Custody Mediation with a Narcissist
Custody issues can get nasty under the best of circumstances, but when you’re dealing with a parent who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), the situation is likely to become a battlefield—with your children on the front lines.
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
People diagnosed with NPD are obsessed with themselves, just like the Greek god Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection. That’s where the term came from.
Parents who have narcissistic tendencies believe the world revolves around them. They care only for themselves, their status, and how others perceive them. They lack empathy for others—even their own children—and they will use anyone around them for their personal gain.
Narcissistic Parents Can Traumatize Children
What are the two things children want most in the world? Their parents’ love and attention.
When one parent has time only for number one, the children suffer. They spend their time trying to gain that parent’s attention and approval, having no idea that they could never truly please the parent.
You would think that someone who’s that worried about his or her own magnificence wouldn’t have time to battle for child custody, but think again. Those with narcissistic personality disorder often see their children as an extension of themselves, rather than as individuals, and they may fight ferociously to keep them.
Part of the reason they do this is because they hate losing, even though they care little, if at all, for their children’s true happiness. They aren’t likely to give up their children without a fight, so get ready. Harder still is the fact that people with NPD can mask their behaviors, putting on a front as the perfect parent.
They think of divorce as a game or a challenge they’re determined to win because they’re better than you. It probably sounds hopeless. How can you possibly come to an agreement on custody issues in mediation with someone like that? But don’t give up yet.
How to Reach a Custody Agreement with a Narcissist
This will be very difficult, but it is possible. Here are a few tips that may help you reach a custody agreement during mediation, rather than taking the case to court:
- Contact a good lawyer familiar with narcissistic behavior.
- Limit contact with your ex as much as possible, ideally only communicating during the mediation process. Those with NPD may want to agitate you to force you to make mistakes.
- Avoid playing the game, if at all possible.
- Remain as calm as you can. The only way to win against a narcissist is to take away the control he or she has over you.
- Document everything. Sometimes, the only proof you have of a narcissist’s behavior is your word against his or hers, so you’ll need to have hard evidence to back up what you’re saying.
A Custody Mediation Attorney Can Help
Unfortunately, even when you’ve done everything possible to reach a reasonable custody agreement with a narcissist, he or she can decide it would be better to burn everything down than let you “win.” That’s when a family law attorney from the Law Office of Laurence J. Brock can help you take your custody case to court.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case. Fill out the form below or call 909-466-7661.