Advice for co-parenting with a narcissistic parent after divorce

Wendy Behary, LCSW Psychotherapist and Author, shares advice for parents on the best methods for co-parenting with a narcissistic ex following a divorce
Co-Parenting With A Narcissist After Divorce
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Advice for co-parenting with a narcissistic parent after divorce

Co-parenting is a really hard job, and when you are co-parenting with a narcissist it just ups the ante. And then living separately from that narcissist, either by way of separation or divorce, and sharing the responsibility for caring for this child becomes an even greater challenge, because you are not there to supervise. You are not there to step in. You are not there to do the quick fix. When the child needs something repaired emotionally because the narcissistic parent has said something absolutely hurtful or critical or too demanding for the child. So there is a lot of repair work that has to happen. And the burden really does fall on the non-narcissistic parent to be sure to be issuing messages that will counteract the effects of the narcissistic parent - those that might be too harsh, too critical, those that forget to notice the loveliness of the child just being who they are, that forget about their own innate wonderfulness and specialness. And so the non-narcissistic parent has to carry that load of making sure that the language is tailored to try to overcome and accommodate what is happening with the narcissistic parent. One of the privileges of living apart from the narcissistic partner is that you have a little bit more of leverage and more room - permission actually - to help your child to appreciate that: 'you know, I think your dad loves you very much. I don't think he means to do what he does. But it's not OK, and it really is his problem or your mom's problem. It is her problem. It's not about you. I know that's hard because your dad means so much to you and everything he says really matter. And I just want you to know that it's not always truth what comes out. It comes from some of his own struggles'. That's an important message to give the child, to free them from developing a sense of inadequacy or unloveability.
ALL PARENTS, Divorce, Co-Parenting

Wendy Behary, LCSW Psychotherapist and Author, shares advice for parents on the best methods for co-parenting with a narcissistic ex following a divorce


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Wendy T. Behary, LCSW

Psychotherapist & Author

With 25 years post-graduate training and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The New Jersey Institute for Schema Therapy. She has been treating clients, training professionals and supervising psychotherapists for more than 20 years. Wendy is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York, where she has trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a founding fellow of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Dr. Aaron T. Beck). Wendy is also the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST).

Wendy Behary has co-authored several chapters and articles on schema therapy and cognitive therapy. She is the author of the New Harbinger Publication (1st and upcoming 2nd edition) Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed. Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and an expert on the subject of narcissism, she is a contributing chapter author of several chapters on schema therapy for narcissism. She lectures both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on schema therapy, and the subject of narcissism, relationships, and dealing with difficult people. Her work with industry has included speaking engagements focused on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems. She is also an expert in coaching individuals in interviewing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills enhancement.

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