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How to navigate child custody with a narcissist

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2020 | Child Custody |

As any divorced person knows, the process leading up to the granting of the final divorce decree, although necessary, is not fun. Divorcing Tennessee residents who are parents understand the challenges of negotiating all aspects of the divorce process, but child custody issues may be especially difficult for many people. Those who must deal with a spouse who is a narcissist, especially when children are involved, may experience an extremely difficult time during negotiations and beyond, but they can ease the process by learning more about what makes a narcissist tick.

What is a narcissist?

A narcissist, typically, requires excessive admiration, possesses a grandiose sense of self-importance and lacks empathy for others. Divorcing parents who have had to fight a child custody battle with such a person certainly face a difficult situation. People in such a position are best to avoid trying to present a psychological analysis of their spouse in court, nor should their attorney attempt to do so. Rather, they should focus on the narcissistic parent’s behavior patterns and how his or her behavior affects the child(ren) involved. Negotiating with a narcissist can be extremely difficult, since, most often, narcissists will not accept any result other than the one they want. They will try to gain control of the situation, sometimes by creating delays in the divorce process, and they may blame the other parent and try to present that person as mentally unstable.

How to deal with a narcissist in a custody situation

People who must face a narcissist in court are wise to keep a few tips in mind. They should keep records of all relevant interactions, including items such as report cards, photos and a diary of everything that happens during the divorce process. A diary could be used in court, so it should be written with this possibility in mind. Any communication with the narcissist should stick to the facts and be polite and courteous and focused on the children’s needs only.

Most divorcing individuals find the process fraught with stress-filled, challenging times. People dealing with a narcissist, especially in child custody situations, tend to experience a different level of challenges, as they must negotiate with a person with an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement. Whatever the circumstances, many Tennessee couples turn to an experienced family law attorney to guide them through the divorce process.