While custody agreements based around co-parenting can work in non-abusive relationships, co-parenting can be virtually impossible and unhealthy when dealing with an abusive narcissist. Co-parenting with your abuser can potentially create an environment where the abuse is allowed to continue, long after the breakup.
Family court tends to strongly encourage co-parenting, even in situations of abuse. This gives the narcissist the ability to practice inadvertent court-sanctioned abuse. Abusers use custody agreements and the law to exert control over the victimized parent, and sometimes even the children. Although co-parenting can be wonderful when working with a non-abusive parent, it only gives an abuser ways to further control and manipulate their victim.
In order to create the best environment possible for you and your children, consider parallel parenting. Keep reading to learn more about this parenting style so you and your children can learn to live and thrive, even in difficult situations such as these.
Keep Communication to a Minimum
Devise a detailed custody agreement outlining drop-off times, school schedules, holidays, child support, and extracurricular activities. This gives the abuser less opportunities to exercise control and power. If you have a restraining order against the abusive parent, most custody agreements will allow communication as long as it is centered solely around the children involved.
Be The Role Model
Becoming your child’s biggest advocate is one of the best steps you can take while learning to successfully parallel parent with an abusive ex. Children are very observant and naturally gravitate towards to the more stable parent. Focus on teaching your children emotional and social skills to put them on the right path to success. Remaining calm during stressful situations will help teach your children the right way of handling their emotions during times of conflict.
Put a Stop to Feelings of Guilt
One of the most difficult aspects of parallel parenting can be the feelings of guilt involved. The survivor parent may feel guilty and believe they are at fault for involving their children with an abusive parent. This pattern of thinking only reinforces the victim mentality which is un-beneficial for your children. Instead, remember that children grow up in all kinds of circumstances, some which are far worse. Different life obstacles and circumstances can also be beneficial to your child’s overall growth and help them grow into more aware, empathetic adults.
If you need specific legal advice you should reach out to a family law lawyer in your area. If you are in the New Orleans metro area consider using Bennett Wolff, a family law attorney in Metairie.