If you find yourself elbows deep in co-parenting with a narcissist, you’re probably already comfortable with the fact that you were blindsided into an unhealthy relationship.
Co-parenting with a narcissist isn’t for sissies. Despite how your narcissist ex (assuming the relationship is over) may have treated you before, you’re now handling them in an entirely new scenario.
This scenario will span the majority of your lifetime!
If you’re co-parenting with a narcissist, it’s best to be aware that your narcissist co-parent may ignore you, test your boundaries, push you (emotionally), get defensive, and mismanage situations in unhealthy ways.
Prepare yourself for less structured parenting and a general lack of empathy from your co-parent (for starters).
This all sounds negative, and it can be if you put yourself in a position where all you do is focus on your co-parent’s behavior and approach.
Many parents find strength in adopting a positive mindset and empowering themselves to push forward, regardless of the behavior of their narcissist co-parent.
What better way to do that than with a list of empowering quotes? Below we’ve compiled a pile of “get up and go” quotes to help the parent stuck in a co-parenting situation with a narcissist!
Read them, remember them, write them down, and repeat them to yourself.
1. “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Invisible Scars
It’s easy to allow doubt to creep in when dealing with a narcissist. Push their comments and criticisms out of your mind, and focus on your side of the parenting deal!
2. “Sometimes the best reason to let go of a toxic or abusive relationship is because your child is watching.” — Chris Sain Jr.
How you allow yourself to be treated and how you handle negative treatment from others will provide a clear example to your child — this is something of which to be careful.
3. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” — John Steinbeck
Perfection is unattainable, but making sure that you’re in a good space for the sake of your child is of paramount importance.
4. “I can’t control how you feel about me.” — Choosing Therapy
It’s natural to want to change how someone says they feel about you if you’re receiving negative feedback, but you’ll never genuinely change how a narcissist feels/thinks.
If you’re doing your best, don’t concern yourself with the feelings and opinions of others.
5. “The best security blanket a child can have is parents who respect each other.” — Jane Blaustone
This is tough, especially if a narcissistic co-parent disrespects you and pushes your boundaries.
Remember to always show respect to your co-parent for your child’s benefit. How you handle a bad situation will be a beacon of light for your child.
6. “Accept now that you may never be “coparenting” with a narcissist.” — Tracy A. Malone
Reliability is not at the top of a narcissist’s list of priorities, so keep this in mind when you’re let down.
However, if you’re prepared for and expect it, you can handle the situation with composure and a can-do attitude for your child.
7.“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of the parents.” — Jane D. Hull
Even if it irks you to do so, help your narcissist co-parent to have a positive input in your child’s life.
This may mean you lead them, support them, and sometimes even spoon-feed them, but for the sake of your child, it’s worth it.
8. “Don’t ever talk trash to a child about their other parent.” — Unknown
Trash-talking a co-parent only shows you in a negative light. Instead, show respect for your co-parent; even though you don’t think your child notices, they do!
9. “How many narcissists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None! They use gaslighting!” — Anonymous
Now, this one’s not all that serious, and that’s the point! Remember to keep your sense of humor close at hand and to use it.
Focusing on the dire aspects of any situation will drag you and your family down! Laugh, and see the light side occasionally.
10. “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary.” — Brene Brown in Daring Greatly
Your knee-jerk reaction may be to avoid all possibilities of being vulnerable when a narcissistic co-parent is involved, but if you allow yourself to be yourself and show vulnerability with those you love (including your child), you’ll find you can live and parent with greater depth.
11. “Be kind, be reasonable, be brief.” — Laura Wasser
There’s simply no point in lashing out, dragging out arguments, or being unreasonable with a narcissist to prove a point. Instead, the best approach is always to be kind and keep communications brief but respectful.
12. “When you tell your kid that you hate the other parent, you are basically telling them that you hate half of who they are.” — Unknown
Children read into commentary more than most think they do. Be careful of what you say about your co-parent as you may inadvertently hurt your child.
13. “Respond, don’t react!” — The Minds Journal
Instead of instantly reacting (generally what the narcissist wants), take the time to think about your response and present it calmly, respectfully, and reasonably.
14.“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” — Robert Fulghum
Your child will take note of how you handle your narcissist co-parent. Always be respectful and kind while maintaining firm boundaries — this is the best lesson you can give your child.
15. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to be a little selfless.” — Nick Cannon
You may want to kick, scream, and say things for a reaction because you’re that frustrated, but being selfless for the sake of your child will have a greater impact. It’s not about being walked over but knowing which battles to pick.
16. “Co-parenting is not a competition between two homes. It is a collaboration of parents who are doing what is best for the children.” — Unknown
Even if you feel like getting one-up on your co-parent, don’t! Remember that you’re in this for your child and that it’s better to take the high road. Always put your child’s interests first.
17. “Instead of raising children who turn out okay despite their childhood, let’s raise children who turn out extraordinary because of their childhood.” — L.R. Knost
This requires putting your negative thoughts and opinions behind you, and instead of focusing on what your ex is doing wrong, focus on what you are and can do right for your child.
18.“The best, most mature co-parents will tell their therapist – and not their child – how much the other parent sucks.” — Hayley Gallagher
Keep commentary about your co-parent to yourself and a trusted third party (a therapist is best). That way, your child feels they are allowed to develop their relationship with their other parent without feeling guilty.
19. “Make a positive difference in your children’s lives. Act and speak about your co-parent with respect and integrity.” — Allison Pescosolido
Of course, you don’t have to mislead your child by giving them a false positive outlook on their other parent, but when your co-parent does good, give praise and support as required and add a healthy dose of respect.
20. “Co-parenting is not a competition. It’s a collaboration of two homes working together with the best interest of the child at heart. Work for your kids, not against them.” — Heather Hetchler
Put your differences aside and try to find ways to work with your co-parent instead of counter-parenting. This alleviates the stress and guilt children often feel when torn between two parents they love.
Co-parenting, in general, is tough. Co-parenting with a narcissist may feel like a minefield. The best approach is a positive one.
Maintain a healthy distance, have boundaries firmly in place, and adopt a positive mindset that allows respectful and supportive behavior.
Do this, and you’ll set yourself up for a positive co-parenting situation with your narcissist ex.
Jayme is a professional writer, vegan nutritionist, and relationship & communications counselor. As an avid reader, researcher, and writer, she is constantly expanding her interests and looking into new avenues of mental health awareness and self-care. She lives with her two rescue dachshunds in Hampshire in the United Kingdom.