How to Beat the Mind Games Narcissists Play in a California Divorce, Part 2

Does this sound familiar? You thought being married to a narcissist was all mind games, until only to sadly realize that divorce they are worse in a divorce! The process only amps up your ex’s fervor to gaslight you, blame you and play the victim!  In a previous article, we discussed strategies to combat those tactics, and this article is part two of this exploration on how to identify the mind games narcissists play and how to fight back.

Manipulative Bargaining.

  • Narcissists use manipulative tactics such as threats or emotional blackmail to gain advantage in divorce negotiations. 
  • Combat this tactic by consulting with an experienced family attorney before making any decisions relating to finances, custody arrangements or settlement. Your attorney can analyze your specific circumstances to help you assess what is reasonable and what is ridiculous, and the knowledge can be very powerful in helping you avoid being manipulated. 

 Financial Abuse.

  • Narcissists use money as a weapon to exert control and gain power over the other person, which can include hiding assets, depleting joint accounts, or otherwise using money against you. 
  • Combat this tactic with evidence and organization. As soon as possible, and before filing if you are still contemplating a divorce, document everything. Know where every asset is. Screenshot or save evidence of where the money is located and how much is there. Consult your attorney about any specific strategies that may be used to prevent financial abuse in your situation.

  Parental alienation. 

  • This game is one of the hardest to cope with, as the narcist attempts to undermine the relationship between you and your child, perhaps with lies, false accusations, or subtle behaviors to manipulate your children’s perception. 
  • Combat this tactic by focusing only on you are your children, which is very, very difficult. The more you love your children, and give them your time, attention and devotion, the stronger your bond with them will be. Have confidence that will days, months and years, your love and kindness to your children will be recognized and the manipulations of your ex will be revealed to them. 

 Legal bullying and Smear Campaigns.  

  • Narcissists commonly engage in legal bullying with excessive litigation for control and intimidation to harass you, drain your financial and emotional resources, and prolong the divorce. They engage in smear campaigns of false information or rumors to try to get people to turn against you or to gain advantage in the divorce. Their goal is to exhaust you into giving up. 
    • Combat this tactic with an experienced divorce attorney. If you find someone who regularly practices family law, then they will likely have forms and experience to leverage to reduce the cost and help you stay strong and fight back against legal bullying. 

 Boundary violations.

  • Narcissists tend to ignore boundaries by invading your space, accessing your confidential information or attempting to control you in other ways. 
  • Combat this technique with effective planning, deciding ahead of time what your boundaries are, and enforcing them. Protect your personal information with new passwords or other safeguards. Put communications in writing to create a paper trail. You may even need to arrange for third parties to be present as witnesses or protection if you anticipate that an event or an exchange will be highly confrontational.  

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Dealing with a narcissist is typically challenging, but at the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in family and understand the tactics used by narcists to manipulate you and to try to manipulate the legal system. We will help you fight these tactics and successfully navigate the challenges of your California divorce. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.