A narcissist is an expert manipulator. You, on the other hand, likely are not. This is a good thing except for when you’re trying to divorce a narcissist. A narcissist can manipulate you and the court system so that he or she gains control, leaving you the losing victim. It’s maddening and exhausting. However, there are things you can do to ensure you don’t get bested by your ex-spouse.
First, learn how a narcissist works, and then learn how to stay on top of your game in the divorce with the right family law attorney by your side.
A Narcissist Wants to Win
Unfortunately, a narcissist is interested in winning for the sake of winning. This means that the divorce process will likely plant you in court, in front of a judge. Negotiation and mediation likely won’t work because being right is the biggest driving force for a narcissist.
A Narcissist Plays Games
A narcissist will do what he or she can to game the family court system. Narcissists can often be charming, and they have no problem throwing out false accusations designed to wear you down while wasting your time and money. This is how a narcissist keeps you off balance and keeps a level of power over you.
Emotional Losses Aren’t Important
You’re likely considering how your actions are affecting others in your life – your children, your in-laws, and others. A narcissist, on the other hand, only cares about himself or herself. A narcissist will engage in a lengthy custody battle for leverage, and he or she will hold important things ransom all for the sake of the trophy… the win. The win is the most important thing to a narcissist.
You can overcome the games, tricks, and manipulations with the following tactics for divorcing a narcissist.
1. Take Emotions Out of It
Perhaps the hardest part of all of this is that you need to stop feeling. A narcissist is going to use the divorce as a stage to portray you as evil and worthless. It will be easy to be hurt or justifiably angry, but you can’t let those emotions rule your reactions. A narcissist will try to lure you into traps where you’ll lose your temper or say something you regret. He or she likely knows your buttons and will push them with the hopes of getting you to flare up. He or she will then manipulate the situation and use it against you. Refuse the bait.
2. Consider a Therapist When Divorcing a Narcissist
Anyone who goes through a divorce will likely come through with emotional scarring. When you’re divorcing a narcissist, however, expect the emotional trauma to be even more difficult. Seeing a therapist during and after the divorce will help keep you grounded, will help you learn not to react, and will help you to stay emotionally healthy.
3. Make Sure Your Family Law Attorney Understands
A narcissist is great at fooling people, and your own attorney may be one who is initially fooled. A narcissist also plays games that make you look bad. You don’t want a family law attorney who actually believes those games, and who thinks your reservations about your ex-spouse are “all in your head.” Make sure your attorney understands and recognizes a narcissist. If you don’t feel confident in your lawyer’s grasp of your ex-spouse’s character, find a new family lawyer.
4. Set Reasonable Expectations
Go to your family law attorney with a list of expectations, and ask your attorney to keep you grounded. Ask plenty of questions: Which judge will best handle custody? What will happen to your assets? Be clear to your family lawyer about what you want so you don’t get caught up in reacting to all the nonsense your ex will be throwing your way.
5. Get in The Narcissist’s Head
Yes, of course you want to get as far away from your ex as possible, but right now, you need to get in his or her head. Play the devil’s advocate. How could your ex possibly twist each situation to paint you as the bad guy? Consider all possibilities so you can be prepared.
6. Keep Meticulous Records
Remember, narcissists lie. Sometimes, they’ll do it just to delay things. Sometimes, they’ll do it to create doubt about you. The fact is though, they will do it. Keep copies and records of everything, especially expenditures. That way, you and your family lawyer can more easily prove your ex wrong.
8. Hire a Family Lawyer Who Can Be Objective
Sure, you want to stick it to your ex, but don’t hire a pit bull lawyer just to have an overly aggressive person on your side. Hire a lawyer who can be aggressive, but also objective. You need a family lawyer who understands what’s at stake and won’t charge after results that aren’t worth it.
Ben Carrasco is a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney in Austin, TX who will work to help you get the best outcome in your divorce. Give Ben a call today at (512) 320-9126 or request a consultation online.