Increase Your Chances of Winning Against the Narcissist in Court in 7 Basic Steps

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Nov 07
Win in court against narcissist

 

Have you been entangled in a court battle with the narcissist and just want the Judge to “get it” in regards to your nefarious ex?

Do you wonder why no one else can see what an immoral jester the narcissist is, all while you’ve had to go on medication just to make it through the day due to the emotional abuse you’ve endured?

Do you want to win in court against the narcissist by proving to the Judge that your Ex is a crazy, conniving, lying abuser who could do major damage to you and/or your children?

Or, maybe you haven’t gone to court yet, but the mere thought of it makes you recoil because you know what a good actor the narcissist is.

I hear you.  Going to court with the narcissist is enough to make you want to drive off a cliff, except that your children would then be left with the dubious antics of a bully who never matured emotionally.  Or, if you don’t share children, you could lose everything you’ve worked for at the drop of a gavel. 

So, how do you get the Judge to see how malevolent your Ex is? 

While some extreme cases will require extra effort, such as if your Ex borders on sociopathic, breaking into your home, poisoning Fido, and slashing your car tires (in which case you’ll need a home alarm system, hidden cameras, a good lawyer, and a private investigator), there are things you can do which will increase your chances of winning against the garden-variety narcissist in court (and establish your credibility). 

How to Increase Your Chances of Winning Against the Narcissist in Court

Fortunately, many of the recommendations I share here are ones I personally used that proved successful.  However, know up front that they may be uncomfortable because they’re likely actions you never thought you’d be faced with having to execute in your life.  Better to feel the burn, though, and hopefully win the case than to hand over a victory to the narcissist.

#1 – If your Ex’s behaviors are escalating, call the police and file a restraining order

Imagine this scenario – your Ex has started:

  • following you around town
  • showing up in the parking lot at your place of employment
  • destroying your sentimental family heirlooms
  • being verbally abusive to you (and your children, if applicable)
  • your pet suddenly disappears
  • the lock on your front door has been picked a few times

Yet, as disturbing as these events are, you don’t call the police or file a restraining order.

Later, you go to court for divorce or custody and try to tell the Judge about these events.  The first thing he or she will ask for is a police report or copy of a restraining order.  You don’t have one.  Your chances of winning and your credibility just took a huge blow. 

How can you prove to the Judge that your partner or Ex is unstable if you haven’t taken basic steps through the legal system?  Yeah, it sucks and you might experience intolerable levels of anxiety and guilt, but you’re in no man’s land now.  Your only hope for a possible victory is to protect yourself (and your children) at all costs.

Calling the police and/or filing a restraining order often seems like a hypervigilant act to narcissistic abuse victims because they are compassionate, empathic people who don’t like conflict.  If this sounds like you, you’ve got to understand that if you don’t follow the line of order in protecting yourself, you will only regret it later.  Your future – and your role as a parent, if applicable – are at stake. 

#2 – Visit your local Domestic Violence center and get yourself a case manager

While states vary in responding to domestic abuse cases, most Domestic Violence centers are educated in the dynamics of emotional abuse and generally work with people who have not been physically abused.

One of the most powerful steps I took in winning a restraining order against my Ex was opening a case with my local DV center.  At that time, I couldn’t afford my own attorney, but my case manager at the DV center helped prepare me so well, I won the case pro se against my Ex and his attorney

DV case managers cannot represent you in court, but they can help you in other invaluable ways.  First, when you show up to your hearing with your case manager sitting in the pews on your behalf, Judges take note.  Second, the case managers at these centers are familiar with the Judges and know exactly what each one will want from you in the form of evidence when you go to your hearing.  Third, they generally know about emotional abuse and can help you present yourself in court in a way that will be credible and effective.

Most centers also offer:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Outreach counseling
  • Case management
  • Court advocacy and accompaniment
  • Emergency and transitional housing
  • Legal assistance
  • Financial assistance for victims in a crisis situation
  • Support groups for past and present victims of abuse

Interested in resources to help you get out on your own and become self-reliant? Download below:

Win in court against the narcissist

#3 – Document everything

When it comes to equipping yourself against the narcissist in court, documentation is your best friend.  Document everything.  Get two binders – one for you and one for your attorney.  Keep copies of emails and text messages (especially threatening ones).  Print them out and put them in both binders.  Keep logs of all police reports you may have filed, copies of any restraining orders, messages that the narcissist sends you via social media, and missed visitations if you share custody of children.  If they fail to take your child to the doctor in the event of illness, document that, too. 

It would also behoove you to do a background check on the narcissist to see if there are any old or existing charges against them.  It would help your case if you could show up to court with charges against your Ex for assault and battery, restraining orders, or DUIs. 

Lastly, if the narcissist is engaging in hostile activities, such as slicing your car tires, hurting your pet, destroying your property or belongings, or being physically abusive, take pictures.  (If your situation involves physical assault, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Physical abuse is never okay or justified, even if you feel like you “brought it on”).

A word to the wise…under no circumstances should you tell the narcissist that you are documenting their actions.  While you may feel tempted to share this with them in the hopes they’ll toe the line and be responsible, it will only help them put on a better charade all, while they continue their manipulations and irresponsible behaviors. 

#4 – If you share custody, follow the court agreement to the t

Do not cave in to any requests from the narcissist to go against the agreement.  If you allow it once, it will become part of your long-term arrangement.  It not only upsets your kids’ routines, it opens the door for your Ex to continue taking advantage of you.  If you do make any exceptions, they should only be in the event of their confirmed illness or injury.  Are they claiming that they’ve broken bone?  Been diagnosed with a crippling disease?  Request documentation from their doctor. 

Your Ex needs to make their personal plans during the times your kids are with you.  Not the other way around.  If you cave each time this happens, it makes it more difficult for you to have a case in the event you want to file for a modification of custody later.

If you don’t yet have a custody agreement in place, make sure you specify in the agreement exactly which days or nights the narcissist can call.  Do not leave this area open to chance.  Otherwise, you will feel obligated to answer every time the narcissist calls…and believe me, the narcissist will use this to their advantage.  Your job is to create peace for yourself and your children.  Leaving yourself at the narcissist’s whim isn’t going to accomplish that. 

Read:  The Art of Modified Contact – 5 Steps to Lessen the Madness

The best thing you can do is change your cell phone number and insist they call you on your landline.  If you don’t have one, get one.  Then, sign up for a supervised email system such as Our Family Wizard.  This system cuts down on stealth attacks and keeps your children out of the middle.  Ask your attorney about putting this in your court agreement. 

Never use your children to relay messages back and forth with the narcissist.  This isn’t their responsibility, plus it puts them in the middle – a place they don’t belong.  They shouldn’t be burdened with adult responsibilities.  If your Ex is doing this, alert your attorney so you can modify the custody agreement to order the Narc to stop doing this. 

#5 – Don’t give the narcissist the benefit of the doubt

When you are facing court with the narcissist, do not fall under the false impression that they’re feeling nostalgic and pining away for things to go back to the way they once were. 

If your partner or Ex meets the criteria of having high levels of narcissism, you should keep this fact in mind when they contact you, pretending to be remorseful or wanting to be friends.  Almost all narcissists do this and your partner or Ex is no exception.

It’s easy for empaths and highly sensitive targets of abuse to assume the narcissist feels the same emotions that they do.  They don’t.  However, they know you want them to and so they will use this soft spot to lay on the charm or try to guilt you into believing you’re overreacting.  You’re not.  I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve worked with who gave the narcissist the benefit of the doubt and ended up loathing themselves for it. 

#6 – Don’t lose it in front of the Judge

When you’re faced with the possibility of co-parenting with a narcissist and/or losing everything to them, it feels intolerable.  It’s unfair that someone so devious and nefarious can fool the courts into believing they’re just another person trying to catch a break or get what’s fair. 

It’s enough to drive you ape sh**.  In fact, per Dr. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, people who experience long-term trauma (such as emotional abuse) often develop symptoms that clinicians may misdiagnose, such as Borderline, Dependent, or Masochistic Personality Disorder.[1]

The last thing you want to do is go into court and become unstable in front of the Judge.  You’ll need to be business-like and as unemotional as possible.  Save your meltdown for when you get back home.  At the hearing, maintain your composure, present only facts, and you will make a good impression in front of the Judge, which will pay off nicely if your Ex is trying to paint you as a lunatic. 

#7 – Don’t freak out over the narcissist’s threats that they will take your children away or destroy you in court

It’s scary when the narcissist threatens to rip your children away from you or claims they can have you carted off to prison in one court hearing.  (I was threatened in a similar manner by my Ex’s sister.  It was quite intimidating because they had money for good lawyers and didn’t mind lying in court). 

The reality, though, is that they’ll need evidence to prove you’re an unfit parent or have committed crimes so heinous, you’ll be ordered to wear an orange jumpsuit before you even leave the court room.

If you’ve been a good parent, have no blemishes on your record (such as old drug charges), and can prove you’ve been the one who cares for your children, it’s highly unlikely a Judge will rip your children away from you. 

If you don’t have children, the narcissist will still have to provide proof that you’ve taken part in shady practices in order to gain an advantage in court. 

While I can’t speak in regards to all narcissists, many of them hang themselves with their own rope.  My Ex went so far as to cry in front of the Judge in an attempt to make himself out as the victim.  But, because I had convincing documentation, had been a good parent, and maintained my composure in court, I came out the winner.  While I can’t predict the same will happen for you, following these steps will certainly give you an advantage and increase your chances of winning in court against the narcissist.

Click the button below to download your PDF of resources to get out on your own and, hopefully, win in court against the narcissist.

 Win in court against the narcissist

 [1] Herman, Judith. “PTSD: National Center for PTSD.” Complex PTSD -. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

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About the Author

Kim Saeed is a narcissistic abuse recovery expert on a mission to help abuse survivors to heal, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. She also hosts a podcast called Heal, Grow, Evolve, where she aims to help people create meaningful lives and relationships after emotional abuse. Listen and subscribe at www.healgrowevolvewithkim.com

Leave a Comment:

(12) comments

Andy September 19, 2017

Some narcissists will do these 7 steps AHEAD of you in a smear campaign, especially female narcissists who have greater access to the methods noted above than a male might

Reply
Kaylee July 12, 2017

Thank You for the post! I am fighting for my infant and its been expensive, hell and tormenting!

Reply
Mary May 13, 2017

My judge was so scared for me that i get security and have a 50 yr restraining order. But he keeps taking me back to court.

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LM March 20, 2017

I recently went through this. All I can say is this DO NOT GO AGAINST THE COURT ORDER! It will ruin all credibility and the narcissist will look like the victim and you will be “the woman who cried abuse”. I had a one year restraining order with full legal and physical custody to me. For nearly two years I had FULL PHYSICAL AND LEGAL CUSTODY of our children. Nearing the end of the year, the narcissist came around that he wanted to “Be friends” and co parent etc. Played nice, “by all the rules” and I fell for it. I felt that I had “done my work” and now we could move on as friends and co parent. I was wrong!!! Immediately before the renewal for the restraining order, my narcissist ex started his crazy scary abusive behavior. I went in for the renewal and low and behold, he presented more than 50 pictures of “our happy friendship” that he had been taking unbeknownst to me and actually told the judge we were reconciling and that this was all me being mad because he didn’t want to work it out with me. I looked like a total liar to the judge, it ruined all my credibility and now the Judge will remember us and say “wait I denied a restraining order”. He now is granted overnights (after only have a few hours -which he always missed) and holidays etc. He curses me out, curses my attorney out, throws paperwork in our faces, but in front of the judge, they are number 1 dad. The judge will look at me and say “well you never follow the court order”. BTW she is a female. We came in prepared with exhibits, pictures, etc. He did not file anything, provide anything or exchange as court ordered. Still he was given everything he asked for. The judge did not bat at an eye at his behavior or his cursing out of us, he basically got patted on the back for wanting to be a dad. DO NOT go against your order and remember they are not your friend nor will they ever be! I have now started following everything to the TEE I don’t care and I refuse to accommodate any requests. Now I am documenting and will not give up.

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Mary November 13, 2016

No court here. I didn’t bring charges against my narcissist ex. because I didn’t want my children to suffer and didn’t want them to blame me for all the trouble they would have been subjected to.
My daughter still blames me for the divorce. I think she too has a bit of her Father’s problem, though not as bad.
I tried for some thirty plus years to get her to tell me what’s wrong with her attitude towards me, but she refused to.
Now we don’t talk about it, because I stopped, but she seems to want to hurt me every step of her way.
I had a stroke 28 years ago that left me with a left sided paralysis and now that I am getting older my disability is getting much worse.
She constantly threatens to put me in a nursing home,(not in so many words,) but with indications.
She knows that is the worse thing she can hurt me with. I told all my children that if I was to be put in a nursing home, I would rather kill myself.

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Fifi November 7, 2016

My narcissistic ex managed to take my kids away and move with them far away. Get this: he now lives 4 states away, is not home half the month because of his job, and my kids are being raised by their step-mother. This is while I’m home everyday. I’m a good person too. How did he do it? He convinced his new wife to pay for a half a million rental house using her inheritance (he only makes 50grand a year). Also, this is in a southern city where it’s summer all year long. My kids were so impressed with the big house and the Neighbor riding a Ferrari, that they cried to the judge that they wanted to move. Since emy daughter is a teenager, her opinion is what changes the case. The judge let them move away, change schools, friends, environment, and be raise by a third party because they were convinced by their dad that this was for the best. Now I found myself struggling and being so angry with the world. Careful girls. A narcissistic person will do everything on get you. Oh, I now owed my lawyer 100000 $. More than what I make in a year!

Reply
    ThePinch November 7, 2016

    Dear Fifi,

    I had custody of my daughter for 9.5 years. He hired a $600/hr lawyer who is known for ripping families apart. Concurrently, he turned up the volume on my daughter, promising her a convertible when she turned 16, a private school…I think you know exactly what I mean.

    My daughter and I had a quarrel one afternoon when she was 11. She called him, and he came and got her in the middle of the night. I’ve visited her 4-5 times since.

    Forget any notions that you might have about justice. A previous judge, who is now the dean of a Law school, ruled in my favour and insisted on hearing the case again. A psychiatrist wrote up a family assessment on her order. His lawyers manouvered the follow up in front of another judge, who refused to read the assessment because of spelling errors (English was not her first language). Said that my daughter, now 12, must make the decision.

    This is how an alcoholic psychopath gained custody of my child. She is now an addict with a mental illness who has been hospitalized repeatedly. It cost me everything I had and drove me to the brink of suicide.

    Make no mistake about it, money trumps justice every time.

    Reply
      Fifi November 7, 2016

      Carolyn,

      … this stinks… It’s just not fair.

      Reply
    Kim November 14, 2016

    I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this. It’s not fair. I understand the pain. You need to stay strong for yourself and trust that things will change on their own in your favor. I’ve seen this happen before and after awhile the new wife gets sick of playing step mommy role. & ex hates having the kids around all the time. Don’t get vindictive and don’t let it make you crazy. Be productive and use this time to educate yourself

    Reply
Carolyn November 7, 2016

I wish I’d read this before going to court two weeks ago for a protective order petition I finally brought against him after he terrified my teenaged daughter. There was already a military protective order in place against him for other abusive acts he had done to me. He and his attorney both lied and frequently threw out words/terms aimed at me, such as “lies”, “does this all the time”, “lying to his Command”, etc.. but the biggest one they used was “redacted” by trying to say that none of the evidential pages and pages of abusive, threatening, derogatory text messages, emails, and facebook messages were real!! My attorney who “hates domestic violence cases” (of course, she told me this fact after she had already agreed to take this case and as divorce case, too, and I had paid her over $5000 I had to borrow!) did nothing to stop them from saying these things or having THEM prove what they were claiming. She didn’t even bring all the evidence I gave her nor contact his ex wife about the protective order she sought years prior.. The Judge actually ended up issuing a “mutual restraining order”. I was basically denied “due process” and my attorney was no help.

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Brandy November 7, 2016

I did everything listed in court against my ex that’s applied. The judge told my ex he would not be holding his past behavior against him. I was treated like a drama queen and was informed by the judge that this was just a volatile ending to a long term relationship. I showed up to court completely prepared with photos, statements, copies of emails and texts and a flash drive ob voicemails. The judge proceeded to dissolve my restraining order because my ex promised to leave me alone. We all know how honest narcissists are. Needless to say I have lost faith in the justice. Note I worked in the legal field for 23 years prior to this.

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    ThePinch November 10, 2016

    Hi Brandy,

    I am sorry that you went through this, especially in light of your experience and preparation. I also feel badly for Kim, because this article was both helpful and well intentioned. To the Narcissist, a courtroom is a stage.

    They will keep spending and grandstanding way beyond the size of the issue, and indeed, their own means. If there is a chance in hell of negotiating directly with a Narcissist, my experience is losing the battle, but winning the war. It might mean humble pie, asking “permission”, and stroking their ego.. blech! And it’s not foolproof. So send a CYA email to confirm. Hey – it’s free, and if it fails, you haven’t lost anything except pride, which flew out the window a very long time ago.

    Just a thought.

    Reply
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