Ann Bradley

Involved with a narcissist or emotional abuser? Plan to control your emotions. Plan your exit. Malignant narcissism, narcissism, narcissists, verbal, emotional abuse, divorce, custody. Help, information, counseling and hope.

Ann Bradley, M.A.  Consultant, coach, speaker, and the author of

Let’s Talk About NARCISSISM

DIVORCE: The Real Truth and Hidden Dangers  



I am sick and tired of people being sick and tired and love to see them reclaim their life and laughter. Understanding the complexities of the situation, being able to grasp reality in a world where the geography seems to lead you nowhere, are foundational to moving out and through a tough time.

I write and you can find my books  on Amazon Kindle, iBookstore (Apple)  and The Nook.  I attended the University of Pennsylvania, Antioch College, Stanford University (Ph.D graduate studies).  I studied with Martin Seligman, PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania and am a certified Positive Psychology Coach.

I’ve had  extensive experience working with high conflict divorces and the men and women involved in them.  I am not a lawyer but I wrote my own winning brief in the 6th District Court of Appeals much to the dismay of opposing counsel, an appellate attorney.  About that experience I like to say:  “It changed me. It led  me to positive psychology and empowering people to move the mountains in their path.”

My posts are not always sweet. My book on divorce shocks some and invigorates others.  Read it and decide for yourself.  


In my not so spare time, I get involved in start ups, Tech and News of Silicon Valley.


  1. What if it doesnt matter whether you agree, disagree or ignore the abuser…he gets mad, whichever way you go and each and every way is wrong?

    • I am looking for someone in Montana or to come to Montana as an expert in Narcissistic abuse. My parents are something but I believe they are also gas lighters and abusers in other narcissistic ways. The worst problem is I didn’t know how to deal with it and after 30 years of the abuse I was ready to be done with it and didn’t want my children around it. They have now turned on me and keep trying to take my kids away. Please help me. To know more information you can look up my petition online at parents against grandparents rights.

      Thank you for your time and consideration,
      Benette Johnson

  2. Thank you for your website. I am searching for information and research based practices which lead to helping others, as you do, to move the mountains in their life. I believe a family member- a relative is a narcissist, selfish, manipulative, controlling woman toward the male family member and the family they have created! I would like to find ways to help the male in the situation dealing with legal separation, child custody and divorce without fearing they are going to lose everything to the narcissist mother!


    • Put the name of your state or city in google along with the words fathers rights attorney. That should find the help you ae looking for. Just be careful that you don’t find overly aggressive ones with an ax to grind. The courts will see right through that.And that harms the kids which is not the goal. Also, a good attorney of any stripe should be able to use the family code to help you find justice in the courts. Best, Ann

  3. HI! I am married to a narcissist. We have been married almost 37 years.(July will be 37) I did not learn he was this until about last February…It helped me to learn this and it hurt me to learn this. It helped because I realized it wasn’t all me! It hurt because I realized I will never have the marriage I wanted. He denies it…I tell him if it isn’t true then he should stop proving the material right!
    I thought many times about leaving, but I was ill and on valium for years. I have Meniere’s disease and it affects my driving. We used to live near an expressway. If I could have driven it I believe I would have left. I felt I was no good for him and ruining his life. He deserved better. Now our son is grown (still at home) I told him watching him with his dad is like watching myself…My son says I had a good teacher mom. Our son growing up with this is my biggest regret. I did get very good therapy about 1993. She helped me realize I had a voice and a right to use it. But she never told me about narcissism. My talking back and disagreeing with him was hard. I told the therapist it would be easier to go back like before. She helped me not to do that. Now it hurts to know he cannot empathize,care or probably even love me. He cannot believe he is this way… He says a man toward the end of his life wants to know he did some good but I am letting him know that he did not. I tell him it is not my fault he has this….I did not do this to him.

    • Maybe if you have to stay you might try a change of strategy and see if that works. He may have “aged” into some empathy. Is that a possibility?

      • HI ANN I did not know until today that you responded…No aging has not helped him. It is barely a marriage. No closeness at all. Our grown son lives at home and he has become my husband’s next victim. ( I have alot of regret about him.)

        • What do you do when you want out but you are 63, driving limited, and he has the money….. I did something that I did now know people could do….I shutdown for years. I just stopped living and existed. I go out for appointments. I have no friends.

          • Please look up family code for your state. Go to attorney pages and read the info they have there. You have rights – more than you may know. Make some free 20 minute apps with attorneys and gather info. But do not say a word to anyone. Just do it on the sly – and learn and plan and it will give you hope and energy.Take your time, but plan an exit. Best, Ann

  4. Hi Ann – How is the best way to find an attorney that has some experience around working with narcissism. My sister is married to a narcissist and is in control of our family’s trust fund. I just recently discovered that they have stolen money from the trust. I am looking for an attorney that can help protect me and stop them from manipulating my 87 year old mother… it’s awful… Thanks for your help… Jackie

    • Try not to use the word narcissism at first. Actually you are reporting criminal behavior. Make the facts as stepping stones to the attorney: the family member in charge of monies is depleting the trust for his benefit, defrauding the family, easily cons our elderly mother, etc. Trusts have “badges of fraud” – criminal acts. Don’t use pop culture when you can use legal system as it was meant to be used. Narcissism is a word people tend to overuse now (didn’t use to be that way, but has become so in past 5 years.) Outline the actions, attorneys understand evidence needed to proceed. They have a harder time understanding or caring about a personality disorder. Language of the law is powerful – use it. The attorney will understand someone defrauding others for personal gain – especially misuse of a trust. Fiduciary responsibility – this is the key issue here and he is the key player. Go with this. Best, Ann

  5. I recently broke off a 20 year relationship with a narcissist, he did not marry me after many promises. I moved back to my old apartment and am trying to reach him to pick up my things. He is not responding. How can I get the help I need if we were not legally married? This is frustrating and unfair.

    • Go to the police and tell them your belongings are being held hostage and you need assistance. If they won’t help file a police report. Failure to return your objects is a form of theft. Make a list before you go. Don’t act like a drama queen but a responsible victim. Police don’t like “he said, she said” disputes but they will respond to normal. Best, Ann

      • He responded finally but he said that he got rid of everything because I never picked them up. He said he has moved on and that he never wants to see me again. He is denying that he had my passport and birth certificate as well.

        • Make a list of your property and file a claim. You can do so in small claims court or pro se if the amount is above the small claims threshold. Neither require hiring a lawyer.

  6. Don’t know where to begin. I just ended a relationship of 12 years when he told me I did not need to buy underware small thing but that put me over the edge. Every time I went to see my daughter and grandkids some major problem would come up. I walked out of life with him. I have nothing but me and that is more than what I had before. When I met him he had nothing, today he is living in my home with his new girl friend. Poor girl. If I called and told her what he is she would not understand, I’m sure she is full of his lies. You live and learn and every dog has their day

    • Yes, narcissists are not gender specific. I recently tweeted the sad case of a narcissistic mother who kept her son from his father for 10 years. In December, as the father lay dying, the now 21 year old son refused to see him. The father, having given 500K cash and a house to the family, remained a cash register after his death – less than 24 hours after he died and they were already after bank accounts and assets.

      Jerks, narcissists, sociopaths, etc come in all flavors…

  7. Hi Ann,, I am in need of a Good Lawyer in the area who will understand my situation dealing with a Narc for 23 years.. I am not sure whom to trust and everyone seems to know whats best for me.. However when you hear just walk away is EASY,,, you know they do not understand half of what I have been through.
    Any help would be of an asset –
    Damaged Goods

  8. Hi – What area are you referring to?
    In general, here’s one place to start: William Eddy is both an attorney and therapist and runs High Conflict Institute – this is a great jumping off place He specializes in dealing with personality disorders in the legal system.

    My suggestion is to do research online, strategize, learn your rights, learn family code, relevant case law, and be prepared to be calm in the midst of a storm. Lawyers do not like emotional women. The cooler and calmer you can present your issues the more they will help you. Dramatically describing your case doesn’t help. And the more abuse, the more this is true as counterintuitive as it may seem.

    Best, Ann

  9. Hi,
    I am in a bad situation and need a divorce, but after years of trying still can’t afford to retain an attorney. We make too much money to qualify for legal aid. He makes three times as much as I do. He has sabotaged me financially, even manipulating me into bankruptcy. Sometimes there is not enough food in the house. He does this, I think, to try and force me to buy it. when I do, though, it eats away my savings towards getting an attorney. Because of the bankruptcy I cannot borrow money to get one. I’m at the point now where I am almost out of money. I’ve had single consults with at least a half dozen attorneys in my area. It seems that I cannot file for support because he pays for the household bills, even when he refuses to buy food. He will threaten not to buy food for small infractions, such as one of the kids borrowing his charger head. I believe that he may be hiding money, but I don’t know for sure. Some attorneys will take a case without a retainer if the husband is affluent, but we are middle class. I’m scared to represent myself, because his father is affluent. I overheard a conversation where his dad said, “If she(meaning me) wants a war, let’s give it to her.” I don’t want a war. I just want to be done. Like you’ve said elsewhere, divorce is big business. These lawyers don’t care about helping someone like me. Where would I find someone who knows how to deal with narcissism and financial abuse who is willing to work pro bono? I’ve tried two different DV centers to find free legal help, in the counties where I work and live without success. The best I can get are free consults, which I’ve already done. I would appreciate any help or ideas.



    • Hi. Sorry you are going through this. Marriage is an economic unit. You have rights to the income he brings in and to use it for an equitable attorney situation. There is case law for this in California as the state does not want one party unable to obtain counsel. Your state case law most probably has something similar. Many attorneys will not tell you about this because it means extra work on their part to assist you and shows which party is difficult and has the cash (the other party!). I was lucky to meet an atty who gave me the case law in a free meeting at the local (Palo Alto) Bar Association.

      Do a Google search and see what you can find out. You have rights. More than you are aware of. Learn them. Use them and use wisely the info you got about how much they want to harm you. You may want to read my page about this:

      Best, Ann

  10. Hi Ann,
    I am being persecuted by a narcissistic mother who has been sabotaging and gaslighting me for years. More recently she has falsely charged me with elder abuse as a tactic to have me thrown out of my home. She has persuaded a psychotherapist of the truth of her lies. I live in the Bronx, New York City. What competent therapists and attorneys who deal with narcissists do you recommend in my area? How do I begin to protect myself from her latest assault?

    • Hi – sorry you are going through this. I don’t have any names for you but all attorneys understand criminal, sociopathic, or violations of civil codes. If you can reframe this to take out your emotion and report that you have a drama mama on your hands with hidden agendas and who appears to be heading to dementia, you might get some real help. Try not to use the word narcissist. It is over used. You can just as well explain the behaviors with more commonly used umbrella terms. Instead of opening with “I am being persecuted”, find another way that shines light on her, not you. Perhaps, “I need some legal advice in dealing with an increasingly problematic mother. She’s always been difficult but now her behavior has escalated…” and take it from there. Be calm, in control of your emotions and you can prevail. Best to you, Ann

  11. Hi Ann,
    Do you know of any attorneys that are experienced with litigating against narcissists in North Carolina?

    • No, but don’t identify the problem that way – attorneys respond better to ” a difficult spouse who wants to fight about everything and is hiding income.” Or whatever your issues are. If you label him a narcissist you may be called on for labeling someone with mental disorder (NPD) – of course if he has been diagnosed this with NPD, all systems go! Even saying, my spouse is a jerk is easier understood. You may however find the help you need here; She’s a Florida attorney, great resource on this site. Lots of info and maybe someone who knows someone in NC. Best, Ann

  12. Hi. I am married to narcissist. I have been for seven years now. I use to adore this man. But after getting tired of being the only responsible adult in the house with five kids, I’ve begun to realize that I was being used. He may brag about himself and set himself up as high authority in our home but in the end he is not. He depends on me for everything. He does not have a car, He drives mine which I make the payments on. He does work. But, somehow I end up paying all the bills with pay check. He does not help around the house including yard work. When it comes to the kids and making sure they are in line and have what they need, Its all ME. We don’t do anything as a family and if we did, it was what he wanted to do and the kids had no say. I’m not allowed to have friends. If I ever did even talk about going shopping or just talk about a friend from work, he would find some way for me not to have anything to do with them. I would get talked down to and I would get the (your a married woman. you shouldn’t go hangout with friends. Your place is here.) He would always find a way to make me feel bad about myself.
    Last August I told him that I was not happy and that I wanted a divorce. He begged and promised me that things would change. They did a little for the good. He has started coming to church with me and the kids. And he does spend time with us. But, he has become very controlling & smothering. He has put some kind of stalking app on my phone to where he can see all my emails, texts, location and many more. At one point it was so bad that he was driving by my job numerous times of the day to see if I was leaving with someone or if I was lying about being at work. That is when he lost his job for driving the company car and lying to his boss about where he was and his time while being on the clock. I worry about my kids. He’s not physically abusive but he does threaten me with little comments about hurting me and doing away with me. I’m constantly thinking about leaving but I’m scared that he will find out before I do. I don’t know what he will do. I need a plan and I don’t know where to begin.

    • First, be calm. Emotions can be dangerous at times like this. Calm will let you think. It will also lull him into not knowing you are hatching a plan. Katie Holmes did all her planning behind the back of a huge organization: Scientology! They and Tom Cruise had no idea and stealth mode of abuse is their trademark. You can get out of this but it will take planning. Don’t talk to people – loose lips sink ships. If there is a keyboard logger on your computer? Be careful. Use the library. Or just pretend you are helping a friend. Begin by interviewing some attorneys. Many give free 20 minute consults. Look up your rights for your state. You have economic rights. BE CALM. No drama mama or no attorney will want you. If you are calm around spouse start taking a few hours for yourself. Be determined: “I’m a better wife and mother when I get a chance to recharge.” Go to park, let him follow you. Then start branching out – coffee bar and bookstore. You can learn a lot in bookstores in divorce books. There are helpers everywhere – look all over this site too for more on divorce. Plan, plan, and plan. It brings hope to your overwhelmed mind. You can do it. Best, Ann

      • Thank you so much for the advice. You are so right about being calm. Its so hard though. Its all so much to deal with. I know its the right choice to leave and get my kids out of this situation. But, I worry how is it going to affect them. How are my teens going to rebel? I am an over thinker. But I do want to make the right and safe choices. Our middle child is actually my bonus child (step daughter). We’ve had custody of her for 3 years now. The thought of her thinking that I would leave her kills me. I plan to actually fight for custody of her. I honestly doubt that he would put up a fight. I’m just scared. I know that it will all work out its just so hard when I’m alone in this. Thank you for your advice. -Jess

        • Don’t worry about every issue, every moment. Easier said than done, I know! Use planning as a zone of hope and take it from there. Be sure and let everyone know you believe it is in the best interests of the child to have a father in their life. The reason? Usually it is, and it makes you appear less revengeful and dramatic. If they are abused, harmed, etc, that’s a different story. Come up with a plan that looks reasonable so you look more acceptable to judges, evaluators, etc. If you come up with a reasonable plan and act reasonable, no drama, he might look bad if he fights too much. It’s strategic, it’s understanding human nature, and still doing what is best for you and the kids. It’s not a perfect world and you won’t achieve perfection but divorce with a difficult spouse can be hell. Try not to get there. The reason he might fight is $. Less custody to you, equals less he might have to pay in support. Google family law in your state and start learning – you aren’t alone, there are always helpers, Best, Ann

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