“Co” anything with a narcissist is kind of a misnomer. Especially if you’re no longer in a relationship with a narcissist – collaborating, cooperating- anything that requires the narcissist working with another person is going to seem impossible. Co-Parenting is no different. If you are no longer in a relationship with the narcissist, the only form of narcissistic supply that they can get from you is by making your life miserable, and driving you crazy. Especially because narcissists hate the holidays because it takes attention away from them in general, they will use the holiday season as the perfect opportunity to get your attention and then, therefore, get narcissistic supply from you. If you have to deal with coparenting with a narcissist during the holiday season, make sure you do these things to make your holiday season as peaceful as possible.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure you have a very specific parenting plan drawn up. Make sure that there are no gray areas. You are going to want to include specific times, dates, and places for pick up/drop off – every single detail needs to be included if you are dealing with a narcissist during the holidays. Make sure there’s no ambiguity and that every single thing you can think of is outlined in the parenting plan very clearly. You might even want to include an agreement around gift giving. How much are you going to spend on gifts for your children? Are you going to split a gift? Are you going to each buy your own? Include the type of communication that can happen during the holidays as well. Include specific times for phone calls. The more specific you can be in the parenting plan, the better it’s going to be for you and for your children. Narcissists will try to find any loophole and some may even just outright ignore any agreement that was made. Prepare for this by having a parenting plan with no loopholes that could be referred back to if anything goes awry.
The next thing that you need to do, when co-parenting with a narcissist during the holidays, is set very strong and clear boundaries. Once you have the specific parenting plan in place, you need to stick to it. Don’t let them manipulate you into being okay with last minute changes or allow them to worm their way into your holiday plans. If they see that there’s a possible way to disrupt your holiday- they will attempt it. Because your parenting plan is going to be incredibly specific, you’re going to need to make sure you set very clear boundaries with each specificity. If they see that they can manipulate one aspect of the parenting plan, they will try to do it with every aspect. The more you can stick to the boundaries set in place via the parenting plan, the more peaceful it will be for your children. As difficult as it might be, try to keep your children’s need for a lovely holiday a priority over the chaos that can occur as a result of the narcissistic ex you’re dealing with.
If you are entering the holiday season without all of your ducks in a row, you should definitely approach your lawyer and have a parenting plan written up – even if it’s on a temporary basis. Having something written out and signed by both parties and rendered into a court order will be a great way to ensure that the narcissist you’re having to coparent with follows through. If they don’t, they can be held in contempt and further consequences can arise as opposed to them violating a contract. Although this isn’t a fail-safe method of preventing the narcissist from ruining the holidays, it can certainly help decrease the chances of them trying to do anything. To even further disincentivize them to violate the parenting plan, you may want to include a default provision in the court order that states that whoever violates the agreement has to pay the non-defaulting parties fees. These are the best ways to prepare for a hopefully peaceful holiday season with your children and your narcissistic ex.