At Harrogate Family Law, we’re no strangers to narcissistic behaviours and the impact they can have. We support clients who have been affected by this on a daily basis, helping them to navigate their way through divorce and separation, and to look to a better future. 

We’ve got a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area, and have written extensively on the topic on our blog page. This week however, we’re taking a look at how we as solicitors manage narcissistic behaviours throughout a case, during negotiations and proceedings, and why you can trust us to be in your corner.  

Get real 

Just like our clients, it’s important that we as solicitors have  realistic views and expectations about how things will go. Because narcissists are often at odds with the things you may consider ‘normal’ human needs and emotions, the key is to understand that narcissists simply don’t share the same values as everyone else. 

Trust, love, meaningful relationships – these are not the values of a narcissist. The sooner we accept that a narcissist is unlikely to ever be on the same page as us, the more effective our strategy for getting a fair outcome will be. 

Deal in facts 

As lawyers, we deal in facts. In practice, we keep meticulous records relating to the matters we’re working on, which means that we have all the most important facts to hand, when we need them. 

During any divorce or separation, we might advise our clients to keep a diary of events, behaviours, and things that have been said. When divorce involves a narcissist, this requirement is heightened  tenfold. As such, we may ask clients to make a note of dates and times, text messages, emails, and social media output from a narcissistic spouse or partner – all of which can prove essential during negotiations and discussions.  

Have a strategy 

Narcissists are skilled players of the game. Whether they’re playing the victim or trying to use you to their advantage, everything they do is rooted in control. 

It’s always a part of our strategy to be ahead of the game. This means that we follow and log patterns of behaviour so we can anticipate their next moves. Where possible, we may plan for and allow the narcissist small ‘wins’ that feed the ego, and that don’t undermine the right outcome for  our client. In addition, we always keep in close contact with our clients in these situations, to ensure that we’re sticking to the plan or making any adjustments together. 

Set boundaries and hold firm 

Working with a narcissist takes courage and skill. They demand a lot of time and energy, and over time this can wear everyone down. This is why it’s always good for clients to have a solicitor do the talking for them, so that they can focus their energy on moving forward

Narcissists don’t take criticism well. That’s why we always frame our position in a way that’s productive, proactive, and beneficial to the bigger picture. We’re assertive and succinct, because getting drawn into a lengthy back and forth is futile – there’s no reasoning with a narcissist. 

Support for everyone  

Dealing with a narcissist isn’t easy. During proceedings, we sometimes advise clients to seek support from a therapist or divorce coach when needed, and to lean on family and friends for support where possible. 

For our part as solicitors, we’re continually striving to understand the ‘why’ behind narcissistic behaviour, and learn all we can in order to provide the very best advice and expertise. 

If you’re dealing with a narcissistic spouse or partner, and you’re contemplating a divorce or separation, you’re not alone. At Harrogate Family Law, we can provide the expert advice that you need, and to have a chat with a member of the team, all you need to do is get in touch