Divorce and the Narcissist

A narcissist will target and attack. Do not react.

1. Keeping emotions under control is the one factor that can make or break your situation.

2. Too much emotion and you risk being labeled a drama mama. Or too emotional if a man.

3. You will be attacked and lied about. The normal response is to become emotional. Don’t.

4. Remember in divorce that your narcissist is a pathological liar. Prepare for that



In Court

Listen carefully to the question and turn it around in your mind to a positive for you. Try to think before you answer. Silence is golden when used correctly. It makes you look calm.

Be non emotional when attacked. “Well, Mr. Smith, isn’t it true you regularly beat the children?” (and if you don’t), then answer, “No, it isn’t true.” You don’t have to explain that when your then 2 year old ran out in traffic 12 years ago, you spanked him. Your spouse has probably lied to the attorney giving the deposition, so this will be your chance to set the record straight, but not with long winded explanations, just the short and simple truth.

Think of this as a game, a verbal game – opposing counsel is trying to rattle you.

Be calm, and when he says, “Isn’t it true you are on the computer all the time?” (meaning, “you neglect the family”) respond, “True, I have been on a lot, but my children’s book is now finished and will be published next month.” This deflates the opposition and rattles them as you begin to feel power.

For inside story on a divorce in Silicon Valley with a narcissist – fraud, lying, and unethical opposing counsel, read Ann’s book at Divorce and Lawyers   You can also find it on Amazon.  Divorce: The Real Truth and Hidden Dangers 

Co Parenting With a Narcissist.

Male or female, this has to be one of the worst hells.  S/he will try all sorts of control maneuvers, perhaps through the attorney or on his own.  If there is one area you want information and to learn what to do, it is here. The courts are moving to default 50-50 custody arrangements. You will be forced to parenting classes.

You will have to arrange times for pick up. You may have enormous schedule changes.

And the narcissist in your life will find any excuse to make you look wrong, bad, uncooperative and as if you are not acting in the best interest of the child. DO NOT ENGAGE. DO NOT ENGAGE any more than necessary. If you are being told otherwise, get a second or third opinion.

Learn what the courts want to hear.

This is the best recommendation I can make.

SmartMoney.com quotes Ann Bradley:

There’s a correlation between having an attorney and having a long legal battle.  Divorces in which both parties have a lawyer take nearly four months longer than when both don’t have legal counsel, according to a 2010 study by Marquette University Law School.  One possible reason: Those most likely to hire counsel have “complicating factors such as higher husband income, longer marriage and minor children,” according to the study. But the researchers also concluded that “it is possible that lawyers deliberately extend the process so as to collect higher fees.” Ann Bradley, author of Divorce: The Real Truth and Hidden Dangers,  goes a step further: “Some lawyers add fuel to the emotional drama to keep you fighting.” 


AN ATTORNEY speaks on depositions with a narcissist

submitted by several people, the name of this attorney is unknown

I am an attorney and have recently gone through and finished a divorce with my ex-narcissist spouse.  I also had my deposition taken (I have taken many myself.) I hereby offer you some gratuitous legal and strategic advice which should by no means conflict with whatever your attorney tells you. Not knowing which state you live in, it is impossible for me to offer any specific legal advice, and it would be improper for me to do so anyway.  I scored a perfect “100” in my deposition taken by my narcissist-ex and lawyer.

I adhered to the following rules:

1.  Never look at the Narcissist. The lack of attention will be very upsetting to the Narcissist. It  is a kind of narcissistic injury. Do not acknowledge their existence.

2.  Whether their lawyer believes their BS is irrelevant.  There is an old reworked saying – “Hell  hath no fury like the lawyer of a Narcissist scorned”. The lawyer may try to rattle you or make you uncomfortable. Ignore such attempts. Remain calm, cool and professional and answer all questions honestly and slowly. Give your lawyer time to object before you answer.

3.  Most Important!! ALWAYS tell the truth even if you think an answer to a question will make you look foolish, silly, or anything else. Do not attempt to explain your answers to make them sound better. Keep your answers brief and to the point. Do not ramble or tell stories.

Regarding Depositions: Just remember that the purpose of a deposition is not to change anyone’s mind. The purpose of a deposition is to “freeze” your testimony in writing so that any change or departure at trial can be used to hang you. That is why it is so important to tell the simple truth and not to embellish. Do not try to prove yourself right or narcissist wrong.

The time and place to deal with the narcissist is in the courtroom. Let your lawyer do his job. Family law judges are used to the lying and emotionality that goes along with divorces.  You must wear the white gloves and do nothing to indicate to the judge that you are sneaky or vengeful.

To summarize:

The real trick to beating a narcissist in court is twofold in nature.

FIRST: To catch them in a lie when they are on the stand is sublime.

But, you must have ABSOLUTE, UNCONTROVERTIBLE proof of the lie, proof  that is admissible in court by rules of evidence or by unassailable testimony.  When confronted with the impeaching evidence, a narcissist will react with fury, more lying (which will be visible to everyone except the narcissist) and will in general actively discredit themselves.

SECOND: The second part of the process is more subtle.  If possible, your counsel should structure the cross-examination of the narcissist to bring out and allow him to magnify his or her grandiose self.  It is often enough just to let the narcissist be himself or herself.  Emotionally-healthy  individuals can generally see through the false self and discern the true motives of the narcissist.

Remember, though, at the end of the day, family law courts are generally not interested in the emotional aspects of your divorce. Most states are “no fault” divorce states, and even though judges are people and have emotions, generally they are interested in numbers and custody issues. Judges do tend to ignore all the drama, but if you can get a narcissist to lie under oath and properly expose them, this will have a bearing on the witness’ credibility with the judge.

That is why it is SO important for us to tell the truth at all times no matter how foolish we may think we look AND for us to conduct ourselves in a calm, rational and dignified manner.

Ann Bradley


  1. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just
    preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned
    more from this post. I’m very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.

  2. I need help I don’t know were to turn. My ex husband was kicked out of the Navy for being Narcissist. They stated he was in danger of himself or others. That was in the spring of 2006. In the winter of 2008 he filed for divorce because he desrived someone that was pretty and I was no longer meeting his needs. From the start he made lies up about me. That I was crazy and that I was not a good mother to at the time our 4 year old son. He would make up false paperwork and file it with the courts. The GAL at time saw through his lies and even though I had many faults ( after going to counceling it was clear that I suffered from abuse) that our child should live with us. From that day on he he filed paperwork trying to hold me in contempet of court. For example I would turn our child over at un resonable times. When in truth I would be going to work and dropping our child over to him so he could watch him. The paperwork cont to filed. We finally went into court. After thinking that I had nothing to worry about because I dis proved his lies. He did the un thinkable and lied on the stand stating that I had him arrested for vechilar homisde, I was the reason his girlfriend went into labor ( he refused to turn our child over to me and I asked the police for help) The courts found me un fit to raise my child and gave custody to him. This hurt our son so much. Our son was doing so well in school, he was student of the month, had good citzienship award and gold student on top of that he had great grades. I am at a lose because my son is only going to be hurt more by this. I get texts message from him stating I get to tuck him in every night and he gets to tell me he loves me, you are a bad mom you gave up your son for a man and a car ( I never gave up my son for a man or a car.) I did move back home in 2011 to be closer to family. I started dating a man that I have known since 2002. I did get the car in the divorce and that is all I got besides a check for 1,000 in the memo saying for rough sex.

  3. Becca,

    Somehow your post didn’t get answered. I’m so sorry for that.

    Certainly you can prove that you did not have him arrested? He would need records to prove that. If this is the reason you lost custody get the transcript of that day in court and file a motion to reverse using the transcript.

  4. Hi,

    I liked your website, and I am going through a similar situation.What is the stance of the law in such situation, if you are able to prove that your spouse is narcissist?

    • Hi, It isn’t illegal to have a personality disorder. The only way it can be helpful is if you can bring in an expert witness to discuss how your spouse’s narcissism has harmed the children. You would need a diagnosis from a med professional. People understand jerks, and control freaks more than personality disorders. Remember – this can harm you as well as help you. If your spouse is diagnosed with a mental disorder, disability issues kick in (in his favor) and so does “not responsible for his actions”. That said, you may want to check out William Eddy, both lawyer and therapist who writes on diagnosed narcissists in the court. But be careful if you try this on your own. Use actual evidence of harm to prove your case. Use words as stepping stones to get the court to the conclusion you want them to be. Your attorney’s motions can be very helpful this way. see http://www.billeddy.com/about.htm for Eddy’s site on high conflict divorce. Best to you, this too shall pass….I promise! Ann

  5. Pingback: Divorce And Narcissism | Simple Divorce BC
  6. Today should be our 35th Wedding Anniversary. My narcissist husband abruptly moved out on Aug. 13, with no explanation. He moved to his mothers house (he’s 60 years old). He also cancelled our one year planned trip to Italy…I went alone. The day after returned, I as served with divorce papers. I will make sure that I alert my attornes as to what they are deaing with.

  7. Hello Ladies .I read stories such as these from time to time just to remind myself that his “Crazy Making, Spaghetti salad,completely irrational demands made on purpose so that I will fail ,have a breakdown or tantrum and make him look like the “very understanding patient man that he is having to put up with her depression and irrational behavior makes you just want to scream doesn’t it?

    If you’re writing on this blog you know exactly WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT EH! what a saint this lady said once in our hotel so i went back to our room grabbed my phone and proceeded to then blast one of the many recordings I have of my husband abusing the crap out of me . my husband left and didnt return till the next afternoon an she and I had drinks and i educated her on the narc. I appologize for my quick post here but i just came across your site I will register thencome back another time thanks i had tro purge lol ! deb

  8. It’s beyond awful. I am made to look evil. he’s painted a terribly graphic and inaccurate picture of me. Basically, He sloughed his dark personality off onto me.
    He has beaten me repeatedly, had me arrested (on his bday) for domestic violence against an elderly person which is the biggest joke, he constantly gaslights luckily I photographed evidence to reassure myself that I am sane, with junkie friends of his, he opened child welfare caseson me in effort to discourage me from reporting the abuse, he urinated and destroyed all of my keepsakes, he claims to be a “mind assasin”, he leverages our toddler yet has physically abused her since infancy, and he’s done much much more.
    What I’m distraught about is his predatorial approach with me. I was fleeing serious abuse and a friend brought me to his house. I was trapped from the get go. During his frequent, verbal tangents he praises himself for his stalking abilities.
    Supposedly,I have been made his “living game”. from the time of he and i’s introduction he has plotted . I once believed he loved me, he brags about how he was only studying me. I feel so stupid. I am a cornered mouse. He swears to be behind my death. That’s alright but what about the babies?
    How he overturned the permanent injunction and played two courts against one another, i will never ever ever comprehend. im disturbed by his mind and actions. I can’t begin to anticipate the other abuse tactics my babies and I will experience. I’m sickened. I’ve seen enough of him.

    • So, so sorry for this abuse and what you are going through. Please look at California Protective Parents website. I think you might be able to find some help there. Also, look at William Eddy and his High Conflict Institute. He is both an attorney and therapist. Keep calm – it will help you think and give him nothing to attack you with. Keep making plans in your mind, don’t share. This will give you hope as well as thinking up strategies for your exit plan.Please keep on researching and looking for helpers – they exist. Best to you, Ann

  9. What do you do if your attorney does not ask you the questions related to your spouse’s lies and you don’t get the chance to prove or show evidence of it?

    • Then you haven’t been properly represented. If case is over, file a Bar complaint with specifics and ask for refund. If it isn’t over, hire another lawyer. You have the right in every state to show evidence. First, find out why your lawyer didn’t do so. Gather info from him or her and use it to help yourself. Once you have all the facts, again, you can file a complaint with State and local Bar. Get all the data points from lawyer – get your file. Remember in attorney client privilege, the client holds the privilege. If you want to say anything , you can. He can’t. I fought back against all the crap in my divorce right through the appeal. They lost big time because I let my anger learn the law, my rights and how to get them. Best to you – get some help from an ethical attorney. You can also talk to a malpractice atty and see if you have a case that way. Best, Ann

  10. Sometimes avoiding meetings with your ex is an option to get rid of some issues related to divorce. One of possible options is to start divorce online on websites like here https://cheap-divorce-online.com Seeing him or her another time is a way to feel anxiety once again until no matter who says that courts aren’t interested in emotional drama behind your story.

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