It seems everyone is discovering that all along they were, in fact, married to a narcissist. I’m not sure how that happened, but I will acknowledge I notice a lot of self-centered behaviors in people going through crisis. Along the way, I’ve learned some tricks that help me work with people who are exhibiting narcissistic behaviors. These tricks may also be helpful when dealing with former partners.
Anyone who is transitioning through a separation - or has already separated - knows that during this time, emotions run high and feelings can get low. This is especially true when children are involved, and heightened even more during times like the holidays and special events. So how can we get our fellow co-parent to cooperate with us? It may start with you. Here are 25 ideas that can even be implemented as your New Year’s resolutions.
As I wrapped up a particularly emotional mediation recently, I urged my clients to take good care of themselves and to make an effort to heal and restore in the subsequent weeks. This is more than an encouraging platitude at the end of a tough session. I often say this to people in the course of separation or intense co-parenting disputes because their circumstances are traumatic. Literally. Intense fighting, being left by the person you have built a trusting relationship with, losing daily contact with your children or financial and legal anxieties create trauma that gets stored in the body. And that can come back to haunt us individually and in our co-parenting relationship for years if we don’t address it.
“This is conflict we’re talking about. You have to show up for this or you’re going to miss something.”
Conflict is scary, messy and overwhelming. Mostly, we want to run away from it or bury our heads in the sand like proverbial ostriches. But conflict gives us an opportunity to transform ourselves or our situation in life.
Every day the news or the Facebook feed shows some fresh angle on the craziness. Devious legislative maneuvering, offshore money hoarding, oceans rising, earth eviscerating, and a full-house of presidential candidates duking it out while the Joker rewrites the rules, making himself a trump card in the game.
I haven’t been around long enough to know whether the unique flavor of this craziness is stronger or more acidic than previous varieties, but it certainly feels unsettling.
Have you ever noticed that when you focus your attention on any one sense completely, you become more present? Smelling the dank, minerly moisture in the woods in autumn. Fully experiencing the taste and feel of chocolate in your mouth. Focusing on the sounds of the frogs in a nearby pond. This is especially true with listening to others.
The first Noble Truth of Buddha is that life is suffering.
The second Noble Truth is that the origin of suffering is attachment.
When we are in conflict, we are attached to something, whether it’s money, a picture of our own future, a relationship that makes us feel whole, or being seen as right or good or smarter than the other person. We are attached to an ideal future that we believe will bring us relief.