The dominant feature of NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an exaggerated sense of self-importance. One of the most troubling aspects of narcissism is a lack of empathy which can create serious problems in the family dynamic. The National Institutes of Health publishes case studies.
The Golden Rule is no-contact. This is especially true when in custody mediation with a narcissist. No contact means no calling, no texting, and definitely no arguments. This minimizes conflict and grief for you.
The narcissist is going to try to push your buttons so no contact basically means going cold turkey away from your partner until the court date is over. Period.
Should I Bring Up My Partner’s NPD in Court
Most likely you will not be able to use the diagnosis of NPD in court, but you can inform the judge about the issue and they will hopefully make better decisions in terms of the kids.
Narcissism is a disorder that goes undiagnosed on a regular basis. Even when it is recognized, judges seldom accept it as a plausible disorder. Even if you’re sure you’re dealing with someone that has a clinical case, unless they are willing to go to a therapist and receive a formal diagnosis, it cannot be presented. Don’t underestimate them. Even with a definitive diagnosis, the narcissist can be so charming that they’ve been known to hold juries and even judges in their sway.
The child may come under the same influence. If the judge decides to put them on the witness stand, the NPD parent might try to influence their answers and the children may just go along with what they are told to say and agree with the narcissistic parent out of fear or intimidation. For this reason, your lawyer may advise against asking children to testify.
Single-parent households are on the rise. Pew Research found that U.S. children are more likely to live in single-parent households than their counterparts abroad.
Co-parenting is very popular but it’s important to remember that narcissists may constantly strive to get the upper hand and live to get revenge. Just remember, if you decide to co-parent with a narcissist, they will be in your life and your children’s lives for the long run.
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Parental Alienation Syndrome are disorders that the court system has only begun to recognize. PAS can result in detachment from parents and have a negative effect on bonding. Even diagnosed cases are hard to prove but if your child’s symptoms are severe enough and properly documented, you may be able to use this as evidence against the narcissistic spouse.
Document every incidence of narcissistic behavior that causes damage to the child. That means you will collect texts, email messages, and posts on social media. Make a record of conversations any time your partner crosses the line and does something that could help your case. Witnesses can help too and if you have someone who sees firsthand mistreatment of the children at the hands of the narcissist, that can be considered evidence.
Also document what the narcissist does not do to be a good parent. Do they regularly miss birthday parties? Do they miss physicians’ appointments or sporting events? Anything along these lines that you can document as cold hard fact will be another checkmark against your ex.
Going no-contact, being proactive, and having good follow-through will greatly improve your chances of setting up an ideal arrangement, even when you find yourself in a difficult custody mediation with a narcissist.