• McKenzie Friend Australia

Tips for Self-Representing against a narcissistic ex-partner in the family court

Updated: Jun 8, 2019

I would suggest the main reason you’re in the turmoil of the family court is because your ex has personality distortions creating a chaotic interpersonal relationship between the two of you. Needless to say, there’s high conflict, no resolve and you’re feeling like the only way for peace is to give your ex everything.

At a further guess some of you may be dealing with a malignant narcissist - the most destructive kind. So, I could safely assume there has been and still is domestic violence in many forms, and if you have children together, they are being used as pawns to control and torment you mentally, financially and physically.

Your ex-partner is a `domestic terrorist’ who’s actions indicate to you that they are totally consumed and obsessed with making your life hell. Yet, they come across as charming, lovely, intelligent and nice when in the company of others. They take their human face mask off when the doors lock at home exposing:

  • A lack of empathy and no remorse for their behaviour;

  • No propensity for real love, acting out repetitive acts of deliberate cruelty and ugliness to cause great emotional or physical harm focusing on you;

  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance being arrogant and judgmental in attitude;

  • Entitlements of self-importance as he/she believes they are superior to you in every way;

  • Suspicion and cynicism as they truly believe you have nothing but bad intentions;

  • They exert themselves on you through constant abusive communications, they just can’t stop because they have a constant need for validation and reinforcement to support their high opinions of themselves;

  • A propensity to outright lie, manipulate events and facts to paint a false picture, rather than face the truth about their limitations. So, they blame you as the scapegoat making their failures yours; and

  • Mental health or substance abuse issues.

Sound familiar? You must read on……

As a self-represented litigant you are probably thinking ….. the court must know the true about them, they can’t win then?

Of course, if you tell the court about your ex’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I will put money on the fact the following will happen:

  • The judge will `let you have your say’ for a while before moving onto something else, they actually feel is relevant to the case.

  • You’ll be the one who is labelled – as someone who is trying to paint your ex in a bad light. I know it is not right or even justice, but this is unfortunately what your ex's lawyers are paid to do.

  • They’ll think you are not child focused if it is a parenting matter.

  • You’ll waste the time you have to focus on your own case.

  • You’ll give your ex and their lawyer / barrister ammo to use against you somewhere down the line in the court case.

McKenzie Friend Tip 1: Don’t go to court to try to prove your ex is an outright narcissist if your matter is about property. The law doesn’t care if they are where property is concerned. Let it go. Focus on obtaining full disclosure, the flow of assets, liabilities and contributions and containing the property pool until trial.

McKenzie Friend Tip 2: The law isn’t designed to hand a more positive result to you in a parenting matter because your ex may be a narcissist. The family law system does have to consider allegations of domestic violence, which is a separate issue. Although many DV abusers are narcissistic to some degree.

So, at this point you’re saying to yourself - but this personality disorder is driving the entire court battle. It’s harming my child. That it’s the reason you’ve split up with your ex and why he/she managed to get you arrested etc etc. Here’s some more good reasons why taking this approach won’t do you any good.

  1. Because you’re an `interested party’. You’re probably not going to be impartial…even if you are a world authority on narcissism.

  2. Because you’re not a single joint expert.

It would be a lot quicker, easier and cost effective if you knew of a doctor who has already pre-diagnosed your ex with NPD. But a person with NPD would not have disclosed this information to you as they don’t believe there is anything wrong with their personality and behaviour. They think you are mentally disturbed.

In short, I know you feel this guttural need to expose your ex-partner to a Judge as a narcissist. But let’s face it, this is more about your need and satisfaction because of all the damage done to your world. If you pursue the `my ex is narcissistic’ line you’re choosing time, effort and quite possibly money to fight a battle that isn’t going to help your case to any great extent.

If you want to get your ex diagnose with NPD that’s your prerogative but don’t make this your entire case for a parenting matter. You must be aware that expenses for this exercise could be awarded against you. A court appointed psychiatrist may only spend a couple of hours interviewing the candidate which isn’t adequate time for an in-depth assessment. So, this could backfire giving you a ‘negative’ for NPD.

McKenzie Friend Tip 3: You can ask as an interim order for an expert psychiatrist to be appointed to determine if your ex has NPD. Don’t be surprised if the other side request for the same assessment of you.

You must show reasons why you are seeking this order. It is in your best interest to detail events relevant to your case with no emotional garbage or personal medical opinions. You want the Judge to make their own mind up that your ex could have a mental disorder such as NPD.

For more specific tips on managing your property case against a narcissist see my blog entitled “Up against a Narcissist in a property law matter? Real life Tips for Self Represented Litigants ”.

For more specific tips on preparing your parenting case against a narcissist see my blog in June called “Compiling your Affidavit and Orders for a parenting case as a Self-Represented litigant against a narcissistic ex-partner”.

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