Defense vs. Being Assertive – Legal Battles with a Narcissist

Last week, when I met with my daughter’s therapist, I received a litany of items that I need to change or do.  These items aren’t from my daughter’s therapist, they were being passed along from my attorney to my daughter’s therapist to me.  How annoying.

My take is that my attorney has been scarred by the experience of my court case, which defied all laws of logic.  When we went to court three years ago, there was so much that happened through that 3 day custody hearing that should have protected me and my children.  However, it didn’t whatsoever, and in fact, I was penalized and required to pay legal fees for my ex for having tried to protect my kids.

That was then, this is now.  What I find interesting is the different approaches from my attorney & my ex’s attorney: being on the defensive vs. being offensive.  My ex’s attorney is offensive (in every definition of the word).  He will argue for my ex regardless of whether it makes sense for me or my children.  He turns everything around in my ex’s favor…. for e.g. arguing that the issues my son displays must be because he spends so much time with me, and therefore he should have more time with his father.    Gee… maybe it’s the raging and physical hitting that is having an impact?  Oh yeah.. my ex’s attorney behaves that way also, so I’m sure he sees it as acceptable.

Nonetheless, what happens is that my ex’s attorney calls my attorney and will yell about a litany of items which are based on nothing.  They are lies, facades and pure bullcrap.  My ex will say how I am trying to keep him out of his children’s lives (err.. not because there isn’t very substantive reason), and then manufacture all sorts of other stories.  There is no basis to these stories, no proof, etc.  My ex believes there is, but there isn’t.  This is the offense… the strategy is to create the fire and then the opposing side has to spend time defending themselves.

In reality, what needs to happen is my attorney needs to be on the offense.  She needs to attack about how the ex’s behavior is detrimental to our children.  However, she doesn’t – maybe because she doesn’t want to show her cards, or reveal too much such that my ex is further scaring our children into not talking.  Again… regardless of the reason, it isn’t happening.  What does happen is that we fall ploy to their tactics.  My attorney (who I want to advocate ruthlessly for me) calls me, the good parent, and goes through the list of all the complaints, and all the things that I am doing which MAY play into what they are accusing me of doing, and may be perceived as keeping the children from their father.

This is then handed to me at a time when I am most worn out mentally and emotionally in dealing with how my children are impacted by their father’s vile, abusive behavior.  I complain, and my attorney tells me it’s not her job to be my friend.  No… I’m not asking for a friend… I’m looking for a ruthless advocate.  I am looking for an attorney who will take the projective statements made by my ex and his attorney, and hold up a mirror to them so that the negative energy goes right back at them.

My vision…  the truth is revealed and  understood by all:  that my ex/children’s father is abusive and that it is in the “best interest of the children” to do something which protects them such as limited supervised visitation.  This isn’t because I want their father out of their lives… it is because I can never change their father into being a positive influence (or even neutral) as I would wish, and the next best alternative is to protect my kids in an environment where they can still spend some time with their father.


19 Responses to “Defense vs. Being Assertive – Legal Battles with a Narcissist”

  1. ginny says:

    I have a similar problem but mine is I think my ex is paying all attorneys off because he has the money. Every time I give information to help me with my case the ex;s attorney seems to be a step ahead, I purposely gave goose chase information and it was presented in court which made him look like a fool

  2. D says:

    Is anyone out there still? I just found this and close in a lot of ways but still need advice or someone’s experience on stuff to help inform me?

  3. Heather says:

    I def. agree to hire an attorney who has the ability to be the bigger badder bulldog. They are expensive but worth their weight in gold.

    • Yeah – but I don’t know who that is in my area!

      • Heather says:

        Arrg. that sucks! Can you connect with someone who knows legal in your area? maybe sit in on some divorce cases being tried in court? I did lots of research be4 hiring my lady. But I know that’s expensive and I’m blessed to have some resources. I used them well…but will be paying off my gal for years.

  4. E says:

    AHHHH! I was feeling this way and couldn’t describe it until a few months ago. I have literally lost 90% of everything I had with my son because of an attorney that would never be on the offense. I asked her countless times to file emergency orders or contempt and she would always say, “Well, I’m not sure we should do that, we don’t want the judge thinking we run to court before mediation.” As opposed to what my ex does? The judge seems to be okay with him doing it. I have been drug into court 6 times since February of this year on frivolous crap. After the 5 time losing, I fired my attorney and hired a bulldog. He asked me what I wanted, I told him and he gave me a very specific list of what I needed to do to achieve it with him.

    He got the latest contempt charge dropped. He said we needed to strategically retreat and lay low while he builds the case. (After he asked if my ex was a narcissist, followed by a what the H*** did your previous attorney do for you?) Keep in mind I have been divorced from this prick for 9 years. I wish I could convey how having one of those attorneys has eased my mind and allowed me to focus on my son. The phone calls and e-mails have all but ceased from my ex and his attorney and its not just the typical calm before the storm if you know what I mean. It was because my attorney started calling his attorney and asking the same stupid questions that I have had to answer, like- My client said that you left your son with a babysitter for over 3.5 hours on Friday, is this true? Or my favorite- My client has informed me that your client text their son at 9:01 last night. Is your client aware that there is to be no texting the child after 9:00? You know the stupid crap that takes up time and money?

    The aftermath of being with a narcissist makes it more difficult to respond in an offensive way naturally. I love your blog! It keeps me going! I actually printed out little strips of paper with your blog address on it and when I meet a person that needs to feel the validation of handling a narcissist, I pull one of the strips out of my purse and say with excitement, “READ THIS BLOG!”

    • That’s great to hear! What is frustrating to me is that my attorney has a great reputation – she’s well respected by the judges, and she has a psychology undergrad. Her memory is immaculate – she can remember every little thing in my life better than me. She spent the first 8 years of her career only focused on domestic violence, and then afterwards still mostly DV. She is my third attorney, which also makes me skeptical of switching again. I had one that I thought was a bulldog (heck, she yelled at me), and even she would tell me what an jerk of an attorney my ex has and that he screams and pitches fits in court. I have studied the landscape of attorneys here – and I’m not sure where to turn that would be better. I need a good honest conversation with her on whether she’s burned out, and if I should just find someone new. I have no money left, though – so that’s also the frustrating part.

      Thanks a bunch for your encouragement on my blog! It keeps me going with it even when I’m tired and frustrated.

      • Heather says:

        He is going to fight you. What else can you move the fight to?

        Basically, you need to use his tactics against him when it’s impossible to shut down the fight. The attorney doesn’t sound bad. She sounds overwhelmed. Pick the 1 issue you need her to bulldog on and figure out how to stratgize the rest. Make a BIG HUGE deal about issues that are not at all important to you and see if you can get his attention away from the issue that is (I’m assuming his behaviors around the kids).

        • Hmmm… very good point. So maybe filing the child support motion to show cause make sense since I would trade his money for my protecting our children and don’t actually care about it anyway.

  5. brandi says:

    I am still here and following your blog natalie- going through such similiar stuff, getting quiet and not quite knowing how to handle it all. wish i could hug you -know you are appreciated prayed for and not alone : ) brandi

    • Thank you so much! That means a ton. I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with the same. It sucks. I’ve been thinking about trying to get some publicity for a friend who’s dealing with someone who’s filing contempt after contempt charge against her. There is some great headway made on making others aware of abuse on the ex and children post divorce, but more – much more is needed. Judges need to stand up to it and stop it.

  6. Michele S says:

    I can relate. I just got one of those letters from my husbands attorney via my attorney. After my usual anxiety attack, I realized that its all smoke and mirrors, or an attempt to distract. I am holding to my truth. I have also realized that there are several ways my husband reacts, the only thing that changes are the circumstances. They are
    1. Either he knows absolutely everything, or claims to have not known about it at all.

    2. He will only admit to something if he looks like a good guy for admitting the truth. Usually he will not admit to anything, he’s in law enforcement.

    3. If I accuse him of something, he accuses me of the exact same thing. He tries to get me to react(and I have)

    4. He will put up smoke and mirrors to try and distract everyone,

    So if I can put this to use I am trying to figure out which tactic he is using and then squash it. They really aren’t that creative, and are stuck in their own narcicissim.

    I am hoping this helps navigate the craziness of everything. I haven’t put it to complete use yet. I have 11 more years to “coparent” with this abusive sadistic moron.

    • Thanks! Good points. On #3 – it’s something frustrating that I notice with people who have low frustration tolerance. I think using “I” language can help to not envoke their defense mechanisms. Also love that you say they aren’t that creative… so true. It’s mostly the same thing over and over.

  7. Julie says:

    Have u thought of changing attorney? It doesn’t sound like u believe your attorney can take on the x and his attorney. It is so very difficult to deal with an NPD, they can wear down and tire most individuals. I think it takes a very strong attorney to deal with an NPD. It always amazes me how an NPD can be so charming relentless, and they pathologically lie and can cry almost on cue. I have read that often when a family has an NPD they will try to have to normal family members modify their behavior to not set off the NPD since the NPD can not be controlled. This is the wrong approch, NPDs need rules and authority to be managed. An NPD can never see weakness, since they are glorified bullys.

    • I have thought of it. I want to talk with my atty and ask her point-blank if she wants me to change counsel. What’s interesting in my case is that neither my ex or my ex’s attorney are charming… whatsoever! My ex is good at invoking the “look how I am a wonderful dad, and she is blocking me from my children’s lives” guilt trip, but he’s not charming!! I am thinking that there is something to what you are saying – that using aggression against them may make him retreat more quickly. Plus – regarding not filing a contempt charge for child support – it feels to me that all I am doing is saying to the court “I don’t need the money from him anyway” and then when we get to court on it they won’t press for it. I think it needs to be shown how he’s picking what he pays for (horse lessons, clothes that match his image and his own atty fees) and omitting what he doesn’t want to (psychotherapy, child support). I would love to show how he has unresponsibly lost every dollar he owns in order to not pay support.

      • E says:

        A few questions for you based on my own (unfortunate)experience:

        Have you thought about having a male attorney? Narcissist men are usually drawn to narcissist attorneys. A male attorney might get more accomplished outside of court.

        Look at the title of your post. Filing contempt is offense and the best way to go. Put him on the defense in front of the court. This has been my number one mistake over the past 9 years. By not filing contempt any of the numerous times I could have, it gave him time to get his poop in a scoop so he could go on the attack towards me with full force, thus putting me in a defensive position constantly. Keep him off balance if at all possible. (at least that is the best approach with my ex if I am unwilling to stroke his ego, which I am not.) Beat him at his game before he starts playing it.

        Has your attorney requested 3 years worth of bank statements yet? In my state, you can. I went over his statements meticulously and found numerous discrepencies from what he told the court and the IRS. I turned him into the IRS and am waiting patiently to use what I found in court.

        Has your attorney asked you what you want? This is how I hired my new attorney. He litereally said, “How much time ideally do you want with your son, how much child support, and what else do you want?” After I told him he said, “Great, I need you to do this, this and this and I can get pretty close to all of that. Just give me a little time to build a case against him.” That is what I should of done years ago. Found an attorney that wanted to get out of my ex what I wanted. This sounds harsh but I know what is best for my child, not his father. I would never ask for anything selfish anyway as I am sure you wouldn’t.

        • Hi there 🙂 Just spoke with my attorney about filing the rule to show cause / contempt for not paying child support for the past three months, without notice to me that he wouldn’t even be paying. She plans to file for discovery – very invasive and request a pile of things very close to the time of trial to limit their ability to file discovery in return. I would love to look through the financial records and see what’s there for IRS. I’m sure that there is the same similar stuff happening. He’s always deliquent with the IRS and is often on a payment plan.
          My attorney hasn’t asked me what I want – she knows I want my kids protected. She just doesn’t think she has the definite evidence to go into court and get it. She seems concerned that he will file for a change in custody, but doesn’t say how he has the foundation to do that. I just told her I would rather file first to put him on the defensive instead, but she wants to have evidence from other sources on how this is impacting the kids – which is hard to do when I’m having difficulty also getting our son into therapy. I only have my daughter’s therapist and then school as well. I may reach out for a consultation with a new attorney just to get a fresh perspective. I agree that a male attorney with a number of wins already in place against my ex’ attorney may be the best route.

  8. abigail says:

    Thank you for your website! I have been praying that God would bring someone into my life who understands. As we know, no one really understands unless they’ve lived through “it,” because it’s hard to accept that someone could actually be that way toward their own family–especially when they are so charming toward others. God bless you and all of us who are trying to do the right thing in the midst of a very difficult situation. God’s love embrace and protect our children.

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