If you are in the process of divorcing a narcissist or are thinking about divorcing a narcissist, you are definitely going to want to prepare yourself for the ways in which they weaponize the court system. Narcissists will mainly use, what we call a smear campaign, as a part of their plan to take you down.
It is important to understand that the smear campaign that usually occurs during the discard phase of narcissistic relationships when preparing for a divorce with a narcissist. The smear campaign can start months and months and months before the divorce has even been filed. Narcissists will start dropping little breadcrumbs of lies around to their flying monkeys or to the other people that they want to line up to be on their side.
For example, they’ll start with saying, “Mary had a little too much to drink at the party last night.” They’ll do this months before the divorce gets filed and will eventually start to say these little things like, “I’m kind of worried about her.” Upon the divorce actually getting filed, they will suddenly begin to ask for sole custody or supervised time sharing or a custody evaluation based on their spouse’s supposed “drinking problem.”
I have a situation similar to that right now with one of my clients. My client and his wife have the exact same profession and own a business together. They have three children and shared custody. While they were married, they shared equal responsibilities. I thought the case would be a breeze and that we would just be drafting a marital settlement agreement. Surely, there wouldn’t be any custody or alimony issues. That certainly did not end up being the case. The wife goes on to hire a lawyer who likes to help people use the court system as a sword. Suddenly, the wife filed a motion for a custody evaluation and begins to withhold time sharing from my client. When the case starts, my client is portrayed as a terrible parent when right up until the day that she filed the petition, they were sharing all of the responsibilities for their children. This is a perfect example of weaponizing the court system to gain leverage, control, and power.
Remember that narcissists need an endless amount of supply. Supply is their food source and their oxygen. They get supply from jerking people around. Any reasonable person that goes into a negotiation is hopeful for resolution; however, narcissists are not looking for that. They are looking to find more ways to jerk you around in order to gain supply from you.
While it might not make sense to throw thousands of money in attorney’s fees in a situation to gain supply, it is certainly worth it to the narcissist. They enjoy this process although they’ll tell you that they don’t. They’ll tell you it’s your fault that it’s taking so long. They’ll tell you that you are the reason that they had to do all these things because they had to save their children by asking for sole custody or save their children for asking for supervised time sharing. I have actually had narcissist clients who would tell me that they would rather pay me to keep working in order to make their ex miserable than to actually resolve the case. It sounds crazy but when you understand how narcissists operate and what their motivations are, it begins to make more sense.
There is only one way to flip the script and shift the dynamic so that you no longer feel as if you’re being under constant gunfire. In order to stop defending yourself, you have to use my SLAY method. SLAY stands for strategy, leverage, anticipating what the narcissist is going to do, and focusing on you and your case. Employing this method will be the only way to defend yourself from a narcissist who weaponizes the court system. This method will help you to ethically manipulate the manipulator by threatening to interrupt their source of supply so that you can get out of the situation with the narcissist as smoothly as possible.
It is important to remember that if you are truly dealing with a narcissist, they will undoubtedly weaponize the court system in order to make you miserable. Expect this and prepare accordingly.