You love your children and want what’s best for them. When you decided to file for divorce in an Arizona court, you were concerned about your children’s ability to cope with the changes your decision would bring to their lives. Co-parenting can be challenging, and it’s often especially so when one of the parents involved is a narcissist.

Being married to a narcissist may have been no walk in the park. That’s likely why you felt anxious from the start when planning your first steps toward your new lifestyle. You know that your narcissistic spouse loves to create conflict. You also logically assume that co-parenting conflict isn’t going to help anyone come to terms with your divorce; in fact, it might make things worse.

You have object constancy, but your spouse doesn’t

If you’ve read books or attended counseling to better help you deal with living with a narcissist, you may already know what the term “object constancy” means. The average person is capable of loving his or her family members even if one of them has made him or her angry or caused hurt.

In short, you don’t stop loving your kids because they misbehave. A narcissist lacks this ability. If a narcissist feels hurt, disappointed, betrayed or angry, he or she may not feel love toward the person believed to have caused the issue in question. Such behavior can spark complications in your co-parenting relationship.

Don’t let the conflict draw you in

If your ex is supposed to pick up the kids and doesn’t show up because he or she is angry about something one of the children did, you don’t have to allow the drama to suck you in. This is why it pays to make sure the terms of your co-parenting agreement are explicit and clear.

Rather than argue over every cold shoulder or temper-tantrum your narcissistic ex might exhibit, try to stick to the facts and make sure both of you are adhering to your court order. If your co-parent is trying to impede your parent/child relationship, keep you from your kids or is otherwise disobeying a court order, it’s critical to know your rights and how to protect them without allowing your ex to create havoc in your family life.

Keep co-parenting and personal issues separate

Narcissists lack self-esteem and often blame others for their dissatisfaction in life. Your ex might blame you for the issues that led to your divorce and try to present himself or herself as a victim. Remember that your past marital problems are adult issues that have nothing to do with parenting.

If your ex is refusing to cooperate and compromise for your children’s sake because he or she is mad at you about personal issues, you can stay focused on specific co-parenting issues and take any legal steps necessary to protect your rights and your children’s best interests.

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