If you ever have to go down the road of Divorce and there are kids involved you will hear the term Co-Parenting. If you have a great relationship with your X Co-parenting is totally possible and can be immensely helpful for your children. It is a way for you and your x to present a united front and make the transition to divorced life as easy as possible for your children.
But sadly this route is not for everyone, not everyone has the maturity level to cooperate with their x-spouse. Or there may just be too much animosity, too many bad feelings to be able to effectively co-parent. Over time though as those wounds heal you may find yourself in a place where you are able to co-parent with your x. Everyone takes different journeys when navigating the waters of divorce/separation, especially when children are involved.
And then there are those of us in my situation, where that shining example of parenting during divorce, also known as Co-Parenting seems to be a distant dream never to be achieved. We are stuck in this situation because my x is a narcissist. As much as I would love to say it doesn’t matter, we can work past it, or try to convince myself that I can find a way to make co-parenting work with him. It is an impossible dream, like the dream you have when you’re a child of one day finding a magical unicorn. You convince yourself when your little that this unicorn does exist and fill your days with unicorn hunting and lots of adventures. But at the end of the day the unicorn does not exist and stays forever out of your grasp.
Co-parenting for me may very well be forever out of my grasp, all attempts at communication are either met with hostility in one form or another. Either I am wrong, I am making it up, I don’t have my child’s interests in mind, I’m just being a B****, whatever reasoning he comes up with. Anything I say or suggest is wrong and whatever he decides from this is obviously better. If I try to arrange extra time with him and his son it can never just get taken for what it is, an attempt to allow my son to get more time with his father. Instead it becomes a headache of nit picking, the pick up and drop off times, trying to get overnights and anything else he can. There is never any compromise, only giving my x exactly what he wants or he throws a fit. Trying to bully and hurt me as much as possible, anything he can do toget his way.
I have learned through much wasted time and effort that my concerns will always fall on deaf ears. That anything I may feel is best for our son is never right and that everything is my fault. Everything needs to be my x’s way or no one is allowed to be happy. When you deal with a narcissistic person they always believe nothing is their fault, they can do no wrong and cannot see outside of their own wants and need to the wants and needs of those around them.
They can love but you find that they only love the way certain people and relationships make them feel, not the person themselves. And as long as that person conforms to fit into the narcissists world of wants and needs everything goes smoothly, but if anything you need or desire deviates from their’s, smooth is not something that exists. Co-parenting requires communication and compromise, a joining of two people belief systems and ideals, in order to create a harmonious plan both parents follow to have a cohesive environment in both households the child lives in. So if you can imagine attempting to create this plan with a narcissist, you have an idea as to why the words co-parenting and narcissist are not terms that work well together.
It has taken many many attempts at holding conversations, trying to reason and discuss topics with a narcissist for me to realize it is a pointless exercise. Once you realize you are simply wasting your breath and time you will live a simpler and less stressful life. You have to be able to accept there is no amount of reasoning or discussions that will bring a narcissist around to considering your way of thinking unless they want to. Once your able to accept this you can start exploring different paths, one I strongly recommend when all attempts at co-parenting leave you frustrated and with fruitless encounters is parallel parenting. Kids are resilient and can adjust to many different things, in parallel parenting both parents have their own set of rules, etc. in their houses and as long as both parents are consistent children can do just fine with this form of parenting.
As much as I wanted co-parenting to work and I wanted to be able to work with my son’s father for the benefit of my little man. I also knew that the toxic relationship between the two of us was not something that was going to go away. I realized my son was just going to wind up seeing his fathers continued attempts to bully and belittle me if I didn’t put a stop to it. I left for these same reasons and since me leaving was not enough of a wakeup call that I was no longer to put up with his behavior. You get to a point were you have to accept this style of parenting relationship is not going to work and you have a to find another way.