How to Do No Contact When You Share Kids
Excerpt from How to Do No Contact Like a Boss!
Freshly updated July 2018
Co-parenting with a Narcissist.
Is there really such a thing?
Not really. There’s “parallel parenting”, which is more like sending your child off into another dimension while you are forced to let go of questionable goings-on over there. You die a little inside as you surrender the urge to influence when your child goes to bed, brushes their teeth, and what they see on TV.
You lament the ex’s attempts at last-minute changes in schedule and spontaneous cancellations. Even worse, the fact that on the narcissist’s end, your child may be handed over to babysitters and blasé family members while the narcissist continues his or her agenda of living free from parental responsibilities.
In other cases, the ex continues their oppressive tactics of calling and texting at all hours, showing up unannounced to your residence, and forcing themselves onto your property and into your home as if they are still very much a part of your life. Perhaps you stand meekly aside (uttering a feeble, half-hearted protest) while they bull their way into your child’s room, rip their report card off the dresser, and blame your child’s “C” on your “below-standard parenting practices”.
Implementing No Contact when you share kids may seem difficult, but it is definitely possible.
Full disclaimer, though, it will entail acting in ways you wouldn’t even consider under normal circumstances. Not only towards the ex, but also in developing a forced coolness when it comes to your child.
First and foremost, you MUST accept that being civil and mature is not part of the narcissist’s makeup. Therefore, do not settle into a false sense of security when the narcissist assures you they will come through for the kids or be honest with you going forward.
When you are deceived by their tricks and ulterior motives, they see it as an invitation to keep taking advantage of you…and to continue their tyranny and dictatorship over your life.
How to Do No Contact When You Share Kids
It’s time to overthrow their oppressive regime and take your life back into your hands. Following are some basic steps to stop the madness and start experiencing a sense of stability. It’s called ‘Extreme Modified Contact’ and here’s a snapshot of what it looks like in real life:
1 – Don’t Let Your Cell Phone Be Your Downfall
Does it seem no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be free from the narcissist’s nefarious games?
If you suffer from out-of-the-blue, or semi-automatic text messages from the narcissist that catch you off guard (or cause anxiety, never knowing when you’ll be attacked), the only way to squash these despicable games is to change your cell phone number and refuse to give it to your ex.
In most states, you are only required to have one outlet of communication for the other parent to contact you regarding your children. This could include land-line, email, or even better, a court-appointed email system.
Having the ex contact you by email is especially nice since most everyone has their email set up to go to their phone, anyway. This way, you can read the email and decide whether you need to respond right away. It also cuts down on ambushes because emailing takes more effort.
Texting, SMS, and messaging platforms are very easy venues for the Narcissist to attack at will. Cut out that option for them.
Not only will it decrease the number of stealth attacks, you will have some nice email documentation to present to the court if you ever have to file a harassment order or simply want to demonstrate his or her instability.
Under no circumstances should you agree to put into your custody agreement that they can contact you through your cell phone at their whim, regardless of whether they’re a doctor who’s always on call, a nomadic salesman who’s constantly overseas, or a trapeze artist in a traveling circus.
If you are truly serious about your freedom, don’t allow them to contact you through your cell phone.
Even if you use it for work, have had your number for years, are on someone else’s plan, don’t want to “show them they’re winning”, or because they’ll throw a fit.
Yes, they’ll throw a fit. This is the main tool they use to control and dominate you.
Leaving them with access to contact you through your cell phone is the number one, sure-fire way to ensure you will never be free from their toxic influence. Of course, once you’ve implemented this new boundary, you’ll want to make sure you don’t call them on their cell phone either, especially if there is a restraining order on file.
2 – You don’t have to answer the phone every time they call
Let’s assume you’ve taken care of step one.
What should you do if they call your house phone numerous times a day?
Easy. Let it go to voicemail and then determine if you need to respond.
Better yet, make sure you outline in your custody agreement exactly what days and times they can call your home to check on the kids.
When the narcissist calls, it’s usually to blame and shame you for some fabricated sin. This is done in order to look like a concerned parent in front of a new partner or even in front of your kid(s).
Never mind that they haven’t paid child support for seven months and canceled the kids from their insurance (no one knows about that except you).
Why participate in that? If you do engage in conversation, hang up the moment the focus deviates from the kids or the ex turns abusive. You can offer a warning the first few times, but simply hang up after that. No explanation needed.
3 – Set a date for when they’ll no longer be allowed inside your residence
Your home is supposed to be a place where you feel safe; your haven; your sanctuary from the world. For this reason, if you’ve been letting the ex come inside your home, you’ll want to set a date for when this will stop.
You have the right to insist that they no longer enter your residence.
Notify them that you’ve made this decision – and don’t fall for the “let’s be civil for the kids’ sake” morality-laced spew. All narcissists say this, and the one in your life is no different.
If they attempt to disrespect your request, inform them you will notify the authorities. Then follow through, if necessary.
This is not only necessary to implement a new way of life for you, but also to eliminate under-handed schemes often employed by tricky narcissists. These tactics may include planting spyware on your computer and in your home, stealing heirlooms and other valuables (including cash), raiding your home in search of evidence of a new partner, or simply a ploy to keep you feeling off-balance and subjugated.
Trust that they’re a jerk. You’re not doing anyone any favors by letting the narcissist inside your home – except for the narcissist.
4 – Don’t feel that you have to go along with their requests for schedule changes.
Does your ex often make last-minute plans that don’t involve the kids – during their time with them – and want you to jump in and smooth things over?
That’s not up to you.
As painful as it might be in regards to your children, don’t allow your ex to get comfortable with this destructive habit. If you agree to it once, it will become a part of your long-term arrangement. It not only upsets your kids’ routines, it opens the door for your ex to continue taking advantage of you.
If you do make any exceptions, they should only be in the event of their confirmed illness or injury. Are they claiming they’ve broken a toe-bone? Been diagnosed with a crippling disease? Request documentation from the hospital.
Your ex needs to make their personal plans during the times your kids are with you. Not the other way around. If you cave each time this happens, it makes it more difficult for you to have a case in the event you want to file for a modification of custody later. Don’t set yourself up for that.
In fact, if this happens on a regular basis, make sure you document everything and present it to your attorney. You may have grounds to file for a custody modification.
5 – Summon the Law of Attraction when it comes to your kids.
It’s easy to fall into insanity and obsession wondering what’s happening while your kids are with the ex. Create a vision board and place index cards on it with quotes such as: “________” (insert child’s name) is always safe and healthy; “_________” knows I’m a wonderful parent; “_______” is always happy. Whatever is applicable and relieves your anxiety.
In spite of your worry, try to visualize your kids being nurtured and loved. Place happy pictures of them on or near your vision board. Place their well-being into the hands of God/Source/Divine Intelligence and be the best parent you can be when they are with you. Embrace what you can control and let go of that which you can’t.
If you suspect any kind of abuse, start documenting and contact social services if you feel it’s necessary.
It’s important to remember that what often feels obligatory is simply your conscientiousness firing. You want to be fair, do unto others what you’d have done unto you and all of that.
Except, it doesn’t work with narcissists.
Nothing changes if nothing changes
It’s hard to break old habits. Especially ones that form inside toxic environments because trauma bonds must be broken in order to move forward.
You cannot rely on the narcissist to finally leave you alone. This is something you must enforce on your own.
You must implement a different set of rules with them and not feel guilty about it. Remember, you wouldn’t be forced to do all of these things if not for who they are. Stand up for yourself and your right to a calm environment inside your own home.