When the other parent in your custody case has a narcissistic personality disorder, it can result in a toxic battle. Alex Falconi aka the Proper Person went through a custody battle with his ex-wife who he says has a narcissistic personality disorder. Below is what he had to say about dealing with someone with a narcissistic personality disorder in a custody battle.
Somebody with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will either attach themselves to a conflict or they'll avoid conflict. Most of the time narcissists avoid conflicts. Most of the time it's preferable to a narcissist to just cut someone off instead of engaging in an argument and conflict. But once they choose that they're going to fight it ends up becoming what is called a “narcissistic space” for them. Then they start to garner narcissistic supply for it and from it and then it becomes an addiction.
Underneath the hood, narcissists are just junkies. They are addicts and they're addicted to the conflict. You’re dealing with almost like an animal and they can't help themselves. They can't stop. You end up having to annihilate them because if you don't, they'll annihilate you and your child. It's just the way that they work. Once they start to get attached to the narcissistic supply they usually can't let it go. They get addicted to it. Typically they'll talk to their co-workers about it, family members, and their friends about it.
They project this illusion that they are some kind of hero that's protecting the child and unless they're losing the case then they project this illusion. They see themselves as Goliath fighting David. They are either winning and they're the hero and when they’re losing they’re the victim. They are convinced that something is real that isn't real. If you're going to protect your child against a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and they're attached to the conflict of their custody case you’re going to have to curtail their parental rights as much as you possibly can. It’s sad but it's what you have to do. I hate having to say something like that but they're just absolutely extreme.
The only thing they respond to and they only understand force. The best outcome with them still being involved is a very strong judge who really lays down the law which is probably going to include incarceration a few times. Then maybe they'll stop but it's not because it's what's best for the kids it's because they think if they do the wrong thing, they will end up going to jail. Narcissists understand force and power, and authority. They don't understand kindness, benevolence, sincerity, or authenticity.
Narcissists are very gifted at spinning what is happening so as they look like the victim. I call it pretexting. Pretty much any time the narcissist is going to abuse you or they're going to violate your rights, they'll do it with a pretext. They never say "Ha Ha, I am going to violate your rights, what are you going to do about it?" because they know they will get in trouble.
Narcissists find a pretext or an excuse or a reason or they'll take something that you have done and then they'll manipulate it in a way to make it look like something else. That's just what they're used to doing. That's why it helps so much to learn the gray rock method and to learn communication skills so that you can disarm them as much as you possibly can.
That is what I ended up doing in my own custody battle with my ex-wife It made it a lot harder for my wife to do the things narcissists do. One thing I would say if you are going through a custody battle with a narcissist you have to become a master of communication. Then the other thing is anticipating their response. Anytime something comes up the parent has to learn how to do this because they're the ones creating the factual background. Every time the narcissist does a certain thing or send a message or whatever they have to figure out what their ex is done and what they're going to try to do or say to get out of what they've just done.
When the dental neglect came up I thought to myself what is she going to do to get out of this? If I accuse her of it number one she's going to try and say it's not happening so then I got the red coat tests done. Number two she's going to try and say that it's my fault completely or that it's both of our faults.
What I did was I made sure to take him to the dentist right after an exchange to have the dentist's office do the red coat test. So I thought in advance, what are the defenses that my ex-wife is going to use and how can I counteract them? And that’s how my family law attorney built an airtight case and that's how I ended up winning. The best thing that you could do is learn how your NPD ex thinks and when you have a particular thing that has occurred find out how you can confront it find out what their possible counters will be and minimize or cut off those counters as best you can.
The dental example is a good example. I would have been oblivious. I wouldn't have done any of that stuff I wouldn't have gotten red code tests. I wouldn't have taken him to the dentist right after exchange. I would have gone to court and she would have lied and said oh it's his fault - he doesn't brush now.
When I had a dentist go up on the stand and say Alex came in at 3:30 p.m. and I did have an attorney for this hearing she questioned my ex and said when does he pick the child up you know the judge can see a child is picked up at three based on admission of pecks dentist said at 3:30 redcoat test was conducted she's saying that it's all his fault well according to these tests right after her drop off she's not brushing it really makes your case very clear.
You have to be crystal clear because these guys are masters of obfuscation and confusion. They don't mind playing dirty and they're very ruthless about what they do. What they like to do is try and get you to do the same thing which just causes mass confusion.
Now the court can identify those problems and so if you have to create the sharpest contrast you possibly can and that often means you often have to act like a machine sometimes. Turn off all your emotions because the judges just don't have time to figure out easier if you just make a crystal clear contrast.
The sharpest contrast possible is going to help you win.
Many people don't like him because he himself is an NPD, but I recommend Sam Vaknin. When it comes to breaking it down to the almost molecular level he's the one to go to. Sam Vaknin helped me take all the emotion out of analyzing the narcissist and he also helped me sort of understand that it wasn't a spiritual or good versus evil thing. People with NPD are more like an animal and react off their feelings. This doesn't mean they're not complicated. The things that they do are complicating and confusing but they themselves they're a simple machine.
They need narcissistic supply and they base all their decisions off that. I wish that I could give people a source that is more happy-go-lucky or one that is more palatable but as annoying as he is, as much as people hate him, Sam Vaknin is the one that helped me understand my ex.
One of my favorite videos from him is “Narcissist's Language as a Weapon”. It explains how they communicate to you. It drives people nuts that narcissists are not like us but they're not like us so you have to figure out the way they are and try to understand it. It helps to back off of the good versus evil stuff or the spiritual stuff.
None of that stuff really matters to a narcissist. Narcissists are just machines and predators they see you as prey and they pounce they attack. People try and make it out to be more than they really are but that just makes it more frustrating.
Sam Vaknin wrote a book called Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited . He is the author of other books about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and relationships with abusive narcissists and psychopaths in various settings. Everything that he says in his videos on his YouTube channel is exactly what my ex-wife was. It was like the molecular match, a clone and it was a perfect description and then it helped me understand why she was doing the thing she was doing.
I got to the point where I figured out the way my ex-wife operated and I wouldn't communicate with her in the sense that I thought she would understand and want to do what's best for our son. I communicated with her to convey the information that I needed to win my next motion.