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Surviving Coparenting With A Narcissistic Ex – Raising Resilient Children

Written by: Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Co-parenting with a toxic ex can be challenging, and it takes a lot of effort to raise kids in a healthy and safe environment. Children need to feel loved, protected, and emotionally secure at all times, but that can be difficult when you're dealing with an emotionally abusive or narcissistic ex-partner.

Let’s talk about the effects of emotional abuse on children, how to teach your kids assertiveness and resilience, how to navigate co-parenting with a toxic ex, and how to address the long-term effects of emotional abuse on children. I aim to give you practical solutions to the challenges of raising kids with a co-parent who is neglectful, inconsistent and otherwise emotionally abusive.

Understanding Emotional Abuse and Its Effects on Children

Children who grow up in an emotionally abusive environment can suffer from mental and emotional health issues. They may develop anxiety, depression, trauma, and have trouble with trust and relationships. Have you ever said “Daddy/Mommy loves you” to your child about your co-parent when the child expresses their disappointment in them to you?

Challenges and issues: Kids may struggle to differentiate between love and abuse. We cannot teach our children that the other parent “loves them” if their love is inconsistent, neglectful or harmful. They may also feel responsible for the parent's behavior and may blame themselves for the abuse.

Solutions: Educate your kids about emotional abuse and its effects. Encourage open communication and validate their feelings. Don’t speak poorly of your co-parent, don’t make excuses for them, but speaking negatively about them has detrimental affects on the child. Seek professional help if necessary such as play or talk therapy, and ensure your kids have safe and supportive adults they can talk to if they need to.

Teaching Assertiveness, Resiliency, and Boundaries to Children

Children need to learn how to assert themselves, develop resilience, and set boundaries to protect themselves. When you're co-parenting with a toxic ex, it’s essential to teach these skills to your kids to help them navigate through life.

Challenges and issues: Kids may struggle with low self-esteem, lack of confidence, fear of rejection, and may feel guilty for setting boundaries.

Solutions: Praise your kids' accomplishments and provide them with regular feedback. Encourage them to practice problem-solving skills, and teach them to stand up for themselves. Show them healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety, and model healthy boundaries by setting them yourself. Role playing some scenarios can really help.

Navigating Co-Parenting with an Emotionally Abusive or Toxic Ex-Partner

When you're co-parenting with an abusive ex, it can be challenging to create a safe environment for your kids. It's essential to prioritize your kids' safety and well-being.

Challenges and issues: The abusive parent may undermine your authority, neglect your child's needs, or attempt to turn your child against you.

Solutions: Create a co-parenting plan that protects your child's emotional and physical safety. Communicate as effectively as you are able, let go of trying to influence your co-parent, and document any incidents of abuse. Seek legal advice if necessary, and take any necessary action to protect your kids. You can also speak to a co-parenting expert who specializes in abusive co-parenting situations.

Addressing the Long-Term Effects of Emotional Abuse on Children

Emotional abuse can have long-term effects on children's mental and emotional health. It's essential to identify and address any issues your child may have to prevent further harm.

Challenges and issues: Some kids may struggle with relational issues, anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Solutions: Seek professional help for your child, and provide them with a supportive and nurturing environment. Show them love and acceptance, and validate their emotions. Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy, and help them build strong and healthy relationships.

Co-parenting with an abusive partner is never easy, but it doesn't have to harm your children's future. By understanding the effects of emotional abuse, teaching your kids assertiveness and resilience, navigating co-parenting, and addressing the long-term effects of emotional abuse, you can build a healthy and safe environment for your children.

If you want to learn more about how to raise strong and resilient kids, join the Emotionally Bulletproof Kids webinar. You'll hear from experts in child therapy, psychology, trauma therapy, parents, and a pediatrician, who will share practical steps on how to raise confident and resilient kids. Remember, you're not alone, and your kids deserve to live their best life.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and visit my website for more info!


Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Sonni is a survivor of domestic assault and narcissistic abuse, and her first hand experience led her to where she is today ‒ a certified Relationship Coach specializing in abuse education and trauma bond recovery. She helps clients from all walks of life overcome challenges stemming from traumatic partnerships. She is the author of the Trauma Bond Recovery Course, The Trauma Bond Recovery Journal, and Rebuilding After A Trauma Bond: A Self-Love Journal, as well as a popular content creator known as Stronger Than Before across all social media platforms.



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