Walk With Me (#37): Co-Parenting With A Narcissist

Asha Sanaker
7 min readMar 31, 2021

An advice column for folks who don’t like to be told what to do

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Dear Asha,

I’ve been divorced from my first husband for seven and a half years. He remarried almost immediately after we divorced. For years, he and his new wife harassed me, had me watched, and attempted to alienate me from my children. They are both lawyers and in every legal fight, they had the upper hand.

Co-parenting was a hill we could never climb. The wife never had any interest in raising my son; however, she wanted to be my daughter’s only mother, and eventually, through gaslighting, manipulation, and legal maneuvering, they managed to get primary custody of my daughter.

During this time, while I struggled deeply as a single mother, I eventually rebuilt my life and even remarried. Then one day, my son hit me with a bomb: his father was getting divorced. At first, I was pleased. But then, I began worrying about my daughter’s well-being and how she was going to navigate life without her stepmother. Then, things got weird.

My ex-husband, who never co-parented with me a day in his life, started texting me. At first, it was things about our kids, but then the texts turned into him hitting on me. I was floored. He continued to text me, feeding me the information I’ve always wanted in terms of properly co-parenting our children while telling me how much he wanted me. I don’t want him. I don’t want my new life ruined. However, I’m finally truly co-parenting with him. I’m scared that if I tell him to stop that he’ll use it against me and stop everything.

How do I continue this relationship without being used in the process and without losing the chance to co-parent?


Dear TL,

Whether or not a licensed professional would offer your ex-husband a formal diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I’m going to advise you to proceed as if that is what you are dealing with in a co-parenting relationship with him, and plan accordingly. The four aspects of NPD are:

  • A strong need for admiration,
  • Lacking empathy for others,
  • Having a grandiose sense of self-importance, selfishness, and…
Asha Sanaker

Asking questions, telling stories, giving my people information they can use to make change happen.