How narcissism may affect co-parenting and hurt your child

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Child Custody

If the person you are co-parenting your children with is a narcissist, you might have already noticed how they have affected your child’s relationship. Their controlling and manipulative methods may leech into not only their interpersonal relationships but also their parenting styles.

Familiarizing yourself with the narcissistic tendencies of some co-parents can help you identify what to work on with your child before it is too late.

Understanding attachment relationships

Your children entered this world with an innate ability to attach emotionally, neurologically and psychologically to the primary figures in their lives. Your children likely develop a secure attachment style if you and the other parent consistently respond to them with empathy and meet their needs.

However, if neglected emotionally or biologically for prolonged periods, your children might develop an avoidant attachment style.

How a narcissist hurts co-parenting

A narcissistic parent plays into the victimization of divorce. They might spin tales they are all alone, broken and will not survive this “tragedy” to the family. These guilt-ridden sentiments put them as the victim and the other parent as the antagonist, hurting the family.

Since children already feel inclined to protect the caregivers they feel attached to, they may “side” with the other parent, especially if they have an avoidant attachment style. The narcissistic parent may shame the children and withdraw love and emotional connection when the children do not do as the parent pleases.

The children might not notice these manipulative dynamics, so dealing with an emotionally abusive, narcissistic co-parent may require you to be there extra for your children to keep them safe and validate their feelings.

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