Breaking away from a relationship with a narcissist is one of the most trying and painful things for every victim. The challenge is even harder when there are children involved. You are forever linked to the narcissist via your children.
If in this situation, you need to have yourself prepared for what's referred to as a high-conflict parenting situation. These are custody cases where one or both of the parents, are antagonistic. Getting your wound up, stressed out and reacting is the narcissist's way to continue their hold over you.
Every ounce of your being may want you to protect your children from this person's toxicity and influence, but that's your kid's father/mother, and you know what's best is to be able to co-parent in the best possible way. While recognizing this is what you want to do, you have to have yourself prepared; you need to able to keep calm, stay sane and mentally healthy. You need to stand strong in yourself for both yours and your children's sake. Below are some pointers that I hope you find useful.
Whatever it takes, you have to emotionally disengage from the put-downs, the attacks, lies, and manipulation that the narcissists fling your way. This isn't going to change anytime soon; you know the drill, so don't keep reacting to it. You know the truth, and them saying otherwise doesn't change it, so stop letting it upset you.
2. Beware of your triggers!
If you are constantly being triggered, then you can't disengage. Write out a list of ten things that your narcissist co-parent does that set you off every time. When you become aware of your triggers and what's sets you off on one, that's the first step in understanding your triggers. We all have triggers, but what annoys me, may not annoy others.
3. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Boundaries are essential, for we all know a narcissist has no boundaries, they consider their victims an extension to their world. Narcissists can live and thrive off their ability to get you wound up. Your reaction is then turned on you, and you get portrayed as crazy or unstable. Don't give them that kind of ammunition, take back your power. Try communicating via email as opposed to over the phone. this gives you a chance to breathe, calm yourself and take your time in thinking about how you respond, and it also establishes a paper trail.
Stick to only discussing facts with your ex. Leave your emotions out of any talks as much as possible. Narcissists feed off your emotions. Do not feed them.
4. Make a strict schedule for and stick to it.
The second you split with your narcissists is the exact time you should strictly agree on visiting times. If you want to maintain a peaceful life you have to stick to this. It happens right across the board, a narcissist will try to continue to disrupt your plans by not picking the kids up when planned, changing plans last minute, or asking to seem outside of schedule because it suits them. You have to stand firm and not allow this to happen, because once you do you are giving them yet another chance to control you and your time.
5. Do not let your child/children become pawns.
You can only control your side of things, so make sure you keep it clean. Don't use your child to pass on messages to the other. Don't vent to your kids about the other parent. At the end of the day, your kids will always love their parents, so don't knock them. If you find your narcissist ex uses your kids to pass on messages, let it stop with you, don't use your child to reply to that message. Let your ex communicate in the way you had agreed in the above tip, communicate by email.
6. Educate your children about abuse.
No, I don't mean start bashing your ex to the kids, and pointing out all his/her abusive habits. When in your exes care they can be exposed to toxic behavior, a thought you may not want to entertain, but your children can become victims of your exes narcissistic abuse. So it's vital that they are taught to recognize different types of abuse. Don't use your relationship with their parent as your example, or what they did to you. Give them some examples that are age appropriate, examples of verbal, emotional and physical abuse that their young minds would recognize.