Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. When children are involved, things can become all the more complicated.
When one of those parents has narcissistic traits or narcissistic personality disorder, the children can become a part of a bitter situation impacted by your ex’s egotism.
Sarah Henry at Sarah Henry Law is a top-rated family law attorney in Greenville and has years of experience working with all kinds of families and the various legal situations they find themselves in. Reach out for help mediating your child custody decision when you’re dealing with a narcissist.
What is Narcissism?
Narcissism is classified as extreme self-involvement that results in consistently disregarding the needs and feelings of others around them. They do not understand or acknowledge the effects of their behavior on other people.
Narcissistic individuals surround themselves with people who will stroke their egos. They build relationships, often superficial ones, to reinforce their ideas about themselves. Often, they can be charismatic, and their negative behaviors lie dormant for a time before coming to light.
There are two primary types of narcissism: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism.
Grandiose narcissism is marked by aggression, dominant behavior, and excessive self-confidence. These individuals will exaggerate their importance and aren’t traditionally sensitive. People showing this form of narcissism were likely treated as better than others during their childhood, either by parents, teachers, or society, for whatever reason.
They expect this treatment to follow them into adulthood, and if it doesn’t, will do everything they can to generate it themselves. These individuals are often elitist, with a tendency to brag.
Vulnerable narcissism is often rooted in childhood neglect or abuse. Vulnerable narcissists are more traditionally sensitive and use their narcissism to protect themselves against feelings of inadequacy. They often oscillate wildly between feeling extremely inferior to extremely superior to others. They often show offense or anxiousness when they aren’t treated as special.
Signs of Narcissism
Many people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder don’t seek treatment, making this disorder difficult to study. The most common signs of narcissism are as follows:
- Entitlement – These individuals believe they are special and deserve better treatment than others. They believe that others should obey their desires, and often behave like rules don’t apply to them.
- Manipulation – Controlling behavior is common among narcissists. They often exploit others for personal gain and will keep people at a certain distance in order to maintain control.
- Need for Praise – Narcissists need praise and validation from others and will brag about themselves to generate the admiration they desire.
- Lack of Empathy – Empathy is the ability to share feelings with another person. Narcissists are either unable to empathize or avoid it at all costs, so they don’t have to be accountable for their behavior.
Focus on the Facts
It may feel impossible to win an argument with a narcissist. They will do anything, including claiming you are crazy or lying, to keep the upper hand. They will only accept one result: the one that they want. They will do anything to achieve this result.
Because a narcissist may lie or use whatever they can during mediation or court to get the results they want, it’s vital to focus on what’s true and what evidence you have to prove you’re fit to have custody of the children. Gathering evidence is vital to counteract any lies told to prevent you from getting custody of your children.
Focus on the Children
The most important part is making sure the kids are safe, healthy, and happy.
Do your best to keep the children out of the situation and the mediation process, even though your narcissistic ex-spouse will likely try to drag them into it and force them to take sides.
As much as it is painful, acknowledge when it is best for your children to see your ex-spouse. If your ex-spouse requests to change a visitation so the children can attend a special event that they have expressed interest in, be as reasonable as you can.
If you think your ex-spouse might be a flight risk with the children, you can request that the children’s passports be held by a professional in the case. You may also place the children’s names on the State Department Watch List.
Get Help with a Narcissist from a Family Law Attorney
Custody negotiations are incredibly stressful and emotionally taxing. That’s true even in situations not involving a narcissist. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone when preparing for child custody mediation.
Let a reliable attorney share your burden, and help ensure the best outcome for you and your children. Contact Sarah Henry at Sarah Henry Law today at 864-478-8324 or through the online contact form below to explore your options.