Webster’s Dictionary defines a narcissist as “an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance.” If you think you may be in a relationship with a narcissist, then you probably experience some of the following qualities in that person, as explained by Psychology Today:
- They are a conversation hoarder and love to talk about themselves. They are dismissive or ignore your feelings.
- They interrupt a lot.
- They love to break rules and ignore social norms, and they do things like cutting in line, stealing office supplies, breaking appointments, and disobeying traffic laws.
- They violate boundaries and disregard other people’s thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space.
- They try to impress others to make themselves look good.
- They have a strong sense of entitlement.
- They are often very charming and persuasive.
If you have a child in common with a narcissist and are considering divorce or separation from the other parent, there’s a good chance you can expect to have a custody battle on your hands. So, how can you win a custody battle against a narcissist? Here are some recommended tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in this situation:
- Hire a certified matrimonial lawyer. The stakes are very high when dealing with custody, and you want to make sure you have an expert in your corner. Hiring an attorney with a specialty certification in family law can assure you of the best possible legal advice.
- Plan a strategy. Your attorney will help you identify your goals for custody, but remember that winning against a narcissist may not include sole custody. Even narcissists have parental rights to custody unless they are proven to be harmful to the child.
- Take the high road. Don’t take the narcissist’s bait or engage in arguments and manipulation that are designed to scare you. Listen to your attorney – they have your best interests at heart.
- Be extremely thorough in gathering proof. Since narcissists are often charming and persuasive, you will want to be very thorough in gathering proof to support your custody claims. Your attorney will help you understand what proof is needed and how to go about gathering that information.
- Only communicate with the narcissist in writing by email, not by text or telephone. Text messages and phone calls are risky because they include many opportunities for miscommunication and manipulation of the communication that takes place. Get yourself a segregated email account that you use only to communicate with the narcissist.
- Stay calm. The worst thing you can do when dealing with a narcissist is to fall prey to their tricks. They will push your buttons to try to get a reaction. Disengage from them and stay calm at all costs.
- Do not involve your children. Do not expose your children to your communications or dealings with the narcissist, and if you cannot avoid being with the narcissist and the child at the same time, always take the high road and disengage from any inappropriate or inflammatory communication.
If you are ready to start taking the next steps toward a divorce from a narcissist, give us a call. The attorneys at DeTorres & DeGeorge will help you get the most out of your case and your custody battle.