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Is a former narcissistic spouse causing child custody problems?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2021 | Child Custody |

Parents who have decided to divorce know that this serious decision will have an effect on their children. Like many parents in Virginia who have made like decisions, there is the desire to settle child custody issues amicably and as quickly as possible. Family court judges typically believe children have the best chance of thriving after divorce when they maintain healthy, positive relationships with both parents. Individuals who feel frustrated or angry because their former spouses are causing stress and problems with the relationships they have with their children aren’t alone. When a co-parent is a narcissist, he or she can impede parent-child relationships of the other parent. 

Some signs of parental narcissism 

Just because a divorced couple fails to get along after the marriage has ended, doesn’t mean one former spouse is a narcissist. This list includes some issues that are often present when a co-parent is a narcissist: 

  • Blames the other spouse for the divorce 
  • Does not have a strong attachment emotionally to the children 
  • Often changes plans at the last minute 
  • Calls the other parent a bad parent 
  • Does not show up for scheduled child custody transfers 
  • Speaks negatively about the other parent in front of the children 
  • Refuses to be accountable for problems her or she causes 

Children who are always exposed to parental conflict may have a more difficult time adjusting to their new lives — especially if one parent is constantly being disparaging about the other.  

What to do about a narcissistic co-parent 

The children’s health and safety are always the top priority. Making sure a former narcissistic spouse adheres to child custody orders is crucial when protecting children. It is always best to avoid parental conflict in front of the children, but that might not be possible in these cases in which case corresponding through email and text might be best. If a parent in Virginia disregards an existing court order, such as being a no show for a custody transfer at an appointed time or refuses to let the children speak to the other parent, court intervention may help to resolve the problems.