Coparenting after a divorce can be a difficult situation for anyone, but it can become even harder if you must co-parent with a narcissistic ex who tries to manipulate your child.
According to Psychology Today, children come biologically programmed to protect their attachments to their parents and caregivers. If you have a narcissistic co-parent, he or she may exploit the need your child has to remain connected to you and position you as the bad guy in the arrangement.
Commonly used manipulation strategies
One of the methods your co-parent may use to manipulate your child involves positioning himself or herself as the one who is not at fault for your divorce. For example, your former spouse might tell your child that he or she did not want the divorce or that he or she will never be able to cope with the situation.
Another strategy the other parent could use involves establishing emotional control over your child. For example, your ex may provide your child with excessive affection and love when the child does what your co-parent wants but then withdraw affection when your child does something that the parent does not like.
Ways to help your child
Instead of openly criticizing your narcissistic co-parent, provide empathy when your child talks about his or her feelings. Doing this as often as possible can make your child feel more inclined to request help from you in the future.
While you may feel like your former spouse has won over your child, do not give up. Continue to provide love and support for your child, empathizing with his or her emotions without attacking your co-parent.