What kinds of questions do you ask a narcissist in child custody? How to deal with a narcissist during child custody? Going through a divorce with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be an excruciatingly painful and tedious process.
This disorder cannot be treated by medication, but only through talk therapy which those suffering from NPD often reject due to their false belief that everyone else is the one at fault. Unfortunately, this keeps them stuck in a state of denial while still inflicting pain on surrounding individuals.
Parenting is difficult for anyone, but it can be exceptionally hard for those living with NPD. To protect their children and themselves, individuals suffering from this disorder require help from outside sources.
Keep on reading to learn what kinds of questions do you ask a narcissist in child custody.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The following are some of the symptoms of NPD, which were put together by the Mayo Clinic, that can provide an idea if a person or his or her former spouse has NPD:
- An exaggerated sense of worth
- Sense of privilege
- Profound need for unnecessary attention and admiration
- Obsessed with illusions about achievement, power, intelligence, or the ideal partner
- Superiority complex and thinking that he or she can only mingle with exceptional individuals
- Anticipate special favors and automatic obedience to his or her expectations
- Exploit other people to obtain what he or she desires
- Cannot or will not acknowledge others’ needs
- Problematic relationships
- Lack of compassion for other people
- Respond with anger or disrespect to demean the other individual to make him or herself seem exceptional
- Trouble controlling emotions and conduct
- Undisclosed feelings of self-doubt, embarrassment, helplessness, and disgrace
When fighting for custody of your child with a narcissistic former spouse, it is essential to engage an attorney who has dealt with those types of cases before. This lawyer will be able to ask the right questions designed specifically to identify any evidence or indicators of narcissism and observe how they react in response. In this way, you’re more likely to have success in court!
What Kinds of Questions Do You Ask a Narcissist in Child Custody?
During a custody with a narcissist proceeding when inquiring of a narcissist, one should aim to frame the questions in such as way that will invoke their narcissistic behavior so the court can observe first-hand. Therefore, an attorney might initiate with some harmless queries like:
- How many children do you and your former partner/spouse have together?
- Do you wish to remain an active presence in their lives?
- What does shared custody mean for all the individuals involved in this situation?
By asking these questions, the narcissist can show off and impress others. So, once your attorney gives them a chance to declare their good familial intentions, they should transition into queries of a different nature:
- Is it true you have not spoken to your children in three months?
- Is it also true that you have not paid child support in six months?
- Have you frequently threatened to take away the family residence before your children?
These questions are designed to bring out the narcissist’s true nature in a crowd that they desire to impress. This can provoke their anger and give family law professionals an opportunity to observe a change in character, further proving that what someone says doesn’t always match with how they truly feel or act.
How to Prove Your Former Spouse is a Narcissist
Here are some steps for you to prepare and deal with a narcissist in custody court:
#1 Collect Documentation
Maintaining a clear record of your former spouse’s narcissistic inclination will help you. It can be something as easy as keeping a calendar and noting any arguments or disturbing behavior he or she exhibits. Keep in mind that this calendar will be presented to the court. Attempt to assume an impartial viewpoint of the other party and avoid any name-calling in the calendar.
If the conduct becomes excessive with a myriad of texts or phone calls, or the narcissistic individual exhibits stalking behavior like showing up at your place of work or home at improper times, generate a paper trail. Phone the police and begin constructing a case to cease this activity. It’s prudent to do so immediately. This way, when this behavior arises in court, you can show that you took proactive action to stop the excessive events.
Additionally, begin making a list of other people who could act as witnesses to these characteristics. A few terrific witnesses would be impartial intermediaries like your children’s teachers, coaches, or babysitters. Then, examine your ex’s social media posts and activity, and take screenshots if you think something can be utilized in establishing their narcissism. Lastly, save every text message and email between yourself and the narcissist, and write down every conversation you have with your narcissistic former spouse.
#2 Help the Judge Understand the Truth
A few of the major clues that a person is a narcissist is a gap between how he or she presents him or herself to other individuals, what he or she claims, and what his or her actual behavior is. In most cases, he or she will not implement his or her given possession or visitation periods, but then bring a case or file lots of trivial motions to exchange custody. The narcissistic parent will frequently be able to obtain excuses for their acts and try to hold his or her former spouse or an intermediary accountable for them. The narcissist seldom ever acknowledges any fault.
#3 If Necessary, Request the Court to Talk Directly to the Child
In a few cases, judges will talk to the children in private and not in front of their parents. They should only do this if the child is old enough to converse efficiently and knows why he or she prefers one parent to the other. Well-practiced judges and judges who are parents themselves frequently know how to converse with children and can establish the truth of the narcissistic parent’s behavior outside of the court.
Getting a Narcissist to Bare Him or Herself in Court
#1 How Narcissists Twist Reality
Narcissists are skilled in manipulating individuals by twisting reality in devious ways – taking facts way out of context, looking as if victimized when they are really the victimizers, showing themselves as ideal parents even though they do very little to look after their children. They do this to get a response out of you so they can then highlight your faults: you are always some mixture of apprehensive, emotionally responsive, fearful, psychologically ill, and impossible to satisfy.
Narcissists are adept at causing you to question the truth. This type of conduct is known as gaslighting, and it is a kind of emotional abuse. If you have been constantly hurt, you might have become hyper-vigilant and over-reactive. These are common behaviors as a result of gaslighting. However, you must learn to handle your responses in front of family law specialists so you do not seem to be the unstable individual your former spouse is trying to paint you as.
#2 Exposing the Narcissist: Exhibit, Do Not Tell
Legal specialists are apprehensive of spouses who diagnose their partner. If you appear to be judgmental—and become emotional as you explain what is happening—you risk creating a bad impression. Your persuasive narcissist spouse will appear to be the sensible one who has had to bear an overwrought, critical spouse.
In order to persuade a legal specialist to see through the narcissist’s pretense, they must witness the behavior for themselves. If the judge or mediator is able to glimpse your spouse exhibiting the narcissistic behavior firsthand, this will offer the best proof making it more difficult for your spouse to justify it away.
#3 Do Not Respond
The narcissist will be cautious not to directly slander you in court. He or she may instead find ways to make you look bad. If you respond to these attempts by becoming emotional or apologetic, it may only strengthen the appearance that there may be truth to your spouse’s claims or that you are somehow an unstable parent.
It’s essential to remain composed and demonstrate your capacity for self-control, even when faced with adversity, in order to present yourself well before the judge or mediator — regardless of how any comments from your spouse are perceived.
Q: What kinds of questions should I ask a narcissist in child custody?
A: You should focus on what kind of behavior and attitude the narcissistic parent is displaying towards their children. Ask questions about how they communicate with each other, what type of parental involvement has been taking place, what activities have been enjoyed together, what sort of parenting methods have been used, what type of discipline tactics have been used, and what kind of emotional support the children are receiving. Additionally, you should request the court to talk directly to the child in order to assess what kind of relationship exists between them and their narcissistic parent.
Q: How do I expose a narcissist in court?
A: You can expose a narcissist by providing documentary evidence of their behavior and attitude, such as emails, logs of conversations, or records of phone calls. You can also provide witness testimony from those who have been present in the household when the narcissist is displaying this kind of conduct. Additionally, you should ensure that you are not responding to any attempted provocation from the narcissist in court, as this could create an impression that what they are saying is true.
The best strategy when dealing with a narcissist in a child custody case is to use proof and exposure of the narcissistic behaviors. Documenting all communications and interactions will help corroborate your claims to help you gain sole custody of your child and out from under the influence of his or her narcissistic parent. Lowering yourself to a narcissist’s level is not constructive.
Exposing the narcissist and having the evidence to support your claims will help others, especially a family court judge, see what you see. Make sure to check out what kinds of questions do you ask a narcissist in child custody to prepare yourself for the next custody court.