Some parents in Arizona may have to deal with coparenting with a narcissist after a divorce. One woman received an email from her narcissistic husband saying that the children were afraid of her and did not want to go to her house. The woman initially ignored it because it was typical of the type of behavior she had become accustomed to from her ex-husband. It also was not unusual for him to behave in this way just before a court action, and she had filed for the fifth time to get him to pay the support he owed.
However, this time, his behavior escalated. He informed her children's school, child protective services and others that she was abusive. The woman, who had shared custody with the father 50/50 since the divorce, faced the possibility of not being able to see her children again.
After a week, the police informed her that investigation had found no basis for the accusations. However, some damage to the three children had already been done. All of them suffered emotionally in the weeks ahead, and during the week of investigation, two of them missed school with stress-induced illnesses. When coparenting with a difficult ex, parents should try to present an example of stability for the children and might consider working with a professional.
Even when the other parent is not a narcissist, a parent may struggle with the idea of negotiating child custody and visitation. It can be more difficult than property division or other aspects of divorce because parents must face the possibility of time with their children split in half or less. However, most experts agree that it is in the child's best interest to spend time with both parents unless there are issues such as abuse. Parents should keep this in mind in custody negotiations or during litigation.