PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas June 2024

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 83

Narcissism in a Divorce The Challenges of PAPERCITY PROMOTION D e a l i n g w i t h a narcissistic spouse during a divorce can be quite complex and emotionally draining — and it takes guts. I s y o u r s p o u s e a narcissist? Are you a narcissist? We hear the term bandied about with reckless abandon these days. A narcissist frequently exhibits one or more of the following characteristics: a pattern of grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Narcissists want to present an untarnished image to the world — but inside, they are plagued by insecurities and doubts. Narcissists often make amazing entrepreneurs; the very traits that make them excel in business, however, can handicap them in personal relationships. Their lack of empathy can often thwart the need for collaboration and understanding when dissolving a marriage. Difficult communications, grandstanding, and intolerance for human foibles complicate and prolong divorce cases. Elisa Reiter — who is Board Certified in Family Law and Child Welfare Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with more than 30 years of experience — offers some strategies for dealing with narcissistic behavior in divorce. Challenges Posed by Narcissists Narcissistic individuals create challenges on many fronts, given their tendency to: • Exploit and manipulate others in their orbit for personal gain. • E x h i b i t a n i n f l a t e d s e n s e o f entitlement and disregard for rules. • Distort facts by gaslighting. • Lack impulse control. • Be devoid of empathy for any other person — even their own spouse and children. Coercive Control Narcissists showboat. The best house. The best car. The model spouse. The perfect child. Narcissists also exert coercive control over their spouses. While physical violence is often a key part of coercive control, it is only one part. Coercive control usually involves other forms of manipulation, including sexual exploitation, financial control, and emotional neglect and abuse. Children are harmed in the process as they bear witness to coercive control exerted by one parent over the other. Instead of helping with the child's education, said education can actually be undermined by the parent who is exerting coercive control. "Just don't do your homework." … "Don't worry about missing baseball practice when you're with me." … "Let mom/dad worry about helping you with your homework when you get back to their house — let's just have fun." Children see, hear, and know about the ill treatment of one parent by the other; worse, the errant and controlling parent is modeling behavior for the child that can be carried forward to the child's adult relationships. When someone has been criticized for years, such an individual finds it difficult to find their voice and dissolve a relationship that has grown detrimental for themselves and their children. They need an advocate who will represent them zealously. Strategies for Effective Representation Divorcing a narcissist presents numerous challenges that require specific strategies for effective results. Here are some key takeaways and tips for choosing the right attorney to represent you when divorcing a narcissist: 1. Data What is it like representing a narcissist? This is the client who, when I call searching for answers, responds, "I'm running a two- billion-dollar-a-year industry. What do you need now, Elisa?" Narcissists gather but hoard information. Your attorney should be able to help you get and stay organized and focused. Narcissists bend 74

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity Dallas June 2024