How to Share Custody with a Narcissist

How to Share Custody with a Narcissist

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of self-importance. They are very manipulative and have a hard time caring about others. However, their manipulative trait is what can make them so appealing at first. At the beginning of a relationship, they can appear like a perfect person, loving and respectful. Unfortunately, it won’t last. After getting to know them, signs will begin to show that they may not be who you first thought they were. Narcissists:

  • Have to be the topic of every conversation
  • Always believe they’re right
  • Will love bomb you to get their way
  • Are self-centered
  • Only care about themselves 
  • Are master manipulators 
  • Will tell you what you want to hear for their own benefit
  • Nothing is ever their fault

While being in a relationship with a narcissist can be difficult, co-parenting with one can present its own list of struggles. Here are some tips on how to successfully share custody with one. 

Keep Communication Via Text/Email

Keeping communication via text or email can help conversations from spiraling out of control. Phone calls can provide more room for arguments and heightened emotions. While these situations can still happen over text, you’ll be able to have more time to think before responding and you’ll have proof of everything that was said. This can be especially helpful if you ever need to go back to Court. 

If you’re still worried about communication running smoothly, try using apps such as Our Family Wizard. This app can show:

  • Who sent the text
  • When the the text was sent 
  • When the text was opened 
  • When the text was responded to

It also has a calendar built in that no one can secretly change. If you choose, there’s also an optional tone meter feature. This will screen all texts for inappropriate behavior or conflict before sending the text. These features can prove to be a big help for anyone dealing with a high-conflict parent. 

Keep Communication Short

When communicating with a narcissist it’s best to not only keep communication via text or email, but also keep it short and sweet. Don’t let the conversation stray from the child and only send texts that are absolutely necessary. You’ll likely have settled all big decisions regarding the child in Court, so unless it’s needed, follow the Order and don’t open up communication with the other parent. 

The less time you spend communicating with a narcissist, the less they can manipulate you. They will do everything in their power to gain control of the situation again. Don’t give them the opportunity. They will try all kinds of things including:

  • Love bombing 
  • Baiting you to get a reaction
  • Coming up with excuses to talk to you
  • Lying to make you think you’re doing something wrong

Don’t fall for these tricks. As long as you’re sticking to the agreement and only responding when it pertains to the child, you’re fine.

Set Strict Boundaries

Just like with communication, don’t give them any room to manipulate when it comes to boundaries. Make sure there are strict rules to be followed in the agreement. Your attorney can help negotiate more protocols in the agreement, require a parent coordinator, or the use of Our  Family Wizard to be used. 

If you feel the other side is trying to cross boundaries or break the custody agreement, start recording every incident of it happening and get in contact with your attorney to see what can be done about either changing the agreement or holding the other side accountable.

Parallel Parenting 

Parallel parenting is a method in which there is very little communication between the two parents and, after all major decisions have been agreed upon, each side develops their own parenting style when with the child. Trying to agree on every little detail on how to raise the child will be nearly impossible with a narcissist. Instead, focus on your shared time with the child and do what you see fit during those days. 

Know that while you and the other parent may not get along anymore, it’s often in the best interest of the child that both parents are in their life. All that matters is your child is healthy, happy, and safe.

If you’re in need of a family law attorney in North Carolina, please visit or call 919-213-7449.