Parents in North Carolina who are divorced from a narcissistic ex-spouse might struggle when co-parenting. A narcissistic parent might use the same “gaslighting” techniques on the children that the ex-spouse remembers from the marriage. This can involve convincing children that their version of reality is incorrect.
This happened with one woman who received an email from her ex one night saying the children did not want to visit her because they were afraid of her. She dismissed it initially because she was so accustomed to these types of actions. However, her husband then told child protective services, the children’s school and his attorney that she was abusive. An investigation was launched, and the woman faced the possibility of losing access to her children after sharing time with the father 50/50 since their divorce.
After a week, police informed her at her children’s school that the allegations were unfounded. However, the three children were traumatized by the incident. Two missed school that week with stress-related illnesses, and all three suffered emotionally in the following weeks.
When dealing with a narcissistic co-parent, one can provide love and stability. The children will eventually understand if they have been lied to, but in the meantime, parents may want to consult professionals if necessary.
When deciding child custody matters, courts usually take the position that children benefit from being able to spend time with both parents. However, there are exceptions, such as if one parent is abusive or affects the child’s well-being in some other way. Unfortunately, it may be difficult for a parent to prove that the other parent is manipulative and harmful to the child. However, in circumstances where a parent can demonstrate substance abuse or other situations that place the child in danger, a judge may decide that the parent should have only supervised visitation until they complete a treatment program or other criteria are met.