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Divorce Mediation With a Narcissist

Are you getting ready to sit down and mediate your divorce case, and you have a narcissist on the other side? Don’t do it. Well, at least not until you’ve read this article. By the end of this article, you’ll have tools, tricks, strategies, and all of that on how to do that divorce mediation with that narcissist, and actually feel in control of the process.

If you’re divorcing a narcissist, and you’re getting ready to go mediate a case, or even if you’re not divorcing a narcissist, but you are mediating a case with a narcissist, maybe it’s a former business partner or something, all the same rules will apply here.

So the very first thing that you’re going to want to think about is, be way over prepared. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make in mediations. What happens is they think, “Well, we’re just having a conversation. We’re just sitting down. Let’s just see what they have to say. I’ll just tell them what I have to say and we’ll just take it from there and hopefully we’ll get it resolved.” Big mistake. You definitely need to have a very clear strategy. You need to have your leverage ready to go. You need to be anticipating what they’re going to say and you need to be focusing on you. That’s my acronym for SLAY by the way, strategy, leverage, anticipate and focus on you and you want to slay that negotiation. In my program, S.L.A.Y. Your Negotiation With a Narcissist, I explain more about how to be prepared.

So be over prepared, over prepare, prepare as if you’re going to trial. You need to have everything ready to go. Your research has been done. You know what your position is. You know what their position is. You’re anticipating what their position’s going to be and you have your arguments ready to go. You have your evaluations, you have your appraisals, you have those supporting documentation for all of the information. You have an asset and liability exhibit ready to go. You have your arguments ready to go. You have your first offer ready to go. It better be a whole lot more than what you’re going to be willing to accept, right? So you have all of that ready to go and that means that you’re over prepared and that means that you’ll be ready.

Negotiation with a Narcissist

Step number two is be ready with leverage. A lot of people say to me, what does leverage mean? How do you get that? What leverage really just is, is kind of like a squeeze that you can put on the other person to get them to be motivated and incentivized to want to come to the table and have a conversation with you, and it’s different for every person. So it’s kind of hard to say, “Oh, this is it.” But what you do is you look at what is motivating this person the most? Is it money? Is it power? Is it controlling you? Is it that they want time with the kids? Is it that they… Which usually when you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s not time with the kids. They’ll say it’s time with the kids, but they don’t actually really care about the kids because I don’t care about anybody but themselves. So just be aware of that one.

But it might be that they’ll look bad, they don’t want to look bad. It may be that they want to move on and be with another person. It may be that they want you back or something and you kind of use that to your advantage too. Some people don’t like the idea of creating leverage because they say, “I don’t want a fight.” Most everybody who comes into my office says, “I don’t want a fight. I just want what’s fair.” Well, everybody has a different idea of what’s fair right and that’s what happens and that’s why people end up fighting, right? So, and especially when you’re dealing with a narcissist because they have these grandiose ideas of what’s fair and they bolster their contributions to things and minimize yours. So figuring out what their leverage is is going to be really, really important as well. So that’s number two.

Number three is don’t stay in the same room. A lot of times we start off in the same room, but I really highly suggest that you don’t stay in the same room. Sometimes it’s easier for the mediator to just give their opening spiel one time, what the day is about and all about the mediate. I’ve practiced law for X number of years and I’ve been mediating for this many years and here’s how many mediations I’ve done and it saves them from having to say it twice. But I don’t recommend staying in the same room with someone who can push your buttons, who knows how to get under your skin and they’re really, really good at it.

Even as self-disciplined as you are, and going back to step number one, the more you’re prepared, the less emotional you’ll be so the easier the day will be for you. So definitely make sure that you’re over prepared. But staying in the same room will just probably cause you headache and heartache and you probably won’t settle your case if you do stay in the same room anyway. So we do what we call caucusing, which means that the mediator goes back and forth and you’re in one room either by yourself if you don’t have representation, or you have your lawyer there with you if you have representation. But then the mediator just goes back and forth.

What’s great about that is the mediator can kind of work as a filter. They’ll come back and present information to you in a very neutral way without all of the drama and without the emotion involved and without the manipulation piece involved and all that sort of thing. Especially if that narcissist has been a bully and controlling, you really don’t want that because they will probably trigger you.

Okay, so tip number four is to not bring other people with you unless you’ve cleared them ahead of time with the other side. You probably won’t be allowed to keep that person there. The mediator has a duty to disclose who’s in the other room and if the other side of Jack’s to having that person there, then you’re going to have to make that person leave. So I would definitely not bring someone unless you’ve cleared it ahead of time, unless it’s somebody who’s involved in the process. I mean, obviously if it’s a forensic accountant or a custody evaluator or somebody who’s involved with the process, then they’re going to be allowed to stay. But anybody else will be kicked out of the room.

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Number five. I talked about this a little bit in number one when I talked about being over prepared. But number five is having your first offer ready to go. It should definitely be way, way more than what you’re going to be willing to settle for because narcissist is going to think that they got the best of you. So decide ahead of time what you’re going to be willing to part with and then put that into the offer.

Also, decide ahead of time what your choke point is going to be. I’ve had a client one time call it the vomit point, but that’s okay. Basically, at what point are you going to stand up and say, “I’ve had enough.” A lot of that is going to depend on what the law provides. So if the law provides that you got permanent alimony after a certain number of years of marriage and you definitely know a court’s going to order that and the other side says, “I’m not paying you a penny of alimony and that’s never going to happen. I’ll wait for the judge to order me to pay you.” Well, okay then maybe don’t settle that piece of the case and you can settle parts of cases. Some lawyers don’t like to do that, some do.

But you can just take the parts to the judge that you haven’t settled, okay? So but once you have gotten a resolution and let’s say you’ve given away what you’ve already decided ahead of time that you were willing to part with anyway, act like that was like the worst thing in the world for you, like you just cut off your right arm in order to give that person that thing. Because if they think that you got the best of them or it was okay, you didn’t care about giving that up anyway, then they’re not going to settle because they want to feel like they got the best of you, unfortunately. You kind of have to check your ego at the door when you’re dealing with a narcissist like this.

The last tip is something I’ve alluded to before and that is to keep your emotions in check. It’s so, so important because as soon as you lose your cool, as soon as you are crying, screaming, yelling, screaming back, calling them names, getting down into the dirt with them, then they know that they have you. One of the things that drives the narcissist the most crazy is when you aren’t moved by their antiques and you don’t respond. They can’t stand it because narcissists want attention. They want to know that they have control over you. So stay non-emotional.

If you are dealing with a narcissist and you want to know more about how to communicate with them, come join me at my FREE Webinar, the 3 MUST HAVE Secrets for Communicating with a Narcissist. You can sign up for that RIGHT HERE.

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