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narcissist

How to Handle a Narcissist: My Top 3 Tips For Keeping Your Cool

narcissist

 

Each one of us has had to deal with a narcissist at some point or another.  Whether it was an ex, a boss, or a family member, dealing with a narcissist can be challenging and exhausting as all hell!

I get asked a lot, “How do I deal with someone that has to win at all costs?” Well, this is the million-dollar question in high conflict divorce cases.

Narcissists have this remarkable ability to make you feel like you are the crazy one like you are wrong for thinking the way you think, and for feeling the way you feel. It’s as if they have this superpower, a gift that plants doubt inside you that makes you second guess your choices.

How do they do it?!

Let me first paint a picture of who you are dealing with here. These are some common characteristics that define a narcissist.:

  • Narcissists are ego-driven (meaning everything they do is to feed their ego)
  • The need to win is a top priority
  • They have to be right at all costs
  • They need to be superior
  • Their worth is tied to their achievements
  • They need to control others in order to support the outcome they desire. They need to be seen as “the good guy/girl”
  • They don’t think the rules apply to them
  • They think they know more about the law than their own lawyer

Do any of these ring true? If so, you may be dealing with a narcissist.

Here are my tips on how to handle a narcissist:

Don’t fight back!

You already know that you will never win, and you will never get them to empathize with your point of view.  So why do you keep fighting it? If they say the sky is red, then let it be red.  Narcissists thrive on anyone that supplies them with the drugs they need, and that drug is “being right.”  You will keep spinning in the hamster wheel of getting nowhere with someone that will never say to you, “You know what Amy, you are right, I didn’t see things your way.” And continuing to fight will only mirror more of what you don’t want, which is a narcissist in your face.

Let go of any expectations.

What do I mean by this? I realize some of you have no choice but to deal with a narcissist, so going radio silent on them may not be a viable option.  If you have no choice other than to deal with this person, then having expectations will be the death of your sanity. Hopes that they will do the right thing, that they care about your best interest (or the interest of anyone other than themselves for that matter), or that they can carry a conversation that doesn’t have their own selfish needs at the top of their mind–IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

Remember who you are and what you value.

It’s easy to get sucked into a vicious cycle of crazy when you are dealing with a narcissist. You feel like you are continually having to defend yourself and prove yourself to everyone.  You may continuously be defending who you are as a mother, as a partner, and as a daughter and friend.

Why are you defending yourself? Because a part of you may be feeling that they are right, or that you need to prove your self-worth.  You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone.  You are worthy just as you are, and anyone that doesn’t see it, well, they don’t belong in your life.

You need to remember what it is you value.  Do you value peace and harmony? Do you value love and acceptance? Do you value REAL connection? If so, then put the gloves down, and understand that nobody can take your self-worth away.

If what you fight against you get more of, then getting in the rink with a narcissist will only get you more blows to the face. Narcissists need people to inflate their egos, so if you cut the supply, they will find another victim to feed on.  Take the path of least resistance, and surround yourself with people that love and support you, with people that know your worth.

If you find yourself in what feels like an impossible situation with a narcissist, please take advantage of a complimentary session with me.  I would love to see how I may help you navigate through this challenging situation.

Here is the link:  mailchi.mp/efa3cb1f474d/complimentary-session

The post How to Handle a Narcissist: My Top 3 Tips For Keeping Your Cool appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce

5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce

When dealing with a divorce, everyone’s needs are different. But it is important to know that each step you take to help cope with the complex emotions and situations counts.

The post 5 Helpful Tips for Coping with Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce

If you’re thinking of becoming a new homeowner after divorce, you may find yourself a little bit overwhelmed.

The post Helpful Tips If You’re a New Homeowner After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

remarriage manualUNDERSTANDING YOUR STEPCHILD

Victoria was about 10 years old when her father, Ryan, married Lisa. In her view, she had little control over the events unfolding in her life, including her mother remarrying and starting a new family quickly.

Even though Lisa seemed nice enough and obviously really loved her dad, it still didn’t seem fair to Victoria that her life had to change so radically. When she met me for an interview, she was eager to share her perspectives as a stepchild.

In her mind, nothing would ever be the same after her parents’ split and she believes that parents ought to be more understanding about the stepchild’s plight.

Victoria reflects, “I wrote on my closet door, ‘January 18 was the worst day of my life’ — the day of my parents’ divorce. For me, divorce meant changes in where I lived, changes at school and with friends and having to spend time with new adults I didn’t particularly want to spend time with.

No one asked me if I wanted any of those things to happen, but they did, without my consent, and sometimes without warning.”

During our in-depth interview, Victoria speaks with anguish about both of her parents getting remarried around the same time. She explains, “I had a teacher tell me that if I loved my parents, I would accept their significant others because I’d want them to be happy. Inside I was screaming, ‘What about my happiness?’”

These are hard issues, and there are no easy fixes, but following these tips can help you weather the rough times and be a supportive stepparent.

8Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily

  1. Proceed slowly. Take your time getting to know your stepchild. If you rush the relationship, it may satisfy your own unmet needs to be liked, but your approach could backfire. It’s important to realize that you’re not replacing your stepchild’s other parent; your role is more of a mentor. Never make your stepchild feel as if they have to choose between their biological parent and you. Over time, everyone in the recoupled family can create a positive culture together.
  2. Respect your spouse’s relationship with your stepchild. And don’t feel threatened by their close connection. Your partner will want to spend special time with their child, so try not to feel neglected by them. Make plans with your friends or with your own kids and graciously step out of their way.
  3. Develop a relationship with your stepchild through daily activities, hobbies, and shared interests to create positive memories. Strive to engage in activities as a family unit as much as possible so everyone has an opportunity to make a connection. Sharing interests in sports or the arts can help you develop a bond. Spending time together, even if it’s eating a meal or watching a movie, can help weave the fabric of stronger stepfamily relationships.
  4. Understand your stepchild’s view and have realistic expectations. First, it’s a given that your stepchild had a relationship with your spouse that existed before you came on the scene. They’re likely to see you as a rival to both of their parents. Even if your stepchild seems to like you well enough, they will sometimes prefer you weren’t in the picture and may express this by ignoring you or being indifferent or rude. Your remarriage effectively ends any hope of their mother and father reunifying and can reignite feelings of loss for your stepchild.
  5. Be sure to discuss roles and feelings about parenting with your spouse. Sometimes a biological parent may not understand a stepparent’s feelings of rejection. They may need you to tell them what they can do to support you. On the other hand, a biological parent may feel criticized and get defensive when their spouse offers unsolicited advice about parenting. Blending your sometimes-opposing styles of parenting and focusing on what you have in common will benefit all family members.
  6. Be courteous and respectful of your child’s and stepchild’s “other parent.” Keep in mind that it is likely that they would not have chosen to have their children live with them part-time. Stepparents need to stay out of interactions between biological parents working out holiday or vacation schedules, and biological parents need to be collaborative when planning family events.
  7. Realize that love often comes later. Even if you don’t hit it off with your stepchild, you can still develop a working relationship built on respect. If your stepchild does not warm up to you right away, that does not mean you have failed. Adopting realistic expectations can help you get through some rough spots. Be patient and try not to react with anger if your stepchild gives you the cold shoulder or is a little impolite sometimes.
  8. Cooperate with your partner, and talk, talk, talk. Most of the talking will take place away from your children or stepchildren, but be sure to have cordial conversations and informal discussions about family rules, roles, chores, and routines with the kids.

TERRY GASPARDMSW, LICSW is a licensed therapist and author. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TheGoodMenProject, The Gottman Institute Blog, and Marriage.com. Her new book, out now, is THE REMARRIAGE MANUAL: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around.

Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com.

Excerpted from THE REMARRIAGE MANUAL by Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW. Credit Terry Gaspard. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True. All rights reserved.

The post 8 Tips to Bond with Your Stepchild and Create Positive Memories as a Stepfamily appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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new step-parent

Navigating a Blended Family: 8 Tips For The New Step-Parent

new step-parent

 

Blended families generally consist of a couple and their children from all relationships, and they’re becoming more common every year. According to the 2009 census, upwards of 16% of children live in a blended family, and upwards of 1,300 new blended families form every single day.

Going from being a single parent to being a part of a blended family can be challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make that transition easier to navigate.

8 Tips For The New Step-Parent

1. Remember That It’s a Big Change

Becoming a blended family is a major change for everyone involved. It also ends up being more challenging for children than it is for adults, especially young ones who don’t have any context to help them understand what’s going on. Be patient with everyone and prepare for conflicts. Know how to defuse stressful situations before they get out of hand.

2. Talk About Parenting Styles Before You Move In

Discuss your parenting styles with your significant other before you cross that final bridge and bring everyone together. Figure out where you agree, where you differ and where you need to compromise, as well as who is responsible for things like doling out corrective action. Have that conversation as early as possible so you have plenty of time to iron out all the details.

3. Adapt As Necessary to Manage Age Differences

Different-age children will respond to becoming a blended family in various ways. Teenagers might rebel dramatically, while younger children might have tantrums or act out because they don’t understand what’s happening. All they know is that things are changing. You’ll need to be adaptable in response to this. Deal with issues related to age differences as they come up, and remember to be patient and communicate with both the children and your partner.

4. Be Open About Mental Health

People often consider mental health a taboo topic, but if you’re making your way toward becoming a blended family, you need to keep everyone’s mental wellness in mind. Start the conversation, especially with those who are old enough to use social media.

These sites, and the internet as a whole, are an integral part of our lives, but they can also be detrimental to our mental health. This factor is especially true if other things are happening in your life that could have adverse effects.

5. Don’t Make Your Children Choose

Ultimatums are your worst enemy when it comes to creating a successful blended family. Don’t make your kids choose, whether that means deciding between parents or where they want to live. If you do reach a point where decisions are necessary, have a conversation with your partner first to ensure you’re on the same page with parenting your collective children.

6. Be Ready to Co-Parent

When it comes to blended families, co-parenting doesn’t just mean the relationship between you and your partner. It means being ready to deal respectfully with any living ex-partner that may have had a parenting role in your children’s lives. Co-parenting is a part of any parent/step-parent relationship, regardless of the situation. Don’t make it a battle. Doing this will make your life harder, and it isn’t fair to any kids involved either.

7. Make It About Respect

When you’re bringing together multiple families, not everyone is going to like one another. Some people will butt heads, that’s part of life. While you can’t make everyone like each other, it should always be about respect. You can respect someone you don’t like and building a blended family on this principle is the best choice for everyone. Lead by example and practice this principle with others in every situation you encounter.

8. Take Care of Yourself Too

Caring for your kids and your partner’s kids are challenging. It’s easy to forget one of the most important rules, that you need to take care of yourself too. Don’t let putting everyone else first prevent you from practicing self-care.

Work with your partner so you can take a break, even if it’s something as simple as an uninterrupted bath or a solo trip to the grocery store. Caring for your mind and body allows you to be a better parent and partner, which is why it’s essential to avoid leaving your wellbeing on the back burner.

Be Patient With Each Other and Yourself

Coming together as a blended family is probably one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you will ever do. It’s a significant change that may be difficult for members of your growing family to adapt to, but it is becoming more common with each passing year.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to become part of a blended family, be patient with yourself and your new relatives.

The post Navigating a Blended Family: 8 Tips For The New Step-Parent appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020

4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020

After a divorce, you most likely don’t want to see your ex again, but if you have children, you may need to find ways to successfully co-parent. Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it’s often the best thing for your children. 

The post 4 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting in 2020 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce



 

Negative emotions during divorce are harder to deal with because divorce is such a mystery to most of us. Most will enter the process once and once you’ve entered you don’t know what to expect. Since that is the case, divorce will cause us to second guess every move and decision we make.

When we find ourselves in a situation that is a mystery to us, we can get lost in magical thinking or conspiracy theories. For example, we question every move our soon-to-be-ex makes and assign meaning to their actions based on anxiety and fear instead of reality. Bottom line, the negative emotions we experience during the divorce process cause our minds to do the opposite of what’s in our best interest.

It’s imperative that you be able to protect yourself emotionally, protect your legal divorce rights and come out the other side of divorce with no regrets. Below I’m going to share a few tips for how to manage negative emotions so you can do just that.

5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce

Don’t react right away

If you have a decision to make pertaining to your divorce, step back and take time to settle yourself emotionally. Don’t agree to anything if you’ve not put thought into it.

If there is a conflict between you and your soon-to-be-ex, don’t engage until you’ve taken time to soothe yourself and know that the way you do engage won’t cause more conflict.

Get Rid of Negative Thought Patterns

I think it goes without saying that the more negative our thoughts about our situation, the more negative emotions we’re going to experience. Evict negative thinking from your head! Negative thinking during times of adversity makes adversity worse.

Become More Aware!

Learn everything you can about your state’s divorce laws and how those laws are handled in your jurisdiction. Go to family court and sit through a couple of divorce cases, read up on mediation in your state so you’ll know what to expect should you go that route. The more knowledgeable you are about how divorce is dealt with in your state the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more relaxed about the process you’ll be.

Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable

If you can be emotionally vulnerable and ask for help when needed, you won’t carry around anxiety or stress that needs to be relieved. Asking for help can be really scary and hard. Sometimes we worry it will make us look weak or incompetent. Other times we worry we will hear “no”. Other times, we worry people will say yes, but that we will feel like a burden and become ashamed or embarrassed. BUT the truth is most of the time people LOVE to help others and love to be asked for help.

So, don’t isolate yourself from those who would support you.

Find a Way to be Thankful for Your Situation

There is a silver lining in every situation. If you’re the one who wanted out of a bad marriage, your silver lining is freedom. Be thankful it’s close at hand.

If you didn’t want the divorce, if you’re in pain over the loss of your marriage, you’ll one day know that divorcing is better than living with someone who doesn’t love you or want to be with you. Be thankful that you’re being freed up to one day meet someone who can’t imagine life without you.

The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Managing Negative Emotions During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

5 Tips for Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

The word “narcissist” gets a lot of use these days. It seems everyone with an irrational ex is divorced from a narcissist. That’s doubtful! So, why did I title this guide, “Co-Parenting with a Narcissist? Because, whether your ex is a narcissist or nothing more than a common, garden variety jerk if he is giving you a hard time co-parenting and causing your children emotional harm, this video is for you.

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist Tips:

1. Don’t Allow Him to push your buttons

That is his number one goal! Don’t allow him to succeed. He wants to cause you to respond to him with anger. He wants you to appear as angry and irrational as he is. If you do, you give him ammunition to use against you in court, with his family and his friends.

He was married to you long enough to know your vulnerabilities and which buttons to push. He is adept at getting you worked up and he knows it. If you allow yourself to overreact to his nonsense you’re giving him exactly what he wants and the last thing you want is to give him any satisfaction. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to cool yourself down and ignore him.

2. Use Reverse Pronouns

Narcissists project, nearly every statement they make is a projection of something they fear. Example: If he says, “You’re a terrible mother who is going to ruin her children’s lives.” What he really means is, “I’m a terrible parent who is going to ruin his children’s lives. If you reverse those pronouns and understand the degree of his projection it will free you up from feeling like you need to defend yourself or concern yourself with what he thinks.

3. Lower your Expectations of Him

He is never going to be a good co-parent, stop hoping he will. What you have now, is what you’re stuck with. There is nothing you can do that will cause him to magically one day become the perfect co-parent so don’t waste your time and energy on hoping he will change.

4. Set Communication Boundaries

Communicate via email only. If you’re able to use a communication software like Our Family Wizard to keep track of and document all email communications with him.

No texting, phone calls or in-person communication about child-related issues. If all child-related issues are discussed via email and a legal issue comes up, you have documented proof to use in court.

5. Grey Rock Him 

What does this mean? NO personal interaction, NONE. If you’re around him, do not acknowledge him. Do not attend school functions together. If you both happen to be in the same place at the same time, ignore him.

Have minimal communication and only via email. Respond to his emails with 2 or 3 words. If he emails and says, “I’m sick and can’t take the children this weekend.” Respond back and simply say, “Understand.”

He no longer exists to you other than some being in the clouds that you converse with as little as possible.

Last but Not Least

Be a good Mom to both your children and him! He is, after all, nothing more than an emotionally stunted child.

The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: 5 Tips For Co-Parenting With a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020

A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020

Here are five ideas to keep you sane in the new year while you deal with your recent divorce.

The post A New Year, a New You: 5 Tips and Tricks for Surviving 2020 appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

6 Tips For Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

 

Kimberly had a difficult divorce. She split from her husband after finding out he had an emotional affair with a co-worker. It had been a long two years. Their three children had difficulty adjusting to their new home and a new school. But her kids had moved forward and Kimberly felt that the worst was behind her.

She had worked with a divorce coach to help her set career goals and help her achieve clarity on the next chapter of her life as a single mom. She had set some goals for herself and accomplished one of her lifetime goals, completing a triathlon. It was during this training that she met an older, handsome, athletic man named Charles. He too was divorced and had experienced betrayal. They fell in love and planned to marry the following year.

However, she was questioning the relationship because his ex was making their life hell. Charles’ ex-wife was intrusive and manipulative. She tried repeatedly to splinter the relationship between Charles and his son by saying hurtful things about him in front of their son or making snide comments about his parenting.

She sent texts that were nasty when she did communicate. Drop-offs and pickups were becoming more and more dreaded because Charles’ ex-wife always wanted to confront them in front of his son about the parenting agreement, her alimony, or whatever she was upset about that day. Charles’ ex-wife seemed to hold resentment about the fact that there was to be a new mother figure in her son’s life.

Charles’ son had told Kimberly several comments that his mom had made about her. She was surprised that she was hurt by these remarks. She had only met this woman twice and yet she seemed to hate her! In addition, the children all sensed the animosity, and the tension in the house was growing among everyone.

How could she and Charles build a future together when his ex was hellbent on destroying their family?

When it comes to families blending together, there are many issues to deal with. When you are the new woman and you enter a family that has split, it’s important to set up boundaries.

Setting Boundaries With Your New Husband’s Irrational Ex

1. Understand your own triggers.

When you find that she is really pushing your buttons- ask yourself why. What is it that is bothering you about what she says? You can work with a divorce coach or therapist to get to the underlying root of your feelings so you can move forward. When you understand what is behind your emotions, you can start to control them.

2. Develop strategies to stay in control of your emotions.

When you’ve identified your triggers, you can identify ways to handle your emotions. Meditation, exercise, and keeping a wholesome lifestyle will help you handle the stress that accompanies dealing with high-conflict people. Find healthy outlets, such as supportive friends or join a support group for families of divorce or stepmoms.

3. Communicate positively with (and around) your children.

Never badmouth your spouse’s ex near or around the children-even if you feel you might be justified. These are people that your children love. They will internalize any negative comments. Foster lots of open communication so that they will come to you to openly discuss their feelings. Ignore those comments that are harmful. Focus on the children and their well-being.

4. Technology is your friend.

If communication is difficult, there are many devices and apps that make it easy to keep the communication respectful. Family Wall is an app that allows you to post dates, reminders, schedules, and even pictures that relate to the children. It allows you to share information in a confidential platform. If you can’t physically be around his ex without it becoming confrontational, communicate only through texts, emails, or apps. Plus, you’ll have a record of the conversations.

5. Keep all communication concise and objective.

When communicating with a difficult ex-spouse, here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain respectful interactions. First, keep it short. Leave out unnecessary information. Stick to the facts and keep the tone cordial. Keep your opinions and emotions out of all interactions.

Use texts and emails whenever possible so that there is a written record of what was said and agreed upon. When you have to deal with a challenging person face-to-face, it may be a good idea to have a “script” in your head prepared ahead of time. If the other person tries to engage in a disrespectful manner, simply restate your scripted message in a calm tone and walk away.

6. Attend family therapy or counseling.

As you’re setting up a new family structure, consider setting up family counseling sessions. It’s important to have a neutral party that will help you discuss intense feelings and issues in a constructive way.  It’s important to include the children in the process so that they feel they have a voice through this.

So much is out of their control and they may feel overwhelmed if there are hostilities between the adults that they love. Choose a counselor that has a background working with blended families. One piece of advice that I give to my clients as they begin their journey together is to write out a mission statement together that will keep the family working towards the same goal.

After six months of family counseling, the tension had lessened and there was more laughter around the house. The children were getting along better. Kim continued working with her life coach to help her as she adjusted to her new role as a stepmom. She and Charles began discussing the plans for their wedding and were feeling secure in their commitment to each other.

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