When you’re co-parenting with a narcissist, you want to be super careful to protect your peace and set yourself up to have the best holidays you can have. Right?
You don’t want to let anyone steal the joy of the season.
The holiday season is generally a time of good cheer and good vibes, even in hard times. We create a warm home and we have warm feelings surrounding this time of year.
It’s important to recognize that there is a spirit of generosity that everyone tends to feel and routines tend to be more relaxed.
The narcissist knows this.
He sees this as an opportunity to push through boundaries and weasel his way into your plans to ruin whatever he can.
It’s an opportunity for him to make things about him and his needs, play the victim, and to press you to see if you’ll give an inch.
Then he will take a mile.
Case in point: The ex was supposed to - by court order - bring our daughter to my house at noon on Christmas Day. He called and said they were at his mom’s house and asked if he could have an extra hour. And in my spirit of generosity and my desire for my kid to enjoy Christmas, I said yes.
Three-Hours-Later he was not there. I was seething! I was mad at him but I was mostly mad at myself. That stole my joy. I just gave it away!
We would love to co-parent like regular people. But we wind up in situations where we have to choose between the truth that we can’t give him an inch or he’ll take a mile and the fact that we want to do what’s good for the kids.
First, if you have a court order or some agreement in writing, I’m encouraging you to follow it to the letter.
Get to know it inside and out. If there are gray areas, take it to your lawyer to clarify. Be consistent. You might think this is difficult to do especially if the kids are asking to spend extra time here and there. You might feel like the bad guy if you say no. I understand.
But let your kids know that the judge is the one who made the rules in the order and you’re just following the rules. Then it’s not really Mom who’s saying no, it’s the judge’s rules. This isn’t a cure all, but it sure does help. It takes you out of the middle.
Second, ask yourself why you’ve gone off the schedule or deviated from the court order before, especially around holidays and school breaks.
There could be valid reasons that have to do with schedules. But maybe there are reasons that are deeper than that. Like you really desire to have that healthy co-parenting relationship. You keep trying and trying. But you’re trying to have a healthy relationship with someone who is literally countering everything you’re trying.
Dig deep and ask yourself when the ex suggests changes, why do you bend?
I used to feel sorry for the ex because he played the victim card very well. Then I took a good look at him and realized he’s an alcoholic, he has no friends, he’s pushed his family away, he’s all alone. But he did that to himself.
You have to get to that place where you realize he’s made his own choices.
The last thing I want you to ask yourself is do you believe he will ever follow the court order consistently?
Anyone can do a nice thing once in a while, but this is more about consistency.
You have to be the consistent one because he never will.
Asking yourself these questions will help you get to the root of things instead of hoping things will change and he’ll do the right thing. Then crap happens and you’re mad at yourself during Christmas and your joy is stolen. You and your kids deserve better than that!
Click here to grab the Narc-Proof Your Holidays e-book if you’d like some practical help with co-parenting with a narcissist during the holidays. It’s packed with tips - including two pages of canned responses to help you say no - to set up your holidays for joy and peace so that you’re in control, not him.
God made you for this!
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