How to Talk to & Co-parent with a Narcissist if You Absolutely HAVE to

Updated: Oct 5

So we know what Narcissist traits in a partner can look like (click here). We’ve mapped out the experiences you may have come across when a Narcissistic partner is triggered (take cover!) (click here). Last but not least, we want to go over some possible game plans if you can’t avoid interacting with an ex-partner, current family member, etc. who is a Narcissist.


  • Keep it short and sweet. Get in. Convey only what you need to convey. Get out. Keep your boundaries TIGHT. Only communicate what’s absolutely necessary, acknowledge when acknowledgment is due, and leave everything else -your pent up feelings of anger or details on your big work event next week, out of the convo. Less is more.



Photo Cred: Jelleke Vanooteghemfor via Unsplash.


  • Co-Parenting Communication with your ex-Narcissist Only use Talking Parents / Family Wizard apps to communicate with your ex about your babies. Only say what needs to be said for them to adequately parent their child(ren). They will probably try to bait you using the kids as an excuse. Hold firm. In many situations, its best to not do child exchanges at your home (remember, the less access they have to you, the better). Communicate with one another as little as possible during exchanges. Remember, only communicate in writing, and only on the apps. When you notice you have a new message on the app, you might notice your anxiety rise. Take some deep breaths or use some affirmations, before you open it. Then respond in your own time after the anxiety has abated. You're on your clock, not theirs. When your child is with their other parent, your job is to take care of yourself. Fill your time doing something positive for yourself.



  • Reality Test. When you feel like you’re getting sucked into the Narcissist toxic view of you, a situation, the world - take a break and check in with reality. For example, the Narcissist in your life says you’re a selfish person for not doing something they want you to do (and it's a ridiculous not-your-problem request) reality test yourself! Think about experiences you have with other valued people in your life, do they give you feedback that you’re selfish? Do you spend your time figuring out how to manipulate and control others? Think about the toxic statement made by the Narcissist, does that feel congruent with how you view yourself? We’re going to guess NO. So when in doubt, reality test.


  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself. Continued long-term interaction with a Narcissist calls for a long-term strategy. Take breaks often. Interact for short periods of time and listen to your brain and body when it tells you, “Enough is enough!”. Have a varied support system (friends, therapist, fur babies, support group) and a physical way to get out all the flippin frustration this person most likely causes you (boxing, goat yoga, pilates, running, gaming).


Photo Cred: Justin Jason via Unsplash


Before you go out into the world young Jedi, remember this…


The Narcissist’s interactions with you all center around keeping some semblance of control in your life. If they’re giving you something, its because they want something. If they are interacting with you, they’re trying to get control. The approach you use in how you interact has to focus on educating yourself on their go-to moves (see previous blog posts here and here) and limiting their access to your life as much as possible. Focus on where you have control, take a breath, and let go of the areas that are out of your jurisdiction.


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