I Should Have Known

High-Conflict Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

Taylor Ellison
6 min readFeb 2


I’ve gone back and forth, an internal battle, debating if I should even publish this story. It’s not my story to tell. I’m just a character, but I am not the main character.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The main character is my nine-year-old daughter, stuck in the middle of myself and her dad. Trust me, I am doing everything within my power and within my reach to take her out of the middle, keeping the ‘fight’ between the two adults. It’s nearly impossible when you’re co-parenting with a narcissist.

Without saying, most parents want what is best for their child(ren). During our marriage, my husband and I disagreed the most on our parenting styles. I should have known that a divorce would not make parenting any easier.

Before the dirty details, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. I am proud to say that our co-parenting started out strong.

My daughter was three when we split, but her father and I made it a point to make the holidays an easy transition. We spent the holidays together during the first year following our divorce.

The communication between myself and her dad was strong. Daily phone communication, texting to make arrangements, emails for events and big decisions. We didn’t need attorneys because we agreed on everything.

I didn’t take his retirement, he didn’t fight my first right of refusal. We agreed on parenting time and holiday schedules. Things were easy.

What changed? I cannot prove what changed, but I can share what my daughter and I started to experience.

When my daughter was four, she came home home (to the home I provided) and said, “Daddy had four girls sleep in our house last night” and “three girls slept in my bed at daddy’s house.”

Naturally, I confronted my daughter’s dad/my ex-husband about having strangers sleeping at his house while she is in his care. He accused my daughter of lying.

Personally, I don’t know of any four-year-old child capable of lying while telling a story.

Sure, if you ask a four-year-old if they ate a cookie from the cookie jar, they might lie. But lying about a detailed story, with four girls in her…



Taylor Ellison

Happily divorced, single mom, reviewing books and managing a Bookstagram account as if people actually care about what I have to say. Posting weekly.