There’s a good chance you will be taken to court by your narcissist, as you attempt to leave the relationship (whichever kind it may be), or that you will have to take them in order to settle some legal dispute because they will not own up and do the right thing voluntarily. You have to go into this understanding it will be a nasty, pricey, drawn-out battle, and you also have to go into it knowing that everything you assume about the legal system will not apply in this case — and that includes advice from well-meaning people who have never faced a narc in court.
See, narcissists are masters at working the system — any system — and the same is certainly true when it comes to matters in a court of law. As an empathic person, you likely have never been privy to the level of greed, deception, and distortions that a narc becomes capable of once put in the spotlight in court so you must go into this battle with as much knowledge and preparation as possible. Truly, until you have lived it, there is no way you could believe what these people are capable of. Even if someone had tried to explain it to you previously, you would have written them off and discounted them as crazy or dramatic.
I will be honest with you: it is possible to beat your narcissist in court, but it is also going to be a daily battle because you always have to be three steps ahead and you can never let your guard down. It is truly like taking a second job and will consume your time because see, a narc never stops, which means you can never stop either. While you’re being drained by the situation, they, on the other hand, are being stimulated by it so you are at a natural disadvantage. It is up to you whether or not that battle is something you can engage in. Depending upon what is on the line or at stake, you may choose to surrender altogether, give them what they want, or no longer desire to try to fight for the upper hand in the situation. It’s up to you, as always.
To be honest, succeeding against a narc in court is a bit like spotting some mythical creature out in the wild. It’s rare, requires lots of patience and faith, you’ll hit your lowest points because you think it will never happen, you get your hopes up often, when you tell someone about it they don’t believe you, and you usually experience it alone. Frankly, in most cases, victims lose. Please don’t let that scare you. A victim losing to a narc is common because of the tactics narcs use, and it is never the victim’s fault. But I do believe by being utterly prepared, you can make the best decisions in the most unfair of situations, and hopefully, come out on top against the deception instead of feeling completely blindsided by their aptitude for working the law in their favor.
- You cannot be passive. You must always be on your guard. This is incredibly painful because you’re adding the stress of staying hyper-vigilant on top of preexisting stress from abuse. You will have to get legally active and not expect the legal authorities to do the work for you. You have to be an active participant in the system because your narc certainly will have their hands on every document, paper trail, and date necessary for their win.
- Be 1-3 steps ahead of them. You know them better than you think. You have observed, reflected, and experienced the sting of their wrath. You can predict what they will do next and therefore, be prepared to offset the challenges they present. Are they leading you into admitting to something you didn’t do? Are they insinuating something that didn’t occur? Are they sending you into an entrapment scenario to make you look bad? Are they vague on purpose to later manipulate you in an effort to prove “ill will?” Use your intuition to discern what the end game is for them, and therefore, proactively protect yourself before they can do it.
- Have no pattern. Everyone has patterns they naturally fall into: patterns of thinking, patterns of communication, patterns of action and inaction. Much like a boxing match, football game, or high-stakes game of strategy, they know how to push your buttons and will do so on purpose to elicit certain responses that can be used against you. Therefore, if you do not allow them to learn your pattern, they will not be able to anticipate what you will do next, which will leave them without falsely incriminating evidence to use against you, should they abuse you and cause you to react.
- You have to document everything. In a perfect world, an innocent person doesn’t need documentation. Each time you lived up to an obligation, got a pat on the back from others, did the right thing, succeeded, went out of your way, planned that birthday party, paid for the vacation, worked the overtime, etc. needs “receipts.” To a pure empathic soul, collecting positive evidence in favor of yourself is completely foreign. But you will have to do both this as well as collect evidence against your perpetrator. Every time they have broken the law, abused you, broken agreements, refused to cooperate, relied on mind games, and more needs to be documented. Perhaps that is via recorded phone calls with them, nasty voicemails, text messages, emails, or more.
- Interview as many lawyers as possible. Wait until you find one who says they know how to catch a liar in a lie — or enjoy doing so. Give them a very specific example of the lies your narc is attempting to use against you and ask how they would counter. See if you think their answer is reasonable and insightful. In other words, you need someone who knows how to mindfuck a mindfucker. Pure souls are not good at this. Sometimes narcissistic attorneys are, curiously enough, great at this.
- Analyze your attorney’s reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc. What do the worst reviews accuse them of? Is this something you could potentially live with?
- Check in with your lawyer often. You must make sure they are doing their job. You cannot assume they know what is in your best interests and just automatically do it, then will update you. They need to be checked on as if you were their employer. They may not like it, and it may cost you more money in the end, but if you want to succeed, you need to make yourself visible and clear to them. Remember, they work for you. Narcs already know this but empaths will feel guilty for being “pushy.” But when your life is on the line, sometimes you need to get bossy. Of course, if your attorney has a difference of opinion and wants to direct you otherwise, take their counsel into great consideration.
- Get your ducks in a row. You need to look perfect on paper. Remember, a narc will go into court with the sole intention of finding any weakness and using it against you in order to deflect from the truth. So identify, what are your weaknesses? Do you need a better paying job? Do you need to work more, or find a more flexible schedule? Do you need to add in some acts of public service and volunteering to create a better case for yourself?
- Do not give your narc any evidence against you. I feel torn about telling you this because it is in direct opposition to my beliefs about speaking from the fifth chakra. Just know, if you do or say anything that can be used against you, it will. Personally, I prefer to buck the system rather than engage in it, but often it is safer to adhere to the system in place. “Anything you do or say can and will be used against you.”
- Have explanations for the accusations your narc will bring against you. Think of every which way they could accuse you and have your defense ready. You know your narc better than your lawyer does so no amount of preparatory work your attorney does can compare to what you know the narcissist wants to punish you for.
- Drug test your narc. Narcs are notorious for breaking the law yet acting perfectly lawful on the surface. Exposing their secret drug habits will give you the upper hand nearly every time.
- Never react to them, it only gives them more evidence against you. It also pains me to say this because reacting to abuse is normal. It is normal to react to torture! Sadly though, if you defend yourself it will be used against you. The court expects a victim to look like a soft white virgin doe with beaming innocent eyes who’s never said a curse word in her life, which is totally unrealistic. In other words, they will continue to abuse you and you have to “allow” them, by legal standards. This is ridiculous and unfair but legally, unless someone is threatening to harm or kill you, abuse will not be taken seriously and you will look bad in the eyes of the court for reacting. (Please know I mean methods of intimidation that will not cause you immediate harm. If physical abuse is involved, you should of course, leave or defend yourself when necessary).
- Report everything you can to police, immediately. Do not wait and do not hesitate. If it was illegal, report it and get a copy of the report. If possible, do not tell the narcissist you are reporting it so that they cannot immediately retaliate and turn the problem into a he said/she said shit show.
- Report to other authorities. If the abuse is not something you can report to police because it isn’t under such jurisdiction, then report to H.R., any form of administration, etc. and make sure you receive documentation.
- Understand that the court likely will not care that you’ve been abused. Unless you have multiple pictures or videos of attacks, bruises, black eyes, hospital records, other forms of abusive or illegal activity will not be taken seriously. Now, in some more rare cases, the court does consider abuse to be a serious matter, but in most, it is considered interpretation and therefore, not accepted as a decision-making factor. So yes, you have to have evidence of the abuse in the event the court takes it seriously, even if the court does not end up caring. Again, a ridiculous double standard and completely unfair, but it is the state of the legal system. The court often doesn’t care to distinguish a “mean” person from an abuser. Judges witness nasty behavior from people all day long. Someone mentally or emotionally harming you will barely register on their radar.
- Expect your narcissist to call you abusive. You will need a defense. You will need evidence to the contrary. Everything you say about your narc is what they will immediately turn around and say about you. You need evidence to support yourself as well as prove the abuse.
- Expect your narcissist to call you mentally insane. Get a psychological evaluation by a licensed doctor to prove them wrong. Or, see multiple doctors to get varying opinions in order to build a solid case.
- Compile records of every time you went to counseling, therapy, or a medical appointment due to the abuse. If you can, get records of the counselor’s notes so that you can have a record of what was discussed and how much it impacted your life. A narcissist will likely not have years or decades long notes from therapy sessions because they never believe there is something wrong with them. There is a good chance that you, on the other hand went to counseling to talk about your marriage, work, self-esteem, anxiety, or depression.
- Do as much research as possible. Research local laws, narcissistic behavior, and listen to the stories of those who have succeeded.
- Do not let them intimidate you. Believe me, they will try. They will taunt you, threaten you, remind you how far you have to go to catch up with them. Stay strong and do not let them get to you. This is but a tactic of a very insecure and sociopathic person who is scared of the truth.
Please understand, this isn’t legal advice. This is firsthand advice that I wish someone had told me. Use what works for you. Find new things that should be added to your list. Above all, don’t give up and work tirelessly until you get what is fair.