Preparing for your day in court with your narcissist spouse? You may be worried that the judge — like so many others — will be swayed by your spouse’s ability to turn on their charm and powers of persuasion. But with some subtle moves of your own, you can help reveal your spouse’s true controlling, combative tendencies — without damaging your own credibility. Here’s how.
First, you must remember that your family law professionals will be meeting you and your spouse for the first time, so initial impressions count. Don’t expect your judge or mediator to be the omniscient parent who will automatically see through your spouse and give you what you want – especially if your narcissist spouse is charismatic or is a covert narcissist. In order to formulate a plan to expose your STBX in court, make sure you understand how to open up his narcissistic wound.
The Psychology Of The Narcissist
The Narcissist has designed a perfect exterior to cover their deep-seated sense of inadequacy. As long as you appeal to their false self, they will value and even idealize you. But your worth is contingent on giving the narcissist the positive affirmation they crave; it has nothing to do with who you are. Your spouse may appear to love you, and may throw lavish perks your way, but they do this to manipulate you into giving them what they want. If you confront narcissists about their dodgy, abusive, or exploitive behavior, they will erupt: yelling, withdrawing, gas-lighting, etc. Narcissists can’t acknowledge that they hurt you because their fragile egos would crumble. Instead, they interpret your legitimate confrontation and hurt feelings as unfounded insults: you have wounded them by making them feel less than fabulous. Therefore you must be punished.
How Narcissists Distort Reality
Narcissists are experts at manipulating people by distorting reality in subtle ways: taking facts way out of context, appearing victimized when they’re actually the victimizers, presenting themselves as perfect parents even if they do very little to care for the kids. They do this to get a reaction out of you so they can then point out your “flaws”: you’re invariably some combination of anxious, emotionally reactive, paranoid, mentally ill, and impossible to please.
Narcissists are so crazy-making that they make you doubt the truth. This kind of behavior is called gas-lighting and it’s a form of emotional abuse. If you’ve been repeatedly traumatized, you may have become hypervigilant and over-reactive. These are normal effects from gas-lighting, but you need to learn to manage your reactions in front of family law professionals so that you don’t appear to be the troubled person your ex says you are.
Uncovering The Narcissist: Show, Don’t Tell.
Legal professionals are suspicious of spouses who diagnose their partner. So don’t show up with the DSM, pointing at your spouse as you read off the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder! If you come across as critical – and become emotional as you do so – you’ll create a bad impression. And your charming narcissist STBX, with their Machiavellian ways, will appear like the reasonable one who’s had to endure an overwrought, judgmental spouse.
In order to get a legal professional to see through the narcissist’s facade, you need to get your spouse to act the way they do with you when they are NOT in court, or in the mediator’s office. The judge or mediator needs to observe your spouse behaving badly in order to believe you. This will provide evidence that no amount of explaining ever will.
How To Trigger Narcissistic Rage
The trick to triggering a narcissistic rage is to first make your STBX look good in front of your family law professionals. Once you have done this, and thrown them off-guard, you then ask questions to expose their problematic behavior.
For instance: you or your attorney should begin by asking your spouse if they love their children. Your spouse will say yes, probably swelling with pride as they do so. Continuing this line of questioning, you then ask if they believe that loving parents should be involved in their children’s lives. Again: a vigorous “yes,” and more posturing. Now that you have appealed to their vanity, you then expose your spouse by asking them if they were present on occasions when you know they were absent: parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, birthday parties. Your spouse will probably lie, so make sure to have declarations from teachers, physicians, or other involved parties to corroborate your story.
Being exposed, especially in front of people they want to impress, will trigger the narcissist’s rage. Family law professionals will witness a distinct personality change and have proof that the narcissist’s words don’t line up with their actions.
The narcissist will be careful not to directly malign you in court. Instead, they will find subtle ways to make you look bad, something along the lines of: “she tries so hard to be a good mother, but I worry that her anxiety upsets the children.” If you react to their manipulative behavior by becoming emotional or defensive, you will look like the high-strung, checked-out parent that they claim you are.
You must remain as calm as possible no matter what your spouse says about you. If you give the judge or mediator any evidence of emotional instability, they will be more likely to believe what your ex is saying.
Stick With The Facts And Stay Calm
Winning in court or in mediation requires backing up your statements with evidence. Your opinions are hearsay, but documented facts are proof. When you’re in front of a judge or mediator, pretend you’re a reporter. Lay out the evidence that provides a narrative of your ex’s character and behavior. Remember: don’t get emotional! The more you stay calm and reasonable, the more your narcissist spouse will be frustrated that they can’t get you to look bad. Your demeanor, and exposing the inconsistency between their words and their actions, will make your spouse reveal their true personality.
Are you divorcing narcissist Before their “undercover” self-centered derails the process, learn how to protect yourself by formulating a clear legal strategy. We can help. To get answers to all your questions about divorcing your narcissist ex, including parenting time and parental alienation concerns, please contact us to schedule your initial attorney consultation. Take the first step towards securing your future. Call us today: 888-888-0919.