Advice for raising children with a narcissist.
This is an extremely complicated and tricky issue, for those who have children with the narcissist as I do, I understand just how horrendous it can be.
The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum, so some will still see their children.
Some are far too dangerous. You need to gather as much photographic and video evidence as you can, keep a written diary while keeping yourself and your children safe, as you can never truly predict how far they will go. You need to make 100% sure you cover all tracks, and they can not get hold of this information.
If you’re leaving never tell the narcissist in person, get out safely and take the children with you, women’s aid can provide help with this.
If you are out and they still see the children. If the children are showing signs of anxiety or depression, even if they are the scapegoat child, they need help.
As hard as parenting is anyway, you can not tell them any white lies like you’ve run out of sweets because you don’t want them to have more, you have to be upfront and honest, about everything and explain your reasons for a no, so you have to think very carefully before you say no, as you have to stick to facts and reasons.
It’s extremely hard, in the beginning, but you have to become the most positive person you can around the children to teach them to learn the difference for themselves.
Never slate the other parent, no matter what the children are saying, or what the children are saying with regards to the lies the other parent had told them. You must stick with. Asking your children what they think, and just explain different opinions that people are entitled to, explain they are allowed opinions and minds of their own, yet teach them the values of respect, and also how they want to be treated and boundaries for themselves, For example. “If you don’t like what a friend says to you explain you will not be treated that way and to leave you alone if they do it again tell a grown-up.” Try to help the children learn how to sort for themselves first, (age depending.) yet if they can not, then step in. Let them know they must always tell you, so you can do all you can to help.
Teaching them, how to respect themselves and others, if they turn into the school bully, this will be because they’ve gone into fight mode, for all the mind games the narcissistic parent plays, let them know how they feel is normal, and they need to open up so you or someone else can help them.
You need to make sure more than other parents do, that the children understand empathy and can put themselves into others shoes. Ask them “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” Kids are smart and will have lots of answers, and only you truly know your child and how to handle it.
Again keeping a diary.
Limit contact with the other parent, if that’s once a year, once a month or once a week, only FaceTime or Skype, your children need a good few days in between speaking to them, to stay in the reality zone.
If the narcissist has walked out on them, it’s extremely tough. Still, you have to keep your standards high and lower your expectations of the narcissist. It is a blessing in disguise as hard as it feels; you have to understand the narcissist does not feel the love for the children that you do, and they lack in empathy to genuinely care.
If it’s a narc mum you’re dealing with, try to have the children as often as you can, never react to her, and do your utmost not to wind the narcissist up, it is extremely difficult to do, it will become easier, you need to say things like. “I’ll have the children so you can have a break.” You have to remember you’re doing it for the children, not her. You need to surround them with as much positivity and female role models as you can. You have to let the narcissist believe they are winning when in reality you are as you see the children more, therefore your children see you more.
If it’s a narcissist dad, try your best to let them pick the routine, so they believe they have full control, to make life easier for you and the children, surround the children with as many positive male role models as you can.
Keep all communication in writing, never show the narcissist any emotion. Also, make sure your reactions are kind even if you don’t feel like being kind, you are doing it for your children’s future, I know this is extremely hard to start out, it gets easier.
The narcissist will try swapping days, dropping early, dropping late anything they can to get a reaction out of you. Do not react to them, and narcissistic mums will go all out to remove you from the children’s lives if they haven’t abandoned the children with you, narcissistic dads will also try to gain custody, this is why it’s vital you keep a diary.
Let the kids join as many activities as you can afford, helps with making friendships, learning their own lives, let off steam, build character in what the children enjoy doing.
Teenagers are tricky at the best of times, do not give in if they are being unreasonable, but do not argue, let them know you are always there to support no matter what, and they are entitled to have their own mind.
Keep an extremely close eye on the children’s mental health, and If it gets to the point you can not counteract the narcissists games, you will have to go no contact, most will take you to court, why it’s vital you have all communication via email or messages and printed off.
Let the police know everything the narcissist does, restraining orders if needed.
The best advice by Sam Vaknin is no contact, only you know how your kids are coping and if you have to go no contact.
If the children come home after seeing the narcissist all over, let them, let it out, so it doesn’t stay within them, give them a time frame, then get an activity done, dancing, watching a movie, reading a book, anything to get their minds back on track.
If the narcissist has managed to take the children, use your free time to get on your feet and get those children back safely.
It hard but once you let go of your expectations of the narcissist, it becomes easier not to let the stunts annoy you and not to react instead you’ll be putting that time and energy into the children.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.