Co-Parenting With a Narcissist – Learn How to Deal

Co-parenting

Many people don’t hear the word narcissist to describe their partner until well after the relationship has ended, but once they start learning more about this type of personality disorder, a lot of what happened with the relationship, the breakup and the attempts at co-parenting after starts to make sense.

The Mayo Clinic defines a narcissist as someone who has “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” Learn more about this type of behavior and some tips on how to deal with a co-parent who is a narcissist.

4 Signs You May Be Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

How do you recognize a narcissist? The general traits are lack of empathy, a disregard for other people’s feelings and an extreme need for approval and attention from others. But what does this look like when it comes to the co-parenting relationship? Here are just a few of the common signs of a narcissist co-parent.

1. The Blame Is Always on You

Narcissists often live in a world where they can do nothing wrong and any issue is always the other person’s fault. In co-parenting situations, this can manifest in a variety of ways, but one of the most common is surrounding scheduling issues. For example, they cancelled a weekend with no notice, but they send you a message saying that you just make it too hard for them to see the kids. Or they miss a recital and blame you for not telling them about it even though the information was readily available to them.

2. They Lie

Narcissists are not known for their honesty, and they often lie with little regard to the consequences it has for other people. A narcissistic parent might say they are on their way to pick up the children only to inform you an hour later that they aren’t coming at all, or they might promise the kids a big birthday party only to go away on a solo trip that weekend.

3. They Seem to Enjoy the Conflict

Co-parenting has its conflicts no matter how good the overall relationship is, but narcissists often create conflict where there isn’t any and actually enjoy the attention and focus that comes from that conflict. For example, maybe the other parent has asked to switch you weekends and you’ve agreed. The narcissist parent may then try to create drama by saying something like, “I don’t know why you don’t want me to see the kids.” This creates confusion for the healthy parent because they have given the other parent what they want but is being accused of something that’s not happening. These tactics are often referred to as gaslighting.

4. They Use the Children Against You

One of the most common characteristics of a narcissistic parent is that they use the children as weapons against the other parent. They might insist on using the children to communicate messages that should be sent directly from parent to parent even after being asked not to, or they may threaten to treat the children badly or disappoint them as a way to punish the healthy parent for establishing boundaries.

For example, the narcissist is texting you several times a day, telling you what a bad parent you are or how you aren’t doing a good job. You decide to start ignoring the messages and not responding. The narcissist might escalate their behavior by refusing to come get the children for their weekend because you wouldn’t “communicate” even though answering those texts had nothing to do with the visit. In this case, the narcissist is trying to make you feel bad or guilty for not doing what they wanted you to do because now the children will be disappointed that they are missing their visit.

Another common tactic with this is to speak negatively about the healthy parent to the children. Narcissist parents might tell their children how sorry they are that the other parent isn’t a good parent or tell them that the other parent lies, does drugs or any manner of other things that aren’t true but are designed to make the child question the healthy parent.

Strategies for Parallel Parenting

We talk a lot about co-parenting at 2Houses, but there are times where it’s just not possible. A situation where one parent is a narcissist, or is exhibiting narcissistic behavior, is one of those times. Co-parenting requires both parents to be actively putting the children’s needs and interests above their own and to be mature enough to be able to have a cooperative, civil relationship with the other parent. With narcissists, this usually is not the case.

So, what can you do to improve the parenting situation when you are dealing with a narcissist? One of the best strategies to use is called parallel parenting. Basically, it’s taking an approach that — as much as possible — what happens at their house is their business and what happens at your house is yours. Here, we provide some tips for making parallel parenting work.

1. Practice Gray Rock

If you haven’t heard of gray rock before, it probably sounds a little weird. But it comes from the premise that narcissists need fuel from the other parent in the form of emotion. Narcissists actively try to get you emotional so that you will be upset, be angry or lash out. Now, think about a gray rock you might see in your yard or at the park. It’s not very interesting, right? All one color, nothing remarkable about it. This is your goal when dealing with narcissists — to become like a gray rock.

This isn’t as easy as it first seems because, again, a narcissist’s main goal is to get you upset, and they are usually very good at it. Couple that with the fact that this person has been in a very close relationship with you for probably a substantial amount of time, and they know just what to do to get that reaction from you.

When you’re trying to gray rock, focus on being as unemotional as possible and responding with facts. Try to stay out of arguments, responding only when there are direct questions relevant to the children that you must answer. The less you can communicate with a narcissist the better.

2. Set Yourself Up for as Little Contact as Possible

Even parallel parenting requires a certain amount of coordination with the other parent, but again, the less contact you have with the narcissist the better. This is where the 2Houses co-parenting app becomes a very useful tool. It allows you to put all of the information, such as important dates, sports schedules, reimbursement requests and even scheduling issues all on the app, removing the direct contact between you and the other parent.

By doing this, the other parent doesn’t need to ask you for things like Social Security numbers or insurance information — those things will already be in the information bank that they can access with you. If the other parent does send messages about this type of information, you can reply with a simple, “It’s in the information bank on the app” — a very gray rock response.

In extreme cases, you may also need to limit contact to only the app and refuse to communicate through phone calls, texts or emails. Some family court judges even mandate this type of in-app communication in high-conflict cases now because there is an instant and easily accessible record of when messages were sent, when they were read and what was in them.

3. Have a Conversation With Your Children

Whether you suspect the other parent is a narcissist or you know they have been diagnosed as such, it’s important not to tell your children this or otherwise speak negatively about the other parent. However, it is a good idea to explain to them matter of factly and without emotion how you are going to handle things.

For example, maybe your children complain at your house that they have a bedtime while at the other parent’s house, they are allowed to stay up as late as they want. You can just explain that “there are different rules for different houses” or simply state that you can’t do anything about what happens over there so you are just going to focus on how things are in your own home.

Children are quick to figure out many of the narcissist’s manipulation tactics including gaslighting, speaking negatively about the healthy parent, pitting siblings against each other or using the children as pawns to get to the other parent. The best thing you can do is model healthy behavior, refuse to engage with the narcissist and let your children know that you are there for whatever they need.

For more information on what makes 2Houses special and how it can help you co-parent with a narcissist, check out our features explanation and contact us today.

Why do you feel depressed after a separation?

2houses - web & mobile app for divorce with kids - why do you feel depressed after divorce

You are divorced and you feel sad, frighten and lost?

Divorce and depression unfortunately are going hand to hand.

With an increasing number of couples getting divorced each year, depression is becoming more and more common and is considered as one of the most traumatic and stressful experience in a person’s life, and for some men and women, none is more stressful than a divorce.

At the end of your relationship, you are faced with difficult changes in your life, and it is normal to feel sad and even miserable.

You may feel as if you’ll never love anyone the way that you loved your husband and wife…

The sense of loss can be comparable to the pain of losing a loved one. In fact, it is the death of your marriage.

But sometimes these feelings can progress to something more serious: depression.

The effects of depression after a divorce are very varied.

You can be so destabilizing that you feels with no energy and no desire to do anything…

Hopelessness, anxiety and inappropriate guilt can lead to a loss of interest in formerly interesting things.
Changes in sleep patterns with tiredness, loss or increase of appetite, weight loss or gain, irritable, crying, lack of energy and sometimes thoughts of death are the main characteristics of depression after being divorced.

Divorce can be tough, but there are things you can do to help yourself start to feel better!

Transformations will not happen overnight, so be patient with yourself and above all realize that it is possible to move on with your life!!

Whether you are feeling low or have been diagnosed with symptoms of depression, these tips can help you!

Read more on Psychcentral.com

Rebuilding After a Breakup: Tips for Moving Forward

Rebuilding after breakup : tips for moving forward

No matter the circumstances, breakups are never easy. A divorce can bring about a grieving process very similar to what happens when you lose a loved one and is a very real, very intense emotional event. While there’s no magic cure that can make you instantly feel better. Here are five tips to help you acknowledge what’s happened and move forward.

Take Ownership of Your Part

No breakup is 100 percent one party’s fault, and to really move forward, it’s important to recognize that some of the decision making and issues were yours. Even if your ex really was 99 percent of the problem, taking ownership of your 1 percent can help you feel a larger sense of control in a sometimes chaotic situation and keep you from repeating the same mistakes when you’re ready for a new relationship. It will also help you be able to communicate positively with your ex as you continue to coparent together especially when combined with an app like 2houses.

Gather a Support System

A breakup means losing part of your identity that was wrapped in being someone’s partner. It can be difficult at first as you start to reclaim your life. This is where your support system comes in. Ideally, you want a few friends who can help you to get out of the house and reenter the social circles you may have neglected when you were in a relation, as well as one or two close friends who can be a shoulder to lean on when the inevitable sad and angry days come. You may also want to consider getting a mental health professional who specializes in life transition issues in your corner for when you need an objective perspective.

Change Things Up

While moving to another country may seem like a great way to get out of having to see your ex around town, this is probably a little too drastic. But a change in environment can help you move on after a breakup. It’s a great time to take stock of your life and see if your job, home and hobbies are really what you want to do or were just convenient within your relationship. If something stands out as not fulfilling or isn’t a step toward your dream life, it may be time for a change. This is also a great way to be a role model for your children to show them that just because things don’t work out as you planned doesn’t mean you can’t regroup and still end up in an awesome place.

Take It Slow

Intimate relationships create very deep bonds, and these feelings aren’t just going to go away overnight. This person was an important part of your life. Their absence is going to leave a void for a while. This void is temporary, and you will eventually move on, but you need to give it time.

Bonus tip: Beware of jumping back into the dating scene too soon. It’s very easy to move too quickly in a rebound relationship, but back-to-back breakups can compound the problem and end up making it harder to recover emotionally.

Acknowledge the Past

While you definitely want to be looking toward the future, the truth is the past still happened. It had a big effect on who you are and who you will be as you move forward. Trying to pretend it didn’t happen is just as unhealthy as staying stuck in past mistakes and failures. Acknowledge — and maybe even thank — your breakup for the impact it had on you and make a conscious effect to absorb the lesson and move on. It can be helpful to have a little ceremony where you take some pictures from your relationship or write down some good and bad memories and then burn them to physically signify the letting go.

Divorce Announcement Wording Tips for Your Children

divorce announcement wording - 2houses

Talking to your children about divorce is never easy. Most spouses are going through an emotionally challenging time and want to minimize the stress on children. Achieving this is possible with care and attention throughout the divorce process, beginning with the first conversations you have as a family about your separation.

One way to make those chats as supportive as possible is to use specific language. Certain words are often more nurturing to children, and send the right message at a time when kids are particularly vulnerable. Encouraging words can help ease the transition for your entire family.

Use “We” Instead of “I”

Even if you and your spouse disagree on many issues, it helps if you can be united when speaking to your children. Breaking the news about separation or divorce should be done by both spouses together, with as little hint about animosity or anger as possible. Using “we” reinforces this idea of stability to your children, who are just learning of your intent to live apart.

Be Selective in Choosing Information

Some parents flood their children with information in the first conversation, in an attempt to proactively answer all of their questions. This can overwhelm the child, who may or may not have had an inkling of what was to come. Start with the basics. Remaining open to questions after you tell your children is important, as that’s when you will have a better idea of how they perceive the situation.

Stay Focused on Your Child

Tell the children how the change in the family will affect their lives. For example, when providing details, say things like, “we’ll be taking care of you together, but we will live in two different homes.”, “Our change in family life won’t affect your school or your friends.” Before the conversation, make a list of what your children currently enjoy doing and how that might change after the divorce.

Reassure Them It’s Not Their Fault

Often children think they may be responsible for their parents’ divorce. Telling them that they did nothing wrong is important, so they can feel somewhat at ease with what’s happening. Over time, they will probably have more questions about why you and your spouse have chosen to end your marriage, and you may want to listen closely to their worries about the root causes of the event.

Talk to Them About the Plan

For many parents, the main objective is to help their children feel secure in the face of divorce. Give them a plan as early as possible, so they know their parents still love them and will look after their needs. Use phrasing like, “your father and I,” “your mother and I,” and “our family,” when describing how things will unfold. You can also say, “we will both always be here for you,” to reinforce this idea of consistency.

Most children will remember this conversation for many years to come. It can set up the emotional road for both the children and the parents, as they embark on divorce or separation. Every parent makes mistakes, but by taking care with what you say and how you communicate with your spouse, you can support your children over the long term. Stay open and supportive when talking and listening to all members of your family.

Homeopathy for Children

homeopathy for children - 2houses

Homeopathy’s origins

The principle of treating “like with like” dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC) but in its current form, homeopathy has been widely used worldwide for more than 200 years.

It was discovered by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, who, shocked with the harsh medical practises of the day (which included blood-letting, purging and the use of poisons such as arsenic), looked for a way to reduce the damaging side-effects associated with medical treatment.

He began experimenting on himself and a group of healthy volunteers, giving smaller and smaller medicinal doses, and found that as well as reducing toxicity, the medicines actually appeared to be more effective the lower the dose. He also observed that symptoms caused by toxic ‘medicines’ such as mercury, were similar to those of the diseases they were being used to treat e.g. syphilis, which lead to the principle he described as ‘like cures like’.

Hahnemann went on to document his work, and his texts formed the foundations of homeopathic medicine as it is practised today. A BBC Radio 4 documentary aired in December 2010 described Hahnemann as a medical pioneer who worked tirelessly to improve medical practice, insisting that medicines were tested before use.

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Homeopathy for Children

Homeopathy is a medical method that has been used in the US for over 200 years. With today’s parental concern about interactions, side effects and contra-indications of prescription and over the counter drugs, the homeopathic method, which is free of these causes for concern, is enjoying a popular revival. Homeopathy is natural and mild medicine. The remedies are natural substances which have been diluted and potentized many times so that when used according to the homeopathic method, they stimulate the child’s own defenses to move your child toward a healthier state without causing any side effects.



It is always a pleasure to discuss the use of Homeopathic remedies for children. Homeopathic remedies are safe, effective and mild. They are particularly effective in children, because the remedies work by stimulating the body’s own vitality. Children naturally have a higher vitality; therefore they work especially well in children. Homeopathic remedies are easy and pleasant to administer. The special soft tablets can be placed in the child’s mouth where they readily dissolve or dissolved in a little water for administration. They have a pleasant taste.

The common childhood conditions we will discuss are:
 Teething, Colic, Fever, Bumps and Bruises, Bed-Wetting, Coughs & Colds, Chicken Pox, Diarrhea, Diaper Rash.

Teething is treated with:

Chamomilla for painful teething with or without fever. The teething is frequently associated with colic. You always know to use Chamomilla when the child has one hot cheek, the other pale and cold. – 
Coffea Cruda for the restlessness observed in the teething child. Calcarea Phosphorica for delayed or difficult teething, as well as the colic frequently associated with teething.



Colic is treated with:

Dioscorea : for the treatment of cramps or colic in the abdomen which seem relieved by straightening up or leaning back.
 – Chamomilla : for the child with a poor tolerance for pain, restless and squeamish. The Chamomilla child usually has one hot cheek, the other pale and cool. The child seems improved when carried or pushed in the stroller. – 
Colocynthus : to relieve violent cramp-like pains which are relieved by heat and pressure. It is also helpful to relieve the irritability associated with pain. -
Magnesia Phosphorica : to relieve colic characterized by being spasmodic or intermittent. The colic is relieved by gentle pressure, warmth and burping. The symptoms are usually worse on the right side and there is usually a general muscular weakness.

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Stop buying sports drinks and protein bars – Try handmade instead

protein bars and sport drink - 2houses

In a rather sad and ironic state of affairs, individuals exercising to improve health and fitness often fall into the trap of neon colored sport drinks and sugary protein bars with questionable ingredients – believing these products support ultimate vitality and strength.

Unfortunately, these ‘foods’ compromise true health and also tend to rack up a hefty grocery bill. But making your own at home is far easier than you might imagine and affordable to boot.

Sports drinks

The Chicago Tribune article, “Sports drinks: How to make your own” offers several simple, inexpensive recipes for recovery drinks. According to registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, refueling beverages need three elements: water, electrolytes and carbohydrates. Just make sure to use purified water, organic ingredients and high quality Himalayan or Celtic sea salt for maximum nutritional benefit.

Organic Sports Drink from Kitchen Table Medicine
– Organic fruit juice
– Water or green tea
– Organic sea salt
Fill sports bottle with half juice and half water. Add a pinch of sea salt and shake.

Delicious and nutrient dense energy bars

Now onto the protein bars. Here we can really get creative. Anna Sward of Protein Pow(d)er offers the following recommendations and recipes:

“For each recipe below, bind the powder, flour and other ingredients with milk [coconut, almond or hemp varieties are heathy choices]. You can also use a nut butter. The goal is to have a batter that comes together like a dough which can be easily formed into bars. Next, melt 90-100 percent dark chocolate over low heat — enough to coat the bars, about 40 grams. Once coated, place the bars in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.”

Again, organic ingredients are recommended.

Surprise Almond and Vanilla Protein Bars
– 4 small cooked beets
– 1 cup vanilla protein powder
– 1/2 cup coconut flour
– 1/2 cup cup nondairy milk substitute
– 2 tbsp organic almond butter (peanut, pumpkin or hemp butter works as well)

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Eight Tips to Help You Deal With Mixed Emotions After Divorce

mixed emotions after divorce - 2houses

After the divorce you may find you have mixed emotions about your ex – spouse.

While you may know that the divorce was for the best, you may find that some days you hate your ex – spouse, and, surprisingly, other days you miss him/her. You may wonder why you feel any fondness for someone you are divorcing. It is perfectly normal, and most divorced people report these mixed emotions. So how do you cope with these changing emotions?

  1. Emotions are not good or bad. They just ARE. When a couple divorces, the bad times they shared may be a recent memory, but there are times when each person feels vulnerable, lonely, or scared of the changes taking place. At these times, you may think of the good times. (Hopefully, they were not all bad!) Allow yourself these trips down memory lane. Don’t try to push down your emotions, but allow yourself to feel all the emotional stages of divorce. Expect that you will have your up’s and down’s.
  2. Divorce means change. Realize that every divorce brings about such change, and change is not always easy. There are times we are tempted to look back, because it is easier than facing the fact that you now have to rebuild your life. Trust yourself that you can handle anything that comes along and that you have made the right decision to divorce. Don’t let fear overtake your judgment.
  3. Make lists. It helps to make a list of the reasons you divorced, and the differences you had. Also, make a list of the good parts of your former relationship. Many newly divorced people are so focused on the bad that they grow resentful and hold such a grudge against their ex – spouse, it is hard to move on with their lives. Everyone has some good traits and some bad.
…Read More…By , About.com Guide

Is This The Worst Thing You Could Say To A Divorcee?

difference between a divorce and a separation - 2houses

One of the most common responses that I receive when I tell others that I am divorced is: “Oh, I know how you feel. I just broke up with my boyfriend/girlfriend.”

I know that you’re trying to empathize with me, but I don’t believe that it is possible for you to know how I feel unless you have been divorced yourself. Yes, the end of a long-term relationship is horrible and devastating, but I don’t believe that it compares to the emotional trauma of getting a divorce, no matter how long the couple has been together.

Divorce is a loss unlike anything else that most people will experience in their lifetime. Divorce is hard emotionally, financially and socially; it’s heartbreakingly difficult. Many sources have said that divorce is the second-most traumatic life experience that a person can go through, after the death of a spouse. I fully believe that there is a good reason — actually, many good reasons — that they didn’t include the breaking up of long-term relationships on that list.

While some breakups do involve separating assets and legal paperwork, the majority of breakups of (childless) relationships don’t. All divorces require paperwork — even the ones that end amicably. Divorce brings out the worst in people. Lawyers get involved, fights start and animosity grows. Of course, not every relationship ends badly (for example, my ex and I are still good friends) but in general, having to argue over each book, every dish and every dollar acquired during the marriage is not a fun experience for anyone.

The biggest difference between a divorce and the breakup of a long-term relationship is the emotional and mental toll that it takes. When getting married, a couple stands in front of all of their friends and family — and in many cases, before God — and declares their never-ending love for each other. They promise to spend their lives together “for better or for worse”. After getting married, the two individuals become a family that works together toward common goals, hopes and dreams.

When a marriage ends, the sense of failure that both parties feel is overwhelming. Even if the reason for divorcing is valid, there is still a lingering feeling of having lied to everyone who mattered most. Divorcees often feel like they have let everyone down by not being able to “fix” their marriage.

Along with the incredible sense of failure comes extreme loneliness, because divorce represents the end of “us” and the return to “me, on my own again”. When a long-term relationship ends, there is still a sense of loss but, in most cases, the two individuals were able to keep their sense of self and maintain (somewhat) separate lives during the relationship; returning to their own life after a breakup isn’t as severe a transition.

So if your friend or family member tells you that they are getting a divorce, don’t tell them that you know how they feel, unless you actually do. Tell them that you’re sorry, that you’ll be there to support them, to listen to them, to drink with them, hug them and let them cry on your shoulder. Tell them that it will be tough (because you read it in an insightful Huffington Post article, not because you experienced it personally) but that they will make it through, and in many cases, they will be happier because of it.

Trust me. At the end of the grieving process, they will thank you for it.

by  Public Relations & Marketing Professional for Huffingtonpost.com