How to start breaking free from the narcissistic ex


Okay, how can you get away from your narcissistic ex if you have one or even more children with him?

It’s easier than you think!

And quite difficult if you don’t yet allow yourself to think differently from those around you who have their own cliché ideas of the ideal post-separation parent.

Of course it is better if you still get along well with your ex and can make well-considered and well-discussed decisions together for the sake of the child’s well-being!

But with a toxic-narcissistic ex on the other side of parenthood, that’s just an impossibility.

A reminder

A pathological narcissist has no interest in finding good compromises. He also has no interest in others possibly having an advantage from a decision he helped make that he himself does not have.

Also, he does not see advantages in the child, he sees them in you, especially when you are mainly empathic in making good decisions in the child’s best interest.

Isn’t that crazy?

Therefore, you can persuade him with the tongues of angels – you will not convince him. Because you can’t win.

Because if you win, he loses.

In order to build a good co-parenting relationship, it is imperative to have two parents who do not see the other as an opponent to be defeated. And this willingness must come from within.

This insight cannot be expected from a child’s father with a suspected narcissistic personality disorder.

If you have understood this, you are already a big step further. Because now you can already let go of this one thought: That with good will, the two of you will be able to work everything out amicably in everyday life.

In order to break up with a toxic Ex, you have to learn to let go – especially in your mind.

Whether you broke up yesterday or the breakup is years behind you: Do you still think about the following things every day?

  • what he said to you again the other day;
  • what he said to you back then, when you were still together;
  • what he will probably say (or do) again the next time you have a child;
  • what email he wrote to you and especially how he wrote it;
  • and what other nastiness he might come up with

then you are still very closely energetically connected with him.

You can see how your thoughts are going around in circles. If you have no idea how to stop this mental carousel, you should definitely read on.

Even if you talk to your best friend or your mother, it won’t get any better. Especially since you realize how exhausting the conversations are for all sides: for your friend/mother as well as for you.

You are treading water and you realize it. Which, of course, doesn’t help you feel better and regain your strength.

It all starts with the first step

Sounds almost too simple, but it is exactly the strategy of small steps, with which you get rid of the feeling that you are treading water.

And at some point, you’ll look back and think, “Wow – all I’ve accomplished in the last year!”

To be able to define the first baby steps, however, you need to have internalized a few essential things beforehand, otherwise you won’t know where the journey is headed.

Important rules to help you break free from the toxic Ex

There are a few rules when dealing with narcissistic exes that you should definitely keep in mind as guardrails. They are:

  • As little direct contact as possible. Preferably none at all, but if you have shared custody, take the next lowest level.
  • Complete separation of social life (even virtual!).
  • No more justification, no more argumentation, no more convincing from your side! It’s no use, so don’t do it at all.
  • The core rule for everything you do in the future: you don’t feed any energy into the cycle anymore when dealing with the Ex. No more drama. Yes, he’s irresponsible and will do incredible things. But every time you tick yourself off, you hurt yourself 100% more.

Those are the basics. There is still enough fuel for the fire and excitement, if the Ex has contact, plans vacations in a high-handed way and also changes them again, if you have to decide medical measures together or a change of school is pending. You will have to look at the situation again and again and adjust your behavior according to the rules above.

And yes, there will be relapses! After all, it’s about our children, we will always remain vulnerable, and he will know that and take advantage of it.

But if you are aware of the rough direction, you can quickly get yourself back on track and vow to do better next time. And with time it will really get much better, I promise!

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Important thoughts to help you break free from the narcissistic Ex.

Now that you know the rulebook and are getting down to implementing it, these 3 things should be clear to you:

  1. There is no chance of a harmonious, separate family life with equal co-parenting. Let go of that ideal.
  2. There will always be people (especially in various counseling centers, in the youth welfare office, in your family, in your circle of acquaintances, at work, etc. pp.) who will just shake their heads at you and tell you that you should please behave like adults, after all, it’s about your children!
    And that it always takes two to argue (implying that you are partly to blame for the stressful situation with contact and custody).

At this point I like to recommend the saying “It takes two to make peace!” as a counter, but don’t get involved in any big discussions. Outsiders have a hard time understanding how narcissistic relationships and the energy requirements behind them work. So don’t, it will only frustrate you.

Your main task now is to stay mentally and emotionally healthy so that you can take good care of your child.

That means you will pay more attention to yourself and your needs over the next few months, and do everything you can to bring joy and happiness into your own life. This includes bringing back to you the energy you have been putting into mentally processing the breakup with the narcissistic Ex and using it for yourself. For good, no longer for “evil.” Yes, you can do that, even if it seems too far away for you right now!

Without question, if you have internalized these three pillars, you are no longer the nice girl, the nice buddy who can please everyone in the youth welfare office and in court. You are getting to the bottom of your female conditioning and may have to address deep-seated beliefs about yourself and your role as a mother.

Unfortunately, you will not be spared this task – parenting with a toxic narcissistic Ex forces you to do it!

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


Your strategy of small steps

Now let’s circle back to your current situation. No matter whether you broke up yesterday or one or five years ago – depending on how close you are still to each other and your energy level has dropped sharply because the narcissistic energy sucker was able to secure his supply with you, you can now define your baby steps or short-term goals.

To do this, ask yourself these questions every day, especially in the beginning:

  • Which interactions that are not part of the mandatory part of shared custody can I still prevent and stop?
  • Do I have to react to this or that email now? Why?
  • If I must respond to this email: Did I write my response in a highly factual manner, without accusations and accusations and self-pity between the lines? Is there at least a day between the first and final draft of the email? Do I still need to send it out?
  • What should be different in 3 months from today? What do I want to have implemented by then?
  • What is my current energy level on a scale from 1 (little) to 10 (super good!)? What can I do myself to raise the level by at least one point within the next week?

If you use this framework of questions regularly for the next few weeks, you’ll notice how much more aware you act and how much more mindful you are with yourself.

Before I forget: Disclaimer

I need to emphasize it over and over again: This article is intended to help mothers who are in a high-conflict separation with their children’s father, who suffers from a suspected narcissistic personality disorder.

There’s no question that a separation is actually always difficult and a tour de force for all involved, but if both are mature and healthy personalities, then in time one can get over aggrieved vanities and meet again on a co-parenting level in an open and trusting way.

This is indeed the ideal, and I know such parenting myself.

But it doesn’t work with pathological narcissists. Period.

If you are unsure whether you have been with a narcissist, you are welcome to take my test and get my strategy recommendation on the respective result. In any case, the result will already give you a good orientation.

With all the tips and support I give on Midlife-Boom, I recommend the path of de-escalation / non-reaction and focus on your own future. No power to drama!

If you have even the slightest doubt that you were dealing with a narcissist, please do me and yourself a huge favor and seek out the conversation and be as cooperative as possible. There’s no question about it: your child wants nothing more than parents who still talk to each other and don’t see each other as adversaries.

But if you suspect from the bottom of your heart that you’re in the right place here on my site, then you need to think of yourself first and protect yourself!

Follow me for more support – you will find everything you need in this difficult phase of your life! Be on the lookout for special promotions I run every now and then and stay tuned by subscribing to FeelBold Friday.

Finally, I want to ask you: have you already started to move on from your narcissistic Ex? What are you still finding particularly difficult, and what has been easy?

Please leave a comment below so that other moms can get an idea of what’s possible. Thank you so much!

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