Things To Do If Your Co-Parent Is A Narcissist

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Understanding what a narcissist is, recognizing the signs that your co-parent is a narcissist, dealing with the emotions that come with having a narcissist co-parent, managing communication with a narcissist co-parent, setting boundaries with a narcissist co-parent, and seeking support from others who have gone through similar experiences are all important things to do for parallel parenting with a narcissist.

Signs That Your Co-Parent Is A Narcissist

There are many signs that your co-parent might be a narcissist. Some common ones include:

  • They are always the center of attention and need constant validation from others.
  • They have an inflated sense of self-importance and think they are better than others.
  • They take advantage of others and expect special treatment.
  • They lack empathy for others and often belittle or criticize them.
  • They are extremely sensitive to any criticism directed at them and react negatively or defensively.

If you’re not sure if your co-parent meets the criteria for NPD, consider talking to a mental health professional who can provide more clarity.

Dealing With The Emotions That Come With Having A Narcissist Co-Parent

It can be difficult to deal with the emotions that come with having a narcissistic co-parent. You might feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them, constantly worried about saying or doing something that will set them off.

You might feel like you’re not being heard or valued. It’s important to find healthy ways to cope with these feelings, such as talking to a therapist or joining a support group for people in similar situations.

Managing Communication With A Narcissistic Co-Parent

Because communication with a narcissistic co-parent can be so difficult, it’s important to set parameters ahead of time about what is and isn’t acceptable.

  • For Example, you might agree to only communicate via text or email so that there’s less opportunity for miscommunication or conflict.
  • If you do need to talk in person, consider meeting in neutral territory, such as at the child’s school instead of at your home where they might feel more comfortable making demands.
  • And always try to stay calm and focused on what’s best for your child during conversations—don’t let the narcissistic behavior of your co-parent derail you from your parenting goals.

Setting Boundaries With A Narcissistic Co-Parent

It’s also important to set boundaries with a narcissistic co-parent. This might mean setting limits on how many contacts you have with them or setting rules about what topics are off-limits during the conversation (such as criticizing each other in front of the children).

If you don’t set boundaries, it can be easy for the narcissist to take advantage of you or push your buttons until you react emotionally—which is exactly what they want. Remember that you have control over how much access they have to you and your life—so exercise that control by setting firm boundaries as needed.


If your co-parent is a narcissist, it’s important to understand what that means and how it can affect both you and your children. Remember that you are not alone—and there are resources available to help you navigate this challenging situation.

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