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My Child is coming home angry, upset, withdrawn, rude. What do I do?

Transitions can be tough at the best of times, even for healthy co-parents who truly have their children's best interests at heart.

They can be downright impossible when one parent is a narcissist.

And that burden always falls on the healthy, unconditionally loving parent.

That's the bad news. You'll always get the brunt of their bad behaviour, because you're the safe, unconditionally loving parent.

Here are some key things to remember:

  1. Narcissists dysregulate everyone they come in contact with, even their children, especially their children.

  2. Your children cannot be themselves when they're with this parent. They are silenced and muzzled and forced to go along to get along.

  3. Your children know you love them unconditionally, so they feel safe being themselves with you. Even when it's the messy stuff.

  4. Your children need to work through this dysregulation to get to a parasympathetic state. If they come back angry, they need to work through this, to release it in order to get to a calm state.

  5. Your children desperately need to release the toxicity they have bottled up while with their other parent.

  6. For you to meet your children where they need to be met, your self care game must be strong.

  7. Do not take anything they do personally. I know that's hard, but if you see their messy side, it's truly a testament to you as a parent for providing them with a safe space they feel comfortable unloading and dumping onto.

You need to create transition rituals that work for each child. No two children are alike and no two children experience and process abuse in the same manner. Allow them to help you create your rituals, as it affords them a modicum of control over their lives, something they desperately need and crave as so much of their lives are out of their control.

If they come back angry and aggressive, give them healthy outlets to release this anger. Anger is a healthy emotion, it's how we express it that makes it healthy or unhealthy. A punching bag; a pillow fight; a hard fast jump on the trampoline; a crazy dance party; a yell fest; a hard run. Whatever appeals to your children let them do it. Give them options for this release when they're in a calm state and get their feedback.

Sometimes children come back withdrawn and aloof. They may simply need the safe and quiet space of their room. Let them gravitate to this. Maybe create a calm down corner in this space. Again, let them be active participants in the creation of this space.

Oftentimes, once they've released this anger, pain, confusion, sadness, they'll need safe physical contact: hugs, cuddles, hand holding, baking side by side etc.

Your children are so lucky that you're their parent and children truly do just need one unconditionally loving parent to thrive, and that parent is you.

Ps- please invest time and money into your self care, your healing, your support. You need this not only for yourself, but also, for your children. For you to meet them where they need to be met, your own cup must be filled.

Pps- remember you're playing the long game. What you are sowing now may not blossom until later, and that's okay. You're here for the long haul.

With love, always,


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