Since our firm specializes in divorce and family law cases that are complicated by narcissism and other personality disorders, we’ve written an extensive catalog of posts about how to handle the situation if your ex is a narcissist. But we’ve typically written with the assumption that your ex is the narcissist of concern. What we haven’t discussed yet is what can happen when the ATTORNEY they hire is a narcissist.
It probably won’t surprise anyone that someone who is a narcissist might be attracted to the legal profession. The stereotype of the hotshot lawyer who drives a fancy car, acts like a jerk but gets away with it, commands total attention in the courtroom, and is envied by others for their success is textbook bait to a narcissist. According to research, approximately 7.7% of men and 4.8% of women suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder. Unfortunately, no data or research exists to see whether lawyers are more likely than the average person to be a narcissist, but common sense says at the least it’s very plausible.
If your former spouse is a narcissist, you’ll have no trouble spotting another one. People who’ve gone through the wringer of a failed relationship with a narcissist and have educated themselves about dealing with narcissistic personality disorder can usually spot another narcissist pretty well compared to those who’ve been lucky enough to have never dealt with the problem.
Would a narcissist be more likely to find and hire a lawyer who is also a narcissist?
Certainly. Since narcissists tend to overvalue superficial indicators of status and are likely to seek out someone who will “punish” their ex, they’ll tend to seek out a lawyer who is flashy and promises to go for the kill. A narcissist who encounters a reasonable lawyer who wants to work for the best outcome for their client but declines to represent someone in frivolous or quixotic legal maneuvers will repel a narcissist hellbent on revenge.
At our firm, we’re not out to “punish” anyone involved. We want to help our clients protect their children and get the best possible financial outcome for themselves, but we aren’t in business to rampage alongside our clients down a senseless legal warpath. We want to get you settled and happy as soon as the time is right, not spend eons leading you down a twisted path and racking up the billable hours. A narcissist attorney would likely be happy to go wild on behalf of your ex, file frivolous motions, decline reasonable offers of settlement, and milk the maximum amount of pain out of the process (all the while billing $500 per hour)!
What if my ex is normal but the attorney they hire is a narcissist?
This can happen as well. Maybe your ex is basically a reasonable person but they’ve retained a narc for a lawyer. If you think this might be the case, talk with us. We can advise you on avoiding endless legal hassle and coming to a settlement even when opposing counsel is throwing up roadblocks. But there is hope- with the right legal team and the right strategy, you can defeat narcissistic strategies that can otherwise ruin your life.
The Bad News
Yes, there will be more headaches involved than usual if the opposing counsel is narcissistic. The process will last longer than it would have otherwise, but there are strategies to bring it to a close.
There’s one thing you must know about narcissists- they are “in it to win it.” They are extremely unlikely to seek compromise or an outcome that both sides can be happy with. Instead, they choose to use the legal system to terrorize and subjugate their ex-spouse. Here are some things a narcissist is likely to do in a family court battle:
- Run up the legal bills for both sides
- Be focused on trying to “punish” their ex
- File frivolous motions
- Try to paint a picture of their ex as totally evil or awful
- Refuse to settle
- Try to restart a matter after it has finally been settled
The Good News
The good news is that you can still come out on top. If you make the right moves and hire the right counsel, the judge who has the final say in the matter can shut narcissistic legal maneuvers down and force your ex to accept a final judgment that awards you all that you are entitled to get. We’ve seen and successfully navigated this situation for our clients countless times and we can help you move forward.
Do you have a divorce or family law question?
Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by narcissism, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. to learn more.
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