Co-Parenting With a Narcissist (& the Agony of Defeat)

coparent-narcissistThe only thing harder than breaking up/going No Contact with a narcissist is breaking up/going No Contact with a narc who also happens to be your baby daddy/momma. Based on the countless emails and comments that I receive from victims (both male AND female) who struggle to co-parent with a narcissist ex, it’s clear to me that there are no easy solutions. In fact, up until I began to write this post, I was beginning to fear that perhaps there were no solutions but this answer simply wasn’t acceptable to me. How am I supposed to help if there are no solutions? So, I gave the subject a good deal of thought and decided tom put a slightly different spin on this very unique co-parenting scenario. Ultimately, what I decided was that co-parenting with a narcissistic ex AND having a peaceful life can happen because it must and that the Agony of Defeat was not insurmountable.

Can a Narcissist love his/her children?

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This is the big question, of course, and I believe that the answer to that is ‘no’ – at least not in the way normal people love their children. In fact, it’s not even close. The truth is that a narcissist can no more love his or her children than he or she can love a partner, friend, family member, or anyone else.  I’ve never seen it happen. I’ve never read about it happening. I’ve never heard about it happening. It’s just not possible.  An N is an N is an N. If history showed that even the slightest possibility existed  that narcissists could, in fact, love their own children, I’d be tempted to think that narcissism perhaps was fixable. But there is no history any where that does this…no history, that is, that is based in fact and not in wishful thinking. No, narcissists do not and can not ‘love’ their children.

Now, having said that, do not be misled into thinking that narcissists do not find their children useful under certain circumstances because…oh yeah…they most certainly do. In fact, the N who is a combination “ex-partner” and “co-parent” has the luxury of circulating, surviving, and thriving at levels of evil far beyond that of the typical narcissistic asshole. The narcissist co-parent is indeed a SuperPower in his own right! Yes, he/she who holds this coveted position is awarded the type of false entitlements that a single non-parent narcissist only dreams about. And for the victim partner who wants to get away, a break-up with this narcissist superpower appears too often to be a hopeless situation…a brand new narcissistic show of chaos that promises to be far more damaging than the first, second, and third. And, this time, it is the children who get bumped to the top of the N’s hit list.

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Is it possible to go No Contact with a narcissist co-parent?

No, not in the way that No Contact was originally intended. Victims who want/need the torture to stop but still have to deal with co-parenting issues are left to their own devices without a single one of the privileges that many other victims may take for granted. As a victim who co-parents, how do you block a phone number, move away, refuse to answer the door, blow off the in-laws, and so forth when children are involved? You can’t. How do you flat out refuse to communicate with a parent that the children (bless their hearts) have been duped into loving? How do you deal with the fact that the narcissist talks shit about you to the kids and you can’t even defend yourself (because you choose to do the right thing and stay quiet)?

narcimpressBecause the N is not a normal human, he/she is going to use the children as a narcissistic tactic and weapon of choice to cut you to the very bone. Since the N has no conscience, dragging the children into the dirt is nothing but a thing and the easiest way to hurt you. The N will use every excuse in the book pertaining to the children to intrude upon your new life. At some point, the narcissist may even threaten you – either with CPS or by saying that he simply won’t be bringing them back. Granted, the latter scenario isn’t likely because a typical N honestly can’t be bothered (but the thought is nonetheless horrifying since you know the boundaries that this person will cross both in court and out).  Sadly, you will now have to watch the torture that was your relationship played out towards the children. Since the narcissist (again, male or female) can no longer Idolize, Devalue, & Discard you, he will turn his pathological relationship agenda upon the children. It’s likely he/she will make plans with the children and then not show up.  The N may promise to call and then conveniently forget – for days, weeks, or longer. He/she may even miss holidays altogether, choosing instead to be with a “new” ‘victim’ family and partner. He will relish the thought that even now, with the relationship being over, he can still continue to torture you by torturing the children. And since the children, at least while they’re young, tend to love a narcissist parent unconditionally no matter how neglectful and indifferent he/she may be, the N ultimately gets nearly a life time to make sure you are never happy again!

So, what is the answer?

The answer, first, is to know that the relationship between you and the N is over. At this point, despite how he appears to others, you already know the type of parent that he really is and must proceed to use this information to (for once) serve your own purpose. How much time did the N really spend with the children anyway? Narcissists are historically not doting fathers and mothers or even participating fathers and mothers. Over and over, I hear stories of narcissists walking out just weeks after a child is born. Silent treatments!! Can you imagine that?? Silent treatments when there’s an infant and new mother at home? I hear about narcissists who walk out just days before Christmas, leaving the children with not the slightest idea where daddy went. This may not be exactly the case with your ex-N but I bet its close. Use this knowledge to your advantage. You are a good person. He is not.

As a co-parent with an N, you, too, must strive to be a SuperPower! You must develop thicker skin than you ever thought possible so that every nasty comment he throws your way rolls off your back. You must be able to take an emotional beating without anyone being the wiser. You have to learn to detach, detach, detach and commit, commit, commit to setting boundaries and making rules of engagement. Communication, if possible, should be limited to text, email, and the sporadic phone call…and it must only concern sensible/reasonable issues about the children (and, really, how many of those can there be that have to involve the N?). Above all else, do your best to react to nothing (the point of the N’s game, after all, is to make YOU the psycho co-parent) unless it’s life threatening to the children and even then pay no attention to him/her specifically.

Do not worry about and/or feed into the enormous amount of trash-talking going on behind your back. In fact, say nothing and simply observe, allowing the N to talk trash about mommy (or daddy) all day long if he/she wants to. Sit quietly on the sidelines while the pathetic narcissist digs his own parental grave – and he will dig it because he just won’t be able to help himself. Take comfort in the fact that children are strong, resilient, and smart. They will grow up one day and see the narcissist parent for what he/she is and you will come out the winner. The mask always slips and that’s a fact.

From co-parenting with a narcissist, nothing good ever comes… this we already know so where else can we really go but up?  You must believe in your heart that no matter how hurtful the narcissist is or how evil his intention, you are still free! The relationship is over. You may now look upon the Narcissist as nothing more than an annoying sperm donor and treat him accordingly. He deserves nothing less, nothing more. For years, the narcissist has been methodically managing down your expectations...preparing for this very day….setting the stage for this break-up because he knew it would come…it had to come. The narcissist co-parent counts on the fact that his passive-aggressive conditioning of your responses to his words and behaviors has stuck and that you still fear what he could do, might do, will do.  He counts on his control in this situation and your emotional fragility. The fact that he gets to use the kids against you is just an added bonus!

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Turn it around by having no more fear. It’s time to up the ante.

First, if the narcissist has a girlfriend, tell him you want to be communicative with her about the children. Now, the N will hate this but that’s too bad. Normal couples in normal break-ups speak to “the others” all the time. In fact, you should simply refuse to send the kids unless you at least get to speak to her on the phone for five detached minutes about Suzie’s sort throat. If you show that you’re willing and actually prefer to communicate with the OW, the N is likely to begin behaving immediately to ensure this never happens – and that’s fine too (it’s what we want). I’d be willing to bet that, within a short amount of time, the narcissist will begin to back out completely since the fun of making you suffer will have been taken out of the equation. Using this particular communication twist clearly sends a message to the N that says: I don’t care about you anymore.

Do not allow fear to keep you from being free. You have to let it all go (narcissist included). Do not let your emotions rule your actions. You can still initiate and implement your own version of No Contact with the narcissist co-parent. You can still move on with your life. Chances are high that if you show indifference, detachment, and a refusal to play the game on his terms in any way, the narcissist will do what he has always done and vanish anyway. The children will still grow up to be wonderful people. In the end, you – as the co-parenting ex victim – will be stronger than any of us who have embarked on this journey.  Your decision to end it with the N despite the fact that you have children together will always be the right decision.

I tip my hat to you, sisters and brothers. It’s going to be a challenge but I know you can do it. Change your perspective and change your life. Do not let the N twist the rules of the game to serve his/her own purpose. Allow no more manipulation because that part of your life is over!! Don’t allow the co-parenting dilemma to become an excuse to stay connected with the N.  Instead, beat the co-parent narcissist at his/her own game by playing by the rules. You can win. I know you can!

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  • n

    November 25, 2016 at 6:53 am Reply

    I met someone a couple years ago, got pregnant pretty quickly, he moved me into his house, he seemed to be really into me, very supportive. I over looked a lot of red flags because I really wanted the domestic dream and I excused his behavior. Excused him randomly snapping at me as he was having a bad day or something, excused overhearing him tell a friend I was like Jekyll and Hyde, puzzled over not being allowed to lock the doors when I was home alone ‘cuz the locks might wear out’ but not really questioning that. Lots of ‘little’ things which were actually ‘big’ things. I didn’t make the connection til too late that he started telling me I was stupid, dumb, an idiot, after I confided to him that the thing I hated the most was feeling dumb. I overlooked him leaving me alone overnight in the hospital in premature labor when I was barely eight months pregnant.
    I had our daughter a month early and he had me take a year off from work, he sold my car and gave me use of one of his trucks. He wouldn’t let me decorate the house, wouldn’t even let me get a new fish drainer ‘cuz he had the same one since he moved in’. It was six yrs old and a visible biohazard. He got more and more abusive. Stopped being intimate with me, laughed at me or degraded me if I initiated. Whatever I said I liked him doing, he stopped. Whatever I said I wished he’d do more of, he did less. Whatever I asked, the answer was no. He’d take my food/ candy and shove it inside his underwear and rub it all over his genitals while looking at me like he wished I’d drop dead. if I asked for a hug or a kiss he’d sigh and roll his eyes or fart and say he had diarrhea running down his leg. He’d tell me to tell him if we needed groceries and if I did, he’d literally throw money at me so I’d have to crawl around picking it up. He’d grab my crotch and restrain me (when I was on my period) and shove my sanitary pad up in me roughly. He shoved me onto the floor and then cried that he never hit a girl before and the next day changed it to I had tripped. He shoved me into a wall in anger but then said he was joking when I called him out on it. He drank heavily the whole time we were together and would get upset if I didn’t drink. He’d bring me home (3times) ‘surprise’ six-packs of beer. He’d tell me to invite friends over but then have excuses as to why they couldn’t come but then later tell me I should invite lol over. If he’d say it was a nice day out and I’d agree he’d tell at me for repeating him. I couldn’t get him to do anything as a family with me and our daughter. We did a couple times but only when it was his idea. He’d go weeks without showering. We tried counseling but just once. He got mad at me for bringing up the physical abuse. The counselor suggested individual counseling, he only went twice. He wouldn’t do ‘date nights’ with me. He said we watched TV together and that was enough. He went out with his friends drinking as often as possible, worked late (at least that’s what he said he was doing), would stay outside as long as possible in the garage. Spent hardly any time with our daughter. Would get mad at her for not being attached to him and say he hated how attached she was to me.
    I got more and more depressed, stopped eating, stopped being able to enjoy every day activities. He took our daughter to his friends house/brewery and I was home alone and drank two shots of vodka, went out to my car to get something, and passed out. He came home with her, found me, and called an ambulance, made a scene by collapsing in the driveway in ‘grief’ so the neighbors had to carry him inside- the neighbors not knowing that he hadn’t asked me how I was or about my day in a year. I was taken to the hospital and he showed up yelling at me for posting ‘questionable’ things on Facebook, threatening to call the cops if I went home, he took my tablet away. The next day I went home and he asked me what the hospital said I have (anxiety, hypoglycemia, too much alcohol) and the next day I got served with ‘ex parte’ papers with that exact wording on it plus accusations of being an alcoholic, supervised visitation with my daughter and no driving with her. It made me out to be a crazy person and said my daughter was in danger of harm from me. DVR showed up a couple days later and I found out he told them our daughter was in the car with me. They said neither of us could drink around our daughter and the next day he was out with her, he drank with his frisnd, and then drove her home!! I told DVR but had no proof.
    Things stayed awful for a month, got worse really. And I was out doing stuff and got upset over how he shut me out of everything with our daughter, his parents shut me out too. I wasn’t handling it well and had stopped and got a couple drinks and was just sitting in my car, not driving, and I fell asleep. I got a DUI. Back to the hospital via ambulance. He showed up but I refused to see him. He called the hospital impersonating my brother. After I got out I went to a friend’s house I was in the process of moving in with and he served me with ‘ex parte’ papers again but this time evicted me from his house, continued the supervised visits, cut out most of the ‘supervisirs’, took my phone away, took all my electronic devices, took away the car his parents bought for me (it was in both our names). He lied to his family and our mutual friends and said I was driving drunk with our daughter. He accused me of uncontrolled psychological problems, said I had been missing for 24hrs- even though he showed up at the hospital. He accused me of using drugs. The court papers are full of lies.
    I can’t find legal help. I lost everything. To a psychopath. He’s still threatening me, such as he’s trying to cancel the state ins I have for our daughter, etc. I did everything, everyday, for my baby. She was never in harm’s way. Not from me. She was still nursing and now I’m lucky if I see her once a week. He’s posting tons of ‘daddy daughter’s pics on Facebook and doing all the stuff with her that I used to beg him to do. He rarely posted pics of her before except posed with cans of beer, mainly. He’s suddenly Father Of The Year and I’m so angry. Idk what to do. I’m devastated. I was with her 24/7. Did all her daily care. He was the one drinking around her all the time. He was the one who’d drink and then drive with her (and me). He was never around except occasionally.
    Legal Services’ lawyers are all ‘busy’ and I have no money, no resources. How do I fight this? How do I get my baby back?
    I feel like I’m dying :'(

    • Zari Ballard

      November 29, 2016 at 6:02 am Reply

      Dear n,

      I am so, so sorry that you have fallen prey to this monster and I am devastated for you about what he has done about the baby. How can this happen while the baby is still nursing! I believe everything about your story and I can see how he has twisted it and the courts have believed his bullshit. Where do you live? Are you in the states? Can’t you file an “ex parte” back….this is a tragedy! Please don’t give up….You must fight for your baby!! Is he on the birth certificate? Why is he in charge of all of this? I have never heard of DVR taking away a baby who is being breast fed. Have you called women’s shelters and asked if they know about legal aid for those who can’t afford it? Perhaps find a lawyer and plead your case…maybe someone will help for free. There has got to be a way. Get that baby back…you are the mother! And, as much as you might feel like it, never drink again…I can’t believe this happened to you and I am so sorry.

      Please tell me where you are so I can research it for you... I will see if I can at least get you some information! Please write back…

      Zari xo

      • Lmommy

        January 10, 2017 at 5:55 am Reply

        Dear Zari: I have been divorced from the N for five years. While I have no interest in him whatsoever, I have a child with him (as you said, I had to throw him out just two weeks after the baby was born). He is a deadbeat dad. He shows up every other saturday; the rest of the time it´s just me. When he is called by my kid´s teachers he refuses to attend or to participate, and has claimed that “he will get involved when he sees it apropiate”. Regarding child support, what he pays is not what he should (he makes a lot more money). The fact of the case is that his current GF gives him work at her office and keep no record for the IRS of this, thus seeming as he makes far less than he actually does. Whenever my child goes to their home, he comes with this stories about the awesome place they have and so on, and it trully makes me upset. I honestly have no idea what to do, I have sued him (only to find that his corrupt attorney brived the judge) and at this point everyone (including my own attorney) is terrified to strart another thing in court because we fear that he might challenge custody of forbid leaving the country. What do you think is the best approach? Before, I used to e-mail him to remind him to comply timely and correctly about child support (I did send many angry e-mails) but now I just fgured out that by not paying while showing off that he lives beautifully trhough my child he is probably trying to get to me. So I chose not to question him anymore on anything. However, I feel like the big looser here, and I feel that I have to relinquish to every right me and my child have in order to avoid conflict. What do you recomend??

        • Zari Ballard

          January 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm Reply

          Hi Lmommy,

          If your lawyer is “terrified” about ANYTHING, you need to get another one. And how do you know that your ex bribed the judge? What did he bribe the judge about? I’d love to hear more about THAT. OR, since you have a court order, you could forget the attorney and deal directly with child support. This is what I did and I ended up getting every penny. I gave them all the information that I knew all the time directly through their website…where he was working and when I knew that he was working under the table, etc. So, this guy makes a lot of money working for his girlfriend? What does he do? You also need to start documenting everything…the days he comes for visitation and the days that he doesn’t, what he says and brags about. YOU DO NOT NEED TO RELINQUISH ANYTHING. You just have to be prepared.

          Zari xo

  • Sarah

    October 10, 2016 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Please help. I’m still in a relationship with a narc. He’s driven me to insanity. I actually pushed him the other day. I’ve never been physical to anyone in my life ever! I have two kids. One with him. One from previous (who calls him daddy) her dad died. I want to leave but I’m scared. Scared how I’ll cope. Scared for what he’ll say about me to our daughters. Scared that my daughter will no longer have contact with the only dad she’s ever known but will have to watch his daughter going off to spend time with him. I’ve tried to leave and when I do he twists it to make me sound crazy. Tells the kids “mummy wants to take you away from me” they’re only 1 and 4 and I can’t stand the thought of them being hurt. How do I escape? I know he’ll use the push against me and I’d rather stay and be miserable forever than have my kids taken away from me.

    • Zari Ballard

      October 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      When you say, I know he’ll use the push against me and I’d rather stay and be miserable forever than have my kids taken away from me., what do you mean exactly? You don’t say anything in the post about him taking away the kids. Why and how could he do that? Because of a push? Did the cops come and were you charged??? I don’t get that, sister. So, first of all, if you’re worried about the kids being hurt, LEAVE NOW why they are still young. Who cares what he says to them NOW…they’re 1 and 4!! Or to anyone else, for that matter. They don’t even KNOW what he’s saying. And if the four-year old feels sad when the other child goes off to see daddy, then you plan in advance for the two of you to do something else. Forget the fact that, if he was any kind of decent man, he would take BOTH kids at the same time…but we both know he ISN’T OBVIOUSLY a decent man so you simply have to think outside the box: go do something else! believe me, she’ll get over it. If you hurry and get this over with, they’ll grow up already used to him not being there and as long as you are just the best mom that you can be, you don’t have to even care what he says. You can only control what you can control.

      Now, again, I’m not understanding about him taking the kids away…you’d need to explain that. As for not being able to cope, in what way? Money-wise? Well, he’ll need to have to pay child support, of course, which means you’ll have to go to court…but so what? We’ve all done it. Millions do it every day. It sucks, yes, but it easily doable. Be thankful that you don’t have to get a divorce because then he can demand things. Right now he can demand NOTHING. And if you don’t have a job, you’ll have to get one. Lots of women here – myself included – got rid of the bad bullying dad and raised our kids as a single mom. Put one foot in front of the other, stop being scared, and do what will ULTIMATELY be BEST for both you AND the children. You can do it.

      Zari xo

  • Stacey

    August 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply

    Wow! I rarely ever comment on articles but this article amazing. I’ve been reading about narcissists for years, searching for answers. You are the first one to actually give advice on how to co-parent with one of these monsters. I only wish I had found this sooner. My husbands ex has literally made our lives a living hell. She could care less how much it hurts the child as long as it hurts my husband. She knows how much he loves his son and has always had that button to push, to set him off.

  • Katy

    August 28, 2016 at 7:11 am Reply

    I’m not sure if I’m coparenting with a narcissist? I read your articles because I just got out of a 3 year relationship with a narcissist (not the father of my children) and am just beginning to learn about it. I am 13 months nc! I stumbled upon this one, curious what my life would have been like if (God forbid) I’d had a child with this a-hole. (You are spot on everytime, by the way. It’s like the same exact narcissist is walking around duping all of us!) I had never thought about my children’s father being a narcissist. I guess mostly because I was the narcissist. (I am a recovering narcissist.) But as I read, I’m sitting here going, he did that! I suppose it’s possible for 2 narcissists to be together. I kept assuming narcissist/victim. I was just the dominant narc. My kids dad left us 5 years ago, almost to the day. During our 10 year marriage he would leave every 3-4 months because he couldn’t deal with me anymore. The length of time would vary from 1 night-3 weeks, depending on how mad or fed up he was. And it was the silent treatment. (I thought he was bipolar, but none of the mania or other behaviors fit the way this does.) I never knew where he was and, to be honest, I was a little afraid to ask. But he always left money in our shared bank account for whatever we needed. I had a 2 year old son when we married. And then we had 4 girls together. On the night that he left, he had been gone all day (who knows where?) because of something I had done. He comes home at 11pm. and our girls are in bed with me watching tv. He storms silently (if that makes sense) into our room, grabs a travel bag and starts shoving his belongings in. Clothes, shoes, toiletries. Our oldest daughter, who was 8 at the time, is watching him and asking, “daddy, where are you going?” No response. “Daddy, are you leaving?” No response. (It makes me cry now thinking about it.) He packs all the things he needs and we don’t hear from him for 5 weeks. It is the end of summer and school is starting so 2 of them will be needing back to school supplies. Something told me he means business this time and to get to the bank asap and pull out as much cash as possible. He got there first and cleaned out the account. The kids and I got on welfare and they immediately filed child support, but it took 9 months to garnish his wages. He owed back pay. So he’s been gone for 5 weeks with no word from him and he shows up at school the morning of their first day. He has a huge smile on his face because he knows they will be excited to see him. It’s time for school to start and they’re crying because they don’t want daddy to leave. I’ve never really seen him need supply. It was more for the appearance of being a good father. His family is notorious about appearances while no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Then we don’t hear from him for another 6 weeks. He is finding someone to sublease our home and he is going to live with his parents (who were no help because they believe his lies), down the street. I had to pack up our whole house with 5 kids, the youngest being 16 mo, and find use somewhere to live. I don’t have family in the area. After he cleaned out a our account I stopped asking him for money. I quit working after our oldest was born to be a stay at home mother. He knows I don’t have any money!!! Where would I get it??? And he was enjoying holding that over me. Plus, I knew child support was working. Our church, school and other organizations were taking care of us. He was just digging his own grave. He used our kids as punishment against me. How are you gonna take care of them? How are you gonna get a job? How are you gonna pay for child care? How are you gonna do this all on your own? It’s why he withheld money and why he wouldn’t see them; I was undeserving of a break. So after 6 weeks of silent treatment, he begins seeing them every other weekend and has consistently done so for the last 5 years. But ONLY every other weekend, mind you. He has no interest in extra time. He stopped seeing my son, whom he helped me raise. My son is 17 and able to process and verbalize it better. He talks now about how much that hurt. He says the guys is a **** (he has many explicits for his x-stepfather. It’s the only time I allow him to curse.) At the age of 12 when he left, my son couldn’t figure out what he had done wrong. My x never said goodbye or anything (not that I would have kept them apart), he just disappeared from my son’s life. And child support is paid, but only because they force him. I’ve asked him for money for some dental bills and the answer is, “I pay you child support, use that.” I’m not sure if he is aware the court requires him to pay half of the medical bills in addition to support? The point is, it’s not about the kids teeth being healthy, it’s about forcing me to “figure it out”. The strange thing is, when the girls are with him, I know they’re in his presence, well fed, appropriately disciplined, safe and the weekend is all about them. He doesn’t have friends around or take them tromping along to do his thing. They come home happy and with fun stories to share. (While I nod, smile and grind my teeth.) Yet, he has no problem using them to punish me. But when the girls come back its outta sight, outta mind and they don’t hear from him until their next visit. I always assumed his silent treatment and fits were in response to MY narcissism. Were they? Did he have to go strait nc with me and that’s why he acted that way? And now he treats me like shit because i used to suck the life out of him and he had to put his foot down? But that still doesn’t account for some of his behaviors concerning the kids. Idk how can he be this cool single guy with no responsibilities and then be, literally, father of the year every 2 weeks? In fact, he had a serious gf 2 months after he left us. She had 2 young kids that he spent more time with than his own. He would be with her and her kids for the 2 weeks and see his kids every other weekend! I’m sure she thought he was amazing because he was such a good dad to her kids, but how can you respect a man that “loves” your kids and neglects his own??? Regardless, my kids and I are safe and happy together. And they feel loved, even if they can’t see the bigger picture. Just some of these stories sounded all too familiar. Narcissism is everywhere and it is very bad.

    • Zari Ballard

      September 23, 2016 at 7:41 pm Reply

      Hi Katy,

      Okay, first of all….there is no such thing as a “recovering” narcissist so you can’t be that. You are either a narcissist or you’re not. I would tend to think that you’re not because you are here writing this (and also because, apparently, you have a happy, loving home) so why would you put such a label on yourself. I looked up your other post and you never say anything like that so what would make you do that. And no, two narcissists will not get together for the simple reason that they won’t be attracted to each other. I’ve never known it to happen. Narcissists never change and they can’t be fixed NOR do they CARE to fix themselves. They like themselves just the way that they are. Again, there is no recovery from BEING a narcissist.

      As for this question, Idk how can he be this cool single guy with no responsibilities and then be, literally, father of the year every 2 weeks? The answer is “quite easily”. There are zillions of single guys who are free of responsibility until the weekend comes. It’s called “being a single dad”. And, technically, he doesn’t have to ever see the kids other than what the court orders so he isn’t doing anything wrong there. Why was he given visitation only every two weeks? As for paying the medical and things like that, you’d have to go back to court to push it but the truth is the only thing they can REALLY enforce is child support. However, if it is on the order as something separate, then that probably needs to be brought to his attention. Seeing his children per the court order and making the most of their time together is not considered neglect and I suppose it could be worse. They could come home sad and filled with stories of abuse. You can only do what you can do and be the best parent YOU can be. You just can’t be worried about what he is doing anymore unless it affecting the kids negatively.

      So, stop labeling yourself. I can’t imagine where you would get that idea that you are a recovering narcissist when it is clear by the information on this website and others that it is not something you can recover from unless, of course, you are the victim and you are recovering from the abuse. I am going to assume that this is the truth. Continue being happy and he’ll just keep doing what he’s doing. It’s probably best that you have the children as much as you do anyway!


  • Debbie

    August 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm Reply

    Everything I read about narcissism is about a spouse or partner. Well 16 yrs ago I escaped my narcissistic, mentally and verbally abusive marriage of 17 yrs with my 3 kids. They will always be scarred! He destroyed daughter is 33 yrs old. Single mother of a 6 yr old girl. i would like to focus on her right now. Right after highschool she started a gay relationship with her highschool friend. Because of her parents discovering her sexuality, she left home and moved in with us. End of June that yr is almost died, a couple days before leaving the narcissist. Couple weeks out of hospital I left with the kids. Then the friend moves in. She was co dependent. Needed to be needed. After they finished school they both got work at the same place. Shared an apartment. Then bought house together. Looking back I can see that the relationship / friendship was toxic. They fed off of each other. I always thought that her friend was so insecure that she never would leave my daughters side, which she was but my daughter encouraged it. She fed off of it !! After about 5 yrs my daughter met her daughters father. They had a relationship for about 5 yrs. it ended around time my granddaughter was born. All that time her friend still,lived with her. She spent every hour of every day trying to show my daughter that she couldn’t live without her. I swear if my daughter asked her to wipe her but she would have. While my daughter is sleeping with baby daddy, she is still sharing a bed with her friend. To jump ahead, it took her friend 13’yrs to give up and move out . She was a shell. My daughter drained her completely. To shorten this, when I left in 2000, all I wanted was to try to have a normal relationship with my kids. I felt that I owed them so much after the childhood that I had put them through. I do have 2 other kids. My 31 son has intellectual deficiencies and lives with me. My other son is 26. When the time came for my daughter to go back to work after her maternity leave, I had just gone back to school, graduated but due to issues with my son’s physical and mental health I was unemployed. Needless to say I had the joy of becoming full time Gramma. From 11 months to end of kindergarten 6 yrs old. Last yr when my granddaughter started school, I didn’t stay around at the end of the day when my daughter got home from work. I figured that with my granddaughter starting school, my daughter needed her space to get a new routine down. I would still help with suppers, get granddaughters lunch ready for school etc. I had my own issues going on, I suffer from anxiety, depression, ptsd. No support system. Very low income . All in all, I now understand that I had lost value in her eyes with my actions! because I wasn’t there as much, she was working on a replacement. Around October she started talking about this woman at work. “I would like her, she was my age ( then 51), had her own home, single, has $$ ” not that that matters”. I was happy because being a single mom I wanted her to go out, have friends. So They went out to supper and drinking a few times. I was so happy that she had someone to enjoy life with. Xmas 2015, things started to go downhill, no contact during Xmas vacation when in the past we tried to hang out once in a while on days off. We did spend Xmas together. Usually we would text a few times a day, she would phone me at night and chat. Nothing. January and this woman is coming home with my daughter after work and not leaving. She is there all the time!! PTSD !!!! anxiety attacks!!! I couldn’t be around when they got back after work. It was fight or flight. Because of my granddaughter flight was the best answer. All my instincts were screaming at me! Itried to talk to my daughter about what was going on. The usual narcissistic responses! It was all in my head ! There was nothing wrong! I am so concerned for my granddaughter! She has NO one on one time with her mother! She is there but not THERE as a mother! She is so concerned about her new source. The friend isn’t good with kids, you can tell doesn’t really like them. My granddaughter is starting to want her just to go home. I’m all over the place with this story but I never thought that my daughter would grow up to be a true narcissist!! I never would have dreamed that she would turn into the person that destroyed all of us !! She has dumped her mother!! I’m not a friend or boyfriend or girlfriend. I am her mother! She is raising my granddaughter !! She is who I am so worried about! I worked really hard to protect my kids the best I could from their father!! I know because of my neglect I am also guilty of abuse, but I did try. If my daughter’s new friend of 8 months now, that has a home but never goes home, thinks that this is NORMAL?? New friend that can’t be alone ever ?!?! Life that really revolves around her and what she can suck out of her friend?!? Not only am I worried about my daughter’s mental state but what about the friend’s. She there 24/7!! What about my granddaughter???? NO way is she going to be raised by a narcissist!!!!!! And her co dependent friend who has no idea, motherly instinct, any knowledge on how to raise a kid. I screwed up big time, but I’m the one that raised those children and I am proud of how they grew up!! I did do some things right! Nobody walks away from that much abuse unscathed! Doesn’t change the fact that is feels more like my daughter and the relationship I thought we were working on is DEAD!!

    • Zari Ballard

      September 5, 2016 at 6:23 pm Reply

      Hi Debbie,

      I’m sorry that it took me so long to respond to this. You certainly have a lot on your plate, sister, and I can’t imagine how you are handling it all. You are so much stronger than you think!!! Your daughter indeed sounds like she is a female narc and, indeed, female narcs are the worst. They are, typically, horrible parents for the simple reason that they are too wrapped up in themselves and what they are doing and who they are sleeping with and so on. You know this. They can swing both ways sexually and drag everyone down with them, guys and gals. It’s a little hard to tell, but I take she is living somewhere else with the old girlfriend and now the new girlfriend has joined them? It sounds awful. How do you get your information as to what is happening over there if you don’t see them? Do you still see the granddaughter? Please send me an update and I will look for it. My suggestion is to focus on only those things that you can control and that would be the care of your granddaughter. I agree that she is the important element here in all of this. You can’t control the behaviors of narcissists, you can only control your reactions to it.

      You are a very strong woman, my friend. Please let me know how you are doing……

      Zari xo

  • MSLM

    August 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm Reply


    I feel so empowered by this post. I was one of the “ex-victims” left with a newborn. Actually a 10 day old and a 15month old to be exact. The best thing that ever happened to me. I could write a long novel but long story short all of this is true. I have been dragged to court more than 15 times, cursed out, sent huge text messages, bombarded with phone calls, verbally attacked in person and the worst…comments made to our baby daughter. I never reacted to him however I did hire an attorney, provide all the proof to the Court, purchase a cell phone for the kids calls, separate email for kid communication only and do not acknowledge him at exchanges unless I have to. Setting these boundaries will make him up the ante i.e. bringing a new “live in” girlfriend to the exchanges, have her carrying our son, even then I didn’t react I just acted like it was all normal, actually started a conversation with her (even though I was boiling) and NOW….its lost its fun to him so he would rather her wait in the car or send her off as to not interact with me yay! It works turn the tables, make her your chat friend just once and it will be too much for him to handle. Now I don’t have to interact with either I just don’t acknowledge her either and leave with a smile telling the kids “say bye to daddy” like la la la N’s hate to see you happy. But BE HAPPY you are FREE!!!! No matter what kids will grow and see how mommy behaved versus daddy and trust me they will know 🙂

    • Zari Ballard

      September 5, 2016 at 6:06 pm Reply

      MSLM wrote…No matter what kids will grow and see how mommy behaved versus daddy and trust me they will know ???? I’ve been saying this for years…yes, they will know!!!!

      Hi MSLM,

      You rock, girl! I love that you turned the tables with a smile and a shrug of your shoulders. You are too cool. I’ve been trying to tell people it works and people resist it. I marked your post “important” because it truly is. Thank you for sharing…you are officially deemed an INSPIRATION:)

      Zari xo

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