Of Emotional Abuse & Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Part 10)

This piece is a worthy continuance of the former. It seeks to share a few pearls of wisdom on how to navigate the trajectory of co-parenting with a narcissist. First and foremost, what is co-parenting?

According to Section 29 (1) – 9 of the Children’s Act 2009 1. Where the biological parents of a child are not married to one another and do not live together, they may enter into a co-parenting agreement (emphasis ours).

2. The agreement shall set out –

a. Which the parent the child will reside with.

b. Which parent shall determine the child’s upbringing.

c. The times the child will spend with the absent parent.

d. The financial & other responsibilities of each parent towards the child, and

e. Such other matters as may be prescribed.

3. The agreement shall be in writing and such be in such form as may be prescribed.

4. The parents of the child shall file a copy of the agreement with the clerk of the children’s court in the district in which the child resides. 5. The agreement may be varied or revoked at the instance of either parent.

6. The parent wishing to vary or revoke the agreement shall give the other parent written notice of the intention to do so, and shall set out the grounds upon which he or she seeks the variation or revocation.

7. The said parent shall make application to vary or revoke the agreement to the children’s court in the district in which the child resides.

8. The children’s court shall in proceedings for the variation or revocation of a co-parenting agreement ensure that the best interests (emphasis ours) of the child are the paramount consideration.

9. In proceedings under this section, the court shall take into account any views expressed by the child.

In light of the aforementioned sections it is paramount to note the following;

• In our considered view, if there is adequate proof that one of the parents is a narcissist it will be in the best interests of the child for the non-narcissistic parent to be given custody of the child and for the narcissistic parent to be granted supervised reasonable access to the child.

• Maintain firm boundaries - Narcissists feed on the reactions they get from others — whether good or bad. Setting up boundaries is a way that you can limit your ex’s ability to get you fired up.

For example, you may suggest that you communicate only through text or email unless there is an emergency. That way, you have sufficient time to recollect your emotions if the narcissist throws stones at you under the guise of your child together.

These boundaries can extend to your ex’s relationship with your child as well. If your court-ordered agreement allows, consider scheduling specific times when your ex can call to speak with your child whenever the child is at your abode. The narcissist may not respond well to having boundaries set at first, but — with time — you’ll find they’re necessary and so helpful.

• Parent with empathy - It may be hard to avoid getting caught up in the dramatics of co-parenting, but try your best to remember your child in all this. Parenting with empathy means putting yourself in your child’s shoes and responding to situations in ways that take their feelings foremost into account.

You can also help your child to recognise their own feelings — whether that’s sadness, frustration, or anger. If they know what they’re feeling, they can better talk and process their emotions. Your child is highly likely deprived of this type of positive modelling or understanding from their narcissistic parent, so it’s important you provide it.

Avoid speaking ill of the other parent in front of the kids - Along with this, it’s a good idea to keep conflict with your partner and specific name-calling or other complaints to yourself (or perhaps a trusted friend, family member, or therapist). Ranting just puts your little one in the center of something they didn’t ask to be a part of. It compounds the stress and pressure of taking sides on them.

The next piece will be a build up to co-parenting with a narcissist.

• Gaone Monau is a Practicing attorney and Motivational speaker. For bookings on gender-based violence awareness seminars, motivational talks or consultations on relationships, confidence building, stress management and self-discovery contact +26774542732 or [email protected] Her Facebook page is Be Motivated with Gaone. • This article was co – authored in conjunction with Tsholofelo Kgwalabatlhe, a narcissist survivor, Psychologist, Founder and Director of Explore Consults Pty Ltd- a company that offers counselling, psychotherapy, workshops, trainings and assessments. Her Facebook page is Explore Life with Tsholo. For bookings/appointments contact 73015012.

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