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Negotiating custody with a narcissist

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Child Custody

Narcissism is a term bandied about frequently, so much that it has lost some of its meaning. For spouses who have lived with a narcissist, they have endured a partner who lacks empathy, choosing to manipulate to get everything they want. The notion of divorce is a difficult concept for them to embrace, let alone understand.

The divorce process is challenging and emotionally charged without adding a narcissistic personality to the mix. When it comes to custody mediation, tensions usually run high as one spouse and the mediator tries to overcome the traditional mind games narcissists are fond of playing.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rare, with diagnoses coming from a licensed professional. While they are known for being compulsive liars, selfish, and egotistical, mentally healthy people can show those traits and not necessarily be a narcissist.

The challenges of mediation

Just getting them in the door of a mediation room is a significant challenge. Yet, regardless of the formal status, full participation presents challenges due to their obsession with protecting their image. Tailoring mediation to account for the potential dysfunction can take many forms and include:

  • Selection of a mediator – While both spouses must approve, a mediator with experience in personality disorders can help deal with narcissistic tendencies.
  • Selective in topics – To facilitate the process, some divorce aspects where a narcissist will not budge should be set aside for a judge in a courtroom.
  • Documentation – Paint a picture with past texts, emails, and photographs. Narcissists are experts in showing their best side with certain people and in specific situations.

The best strategy in dealing with a soon-to-be ex with narcissistic tendencies is to stand your ground. Skilled mediation combined with legal representation can help you start the next chapter of life with optimism.