Attorney Gina DePrima hosts a popular radio program — called “Divorce with Heart and Conscious Co-Parenting with Gina Marie DePrima, Esq.” — Every Monday morning from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM ET. During her program, she talks about some of the biggest issues of divorce, family law disputes, and a variety of related topics. She recently hosted an episode titled “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist” to discuss what can be done to make your life easier if you are co-parenting with a partner or ex-spouse who is a textbook narcissist.
Becoming the Best “Grey Rock” You Can Be
As Attorney DePrima discussed in her radio program, the first method to manage a narcissist is to cut them out of your life as much as possible. If you share children together, this means you may have to fight for sole custody of your children. Being a narcissist does not necessarily make someone unfit to be a parent in the eyes of the law, however, so the odds of you getting sole custody and limiting your relationship with them are pretty slim. What do you do next?
If you must have a narcissist in your life, such as when you are in a co-parenting agreement with them after a divorce, your best option will probably be to become a “grey rock.” As she continued to explain in her radio show, the “grey rock method” means making yourself as interesting as a grey rock whenever you are around your narcissist in question. Narcissists are fueled by getting a rise out of others and holding their attention. If you do not react emotionally to their prompts and baits for interaction, and if you do not do anything to lure them to you, just as a grey rock would not, then they will probably begin to leave you alone more and more.
For example, if you are co-parenting with a narcissistic ex-spouse and you have to swap kids a few times a week, be ready to be a grey rock during that brief window of time you see each other. Do not begin conversations or engage too openly. Do not share any personal stories about what you did lately that could prod a response from them. Try to keep things as mundane as possible, like saying you did the dishes. They will call you boring, but you will know you are simply taking care of yourself by minimizing their damaging personality around you.
What Happens If You Don’t Go “Grey Rock”?
Unfortunately, people who allow a narcissist to toy with their emotions fall into some uncomfortable situations. They start to get chipped away by the narcissist’s persistent advances and pokes for attention. If you do not “grey rock” well enough when around your narcissistic ex-spouse, you might find yourself picking up bad habits to cope, like smoking, drinking, and overeating, Attorney DePrima warns in her radio program.
Acknowledge You & Your Ex Are Different – And That’s Good
You will find it easier to become a “grey rock” and deflect your narcissistic ex-spouse during co-parenting overlaps if you accept that the two of you are different. You are wired differently in most ways, which is probably why you divorced. Do not let the question as to why you are different drive you up the wall and make you want to interact with them again to find out why. Simply accept it and you can move on. With this method in mind and mastered, Attorney Gina DePrima explained further, you can unlock the third way to deal with a narcissist: coexisting.
To simply coexist is not exciting to you or the narcissist, and that is the safe way to play it. Just remember that your real focus should be your children and raising them right. If you can get along with your narcissistic ex in one way or another, the two of you should be able to co-parent effectively to some degree. You may even end up being the bigger of the two role models for your kids!
Would you like to know more about “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist”? Click here to visit Attorney DePrima’s online source for her radio program, which includes audio of full episodes. To retain her representation as a Buffalo family law attorney, you can fill out an online contact form at any time.