parenting can pose many different challenges within itself? What if you have to add more problems to that dynamic such as having to raise children with a narcissist? You may feel as if you are facing an insurmountable challenge.
The first action you must take in these cases is to step back and take a breath. You might need to repeat this step several times and then rezone yourself.
Then realize that you have several actions you can take to overcome these difficulties. It may seem like there are many different challenges present within, but there are several solutions to smoothen out your present problems. Find out how you can minimize frustrations and increase joy as you seek to parent healthy and happy children.
Narcissistic personality disorder, also known as narcissism, is a mental health condition that affects both males and females. In psychological terms, the narcissist does not refer to self-love or overconfidence, but it is a personality disorder that can lead to a toxic and emotionally abusive manifestation.
In modern society, this damaging and prevalent nature is challenging to treat. A narcissist has arrogant behavior and thinking, a pattern of self-centeredness, a lack of empathy, and an excessive need for admiration.
Indeed, those individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are considered selfish, demanding, patronizing, manipulative, and outrageous.
These are a few of the standards aspects of such a behavior.
Narcissists see themselves as superior to others. Their sense of confidence and superiority complex makes them feel that they are apart from the crowd. That is why it is not a surprise to see that to be on the top; they will go to any extent.
These types of individuals exhibit a tendency in their relationships. They think they accomplish everything in a superior fashion. If they feel emotionally hurt or face various difficulties in their lives, their situation becomes even worse due to their psychology. In simple words, their ego matters the most, and they cannot tolerate failures in their lives.
A Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance
Grandiosity is one of the major aspects of narcissism.
It is an unrealistic sense of superiority, which is more than vanity or arrogance. According to narcissists, they are special and can only be understood by unique people. They just want to be associated with high-status aspects, places, and people.
Narcissists believe they are better than everyone else, so they lie or exaggerate their talents and achievements.
A Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to see from the perspective of others.
In narcissists, this trait is missing. They only see things from their perspective, and for them, their comfort and feelings are most important over everything else. Due to this trait, they often lack guilt or remorse. They live in their fantasy world of unlimited attractiveness, ideal love, brilliance, power, and success that make them in control and special.
Need for Attention
The narcissist needs attention, and they soak up affirmation and praise whenever possible. If they do not get the attention they are looking for; they will create specific scenarios to elicit it. To keep attention focused, a narcissistic individual asks countless questions to those around them or creates unnecessary drama for that particular purpose.
A narcissistic person feels deep insecurity at their core.
These insecurities are the cause of inflated ego and attention-seeking behavior.
Their underlying anxiety, shame, and fear lead them to look for control in all situations. Because they consider themselves unique and special, they expect favorable treatment from all. If anyone defies their will or asks for something in return, then be ready for outrage, cold shoulders, and aggression from a narcissist.
Narcissists as Parents
Narcissistic personality disorder can cause people to have an increased sense of self-importance. In addition to having a certain admiration for themselves, they may also harbor an extensive need for attention. These issues are often accompanied by other symptoms, including but not limited to apathetic behavior and extreme reaction to criticism.
That is why, when narcissists become parents, their constant race to put themselves above everyone else welcomes a new competitor in the form of their own child. Despite having the role to love and nurture their child, narcissists often neglect their duties and project their insecurities onto their offspring.
When you are co-parenting with a narcissist, you need to be careful about protecting your child from the effects of their harmful behavior.
As you maneuver through this difficult scenario, the following points can help you determine what a narcissistic parent might be capable of doing. It allows you to protect your child’s interests while arranging parenting agreements or seeking full custody through the court.
- Narcissists Can Be Difficult to Live With. Having a narcissistic parent can be a traumatic experience for a child. In addition to facing constant comparison and berating, the child often needs to live up to the narcissistic parent’s expectations. This can cause undue pressure on the child.
- Narcissists Often Dismiss What Others Have to Say. Narcissistic parents operate on a belief of knowing what’s best for their child. Due to this, they often ignore the child’s wishes and impose their opinions on them. This can disrupt the child’s decision-making process and keep them from exploring their interests.
- Narcissists Pay More Attention to Keeping Appearances. Under the light of positive attention, narcissistic parents can be charming and engaging. But at the slightest criticism, they can turn defensive and inflammatory. They can impart the same values in the child and inhibit their mental growth.
Due to these reasons, co-parenting with a narcissist can be extremely difficult. To cope with the issue, you must negotiate a legal parenting plan. This helps protect your child’s interests and keeps them safe from more extensive harm.
Impact of a Narcissistic on Child’s Personality
Given the wide-ranging influence of a narcissistic parent, they can have a significantly harmful impact on their child’s personality.
In addition to causing confidence issues in the child, their constant exposure to narcissistic behavior can also lead to other behavioral problems such as loneliness and mental anguish.
Most of these issues are long-term and cause excessive damage to a child’s personality. In most cases, the child easily carries the burden to adulthood and faces problems in their professional and personal lives.
These problems can include but are not limited to the following.
- Self-esteem and self-doubt issues. A child with a narcissistic parent can develop self-esteem issues due to their wishes being ignored or their opinions being dismissed. This behavior can also arise from constant criticism.
- Identity and expression issues. After observing the constant focus that a narcissistic parent may have on maintaining a false persona, the child may start prioritizing a fabricated image over their authentic self.
- Emotional issues. The lack of affection and the absence of trust can cause various emotional problems for the child. This can also cause them to be less trustful of others and crave attention from certain people in their life.
- Achievement issues. Since narcissistic parents may display a need not to let their children outshine them, the child may develop both an unhealthily competitive streak and a self-sabotaging attitude.
- Self-worth issues. The constant need to please their parent for approval may cause the child to develop self-worth issues. This can often cause the child to ignore their own needs and push themselves beyond their limits.
If you are going through legal proceedings for co-parenting with a narcissist, you must keep away from self-diagnosing your former partner’s mental condition in court. Without proof from an established professional, accusing the other parent of narcissistic behavior can be detrimental to your position in these cases.
That’s where you need to learn how to manage the situation and tread carefully while you gather any available evidence of your former partner’s mental condition. In such cases, it’s essential to explore how you can establish a legal parenting plan and get your former partner to agree to it.
How to Stay in Control
Here are a few aspects to pay attention to when you are dealing with a narcissist.
The first step to deal with a narcissist is to accept the way they are. Remember, vulnerable narcissists do not feel good about themselves, and on the other hand, grandiose narcissists are less open with their emotions.
If you understand how they are and accept them, you can deal with them better.
Understand Where Their Behavior Originate
Vulnerable narcissists need to feel good about themselves, which is why they become undercutting and sneaky.
To create mischief, they may ask for your authority. Once you understand their insecurities, you can provide them enough reassurance to focus on their needs and get them to settle down. When you give them the right amount of reassurance, you will allow them to calm down.
Maintain a Positive Outlook
When dealing with narcissists, who get pleasure from others’ pain and sufferings, then see the pain that made them so.
Even if you feel irritated, do not appear ruffled, and you will see that behavior will diminish. When you think positive and have a positive outlook, you will quickly ease the situation and deal with the narcissistic individual.
Recognize That Individual Might Need Help
Narcissists have profound feelings of inadequacy and have low self-esteem, so it is crucial to recognize when they need professional help. Rather than believing their personality is immutable, support them, and remember if they need assistance.
Use A Sense of Humor
If you call a narcissist a bluff or ignore the individual, it seems rude, and they might feel bad about it. But if you point to the egocentric behavior of the person with a joke or smile, it will prevent the situation from becoming worse. This type of treatment works well for the individual who will find it possibly instructive and entertaining.
Narcissism may be attractive at first in some cases, as such, it does not mean those who possess this trait are unlovable. Such people may also be useful, charismatic, or fun. If you understand the characteristics and know-how to deal with a narcissist, you can quickly improve your relationship with them rather than leaving her or him by the wayside.
Indeed, it can be quite difficult to deal with these types of people, especially if you act in an entirely different manner. That is why it is essential for you to learn the different patterns, actions, and behaviors, be aware, and act accordingly.