Kim Saeed:  Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Personal Growth
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Win in court against narcissist

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

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 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 precisely 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 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 – 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 into 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 a 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 narcissist 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.  

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 courtroom.

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.  While I can’t predict what will happen to 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.

Leave a Comment:

25 comments
Renae says September 19, 2018

Oh my goodness. Reading some of these just scare me more. I’m exhausted mentally and financially after 2.5 years and 40k dollars. I just don’t know what I’m going to do to retain joint custody and sanity from the abuse. Losing hope.

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    Nancy says September 20, 2018

    Sorry to hear that. They do manage to exhaust us and drain us in every way. I owed 160000 to my lawyer… I am a teacher! I only owe 66,000 right now (yeah, only). Read these posts, read books from kim, and h g Tudor. Good luck.

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Cherie says July 21, 2018

Amen!! I am going through this right now. When I saw your comment about eating your lunch, and convincing you that you I ate it is right on!! I call it ” telling lies to me, about myself”

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Nancie says July 15, 2018

I love to read all of this I honestly do but it’s now to the point where I am homeless he was ordered 6 months ago to pay support and has not done so I had an attorney up until 3 weeks ago when I asked him if the judge knew that my lights or turned off and the water was turned off and now I’m homeless my attorney responded very hostile and mentioned that he hadn’t been paid either which the judge ordered my soon-to-be-ex to pay for my attorney fees I do not know what to do I’m very alone that I’m frightened 10 months ago I had a home and a life I haven’t had water for over 30 days and I haven’t had any electricity I poor cat starved herself to death and I’m sorry to say I’m right behind her I cannot maintain a job or even look for a job when I can’t even be clean my local shelter for Abused Women is exactly that I need to be abused it’s disgusting and it’s frightening and I’m not even sure it’s for real please help me

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    Kim Saeed says July 15, 2018

    Hi Nancy,

    Where I live, there are many charitable organizations that would help someone in your situation, including soup kitchens. I would seek out: social services, local churches, after-school programs for low-income people, Salvation Army, homeless shelters (not all are for abused people). If you haven’t already, you might want to contact the National Homeless Coalition: http://nationalhomeless.org/references/need-help/

    Or VOA: https://www.voa.org/homeless-people

    You should be able to go to your local library if you need a computer to look up places in your area that can help.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Kim XoXo

    Reply
Valerie McCubbin says June 29, 2018

I am divorced from my Narc for 3 years but the hell continues. In the past 24hrs I received 36 threatening emails from him because I want to travel with the kids during the holidays. I have reported it to the police, again. I tried taking him back to court to amend our agreement but he has the judge wrapped around his finger falling for his bs. I am at a loss at the moment and feel like handing the custody over to him. I can’t win in court.

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Natalie Sylling says June 23, 2018

Has anyone found it helpful to get character references and witness statements both against the narcissist and for the victim?

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    Kim Saeed says July 13, 2018

    It depends on your state. I would not, however, try using the label ‘narcissist’ at all, especially if you don’t have a professional diagnosis. You might use the term “emotionally/verbally abusive”. It would really be best to contact an attorney who knows the laws in your state and is familiar with the Judges in your jurisdiction.

    Best of luck.

    Kim

    Reply
Sunny says April 27, 2018

One of the biggest mistakes I see, are that most of you should have avoided overuse of attorneys.They are needed dont’ get me wrong, but, that is part of the abuse of many narc”s socio”s and physco”s.IF they can’t stay in your wallet one way they will do it another.Its designed to financially break you.They hope to get you to the point of being dependent on them another or the state.They simply have transferred control.Except they now use the court to some degree to attempt to achieve this.Its truly pathetic.If you have kids they will use it indefinitely yes even if the kids are grown.Then its just emotional.Look as painful as this is to write I know its even more painful to read.IF you don’t have a support system that can or will take custody of your kids and its bad enough[life threatening serious injury from physical abuse] you may want to consider adoption.Its the only method that frees the kids to have a normal life and will allow you to go on with your own [free of the freak].Does this amount to extortion and no real choice.Yes and the key word is no real choice.Its a choice though and if its bad enough you will take it as its the only one available.At least the only viable one.
Note
For what its worth I hate adoption with a passion.I wish in one sense it were made illegal.Then the courts would be forced to deal with the freaks of human nature in a more responsible sense instead of forcing mainly mothers to choose that option.

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Karen says January 29, 2018

Kim, I’m glad your situation ended the way it did but I am here to tell you that your children CAN be ripped away from you even if you have been a perfect parent. It is happening to my husband right now, and it is heartbreaking. If he had the money to hire the best lawyers, the situation may be different. But he doesn’t. His ex – the narcissist – was able to rip his children away with a mountain of false accusations. The reality here in Ohio is that fathers are assumed guilty and then forced into bankruptcy to prove their innocence.

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Kirsten says December 5, 2017

I hate to see all of you suffering at the hands of a narcissist like I have as well.
I have been divorced for 10 years. My ex threatened to never let me see my kids again when he ‘pounced’ after a short lived relationship with a boyfriend that had serious issues and threw me and our 2 kids (ages 9 and 16) out. It took me a few days to secure a new apartment while living at a friend’s house. Anyway, he demanded I send our son ASAP or he would throw me in jail…all that stuff. He said he was afraid to leave the kids with me (as if I were a threat to them!), you know the story. Against my better judgment, I decided to send our son then 9 as he had been missing his Dad who had moved away 3 years earlier after he remarried and I guess had no use for the kids at the time.

Since then, it’s been living hell. Every year we are in court due to another malicious attempt at controlling or hurting me in any way he can. He has a full-blown parental alienation campaign in full swing and our son, now 13, is not the same. I’m reading ‘a kidnapped mind’ and it’s eerie how similar it all is.

We will have joint custody on paper, but even so, he is always scheming. Just a few weeks ago he served me with contempt papers saying I had committed contempt because our son asked what the outcome of our horrendous year in court to adjust our parenting agreement finally ended out of court. I did not end up taking him to court as my son pleaded with me not to do so as he said his Dad said he would have to testify against me. I believe my son was asked to text me to request a copy of the final agreement in which it states who gets what vacation/holiday etc. My ex is claiming it’s contemptible as one of the court orders forbids us to discuss ‘the litigation’ with our child in any fashion aside from in a ‘therapeutic’ environment. I never thought our 13 year old could not be shown what is black and white, an which involves him directly. This happened in January, and my ex is just now serving me. They hang on to anything they can to use against you. I recently got engaged to a wonderful man who had a narcissistic ex-wife and knows about this all too well first hand. I assume my ex is after me now because he knows I’m happy…

I cannot go no-contact because of our child, though my ex has done everything in his power, and will continue no doubt, to be sure our son wants nothing to do with me. My ex copies texts off his phone from me in case he can use anything and I never hear back from any texts. I may get to actually talk to him twice a month, if he picks up the phone on our regular Monday night calls.

Sorry so long. I’m sure we could all write a book with 100 chapters 🙁 I wish there were something we could do, especially in the court system. I have lost many times and I’m not sure which is worse, winning or losing at times, as winning means he will retaliate.

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    Lorrie Eubanks says December 20, 2017

    I can assure you, you are not alone. I speak with mothers like you every single day and help to advocate for women who are facing false allegations of “parental alienation”. You can turn this around. Sending positive thoughts.

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    MARIE says March 6, 2018

    I’m 46,000 dollars into battling my ex who happens to be an attorney for custody of our 6 year old. I have primary and 2 days after I got married he filed on me. Its been a nightmare. He never stops.

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Andy says 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

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Kaylee says July 12, 2017

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

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Mary says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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!

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    ThePinch says 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.

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      Fifi says November 7, 2016

      Carolyn,

      … this stinks… It’s just not fair.

      Reply
    Kim says 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

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Carolyn says 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 says 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 says 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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