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Child Custody Battles with a Narcissistic Ex: Legal Guidance

child custody battles

When you get married, you never think it’s going to one day end in divorce. Likewise, when you have a child together, you never think it’s going to lead to nasty child custody battles. However, for many couples here in Texas, that’s exactly how these once-coveted milestones end up. 

Though navigating child custody battles is hard enough on its own, matters can be further complicated with a narcissistic ex. This blog will offer helpful insights into how you can navigate complex child custody battles with your ex. 

Traits of a Narcissist

Before we move forward, it’s important to use factual language when we use the term narcissist. Though many will attribute this title to people who act selfishly or are hard to get through to, narcissism is a real mental health condition that is defined by the following personality traits: 

  • Jealousy or believing others to be jealous of them and coveting what they have
  • Possessing or insisting on having top-of-the-line products or the “best of everything,” such as clothing, car, occupation, partners, etc. 
  • Getting angry when they don’t get their way or what they want
  • Usually unwilling to compromise or see things from other angles
  • Bragging about themselves to feel and appear superior to those around them
  • Believing they are special and deserving of special treatment 
  • Believing they are better than those around them, often resulting in being highly critical of others
  • Taking advantage of those around them 

As to be expected, many of these symptoms can put a real hindrance on the divorce process and any child custody battles to follow. However, it’s important to recognize that people can exhibit narcissistic traits without being clinically diagnosed as narcissists. Many of these traits, including getting angry at not getting one’s way or being unwilling to compromise, may be the result of common anger and resentment felt over a marriage ending. This is especially true if the marriage ended due to infidelity, abuse, or without one’s consent, as is the case in a contested divorce. 

How to Deal with Your Ex’s Narcissistic Traits in Child Custody Battles

Dealing with a co-parent who is either clinically diagnosed as a narcissist? Or are they simply exhibiting some of these symptoms during your child custody battle? Here are some helpful tips to follow: 

Stick to the Facts and Nothing More

When you’re dealing with a co-parent who is either out to win the custody battle or will emotionally hurt you in order to get their way, it’s important to keep communication to a minimum. When you do communicate, to just stick to the facts. 

If an individual’s motive is to twist your words, they’ll have a hard time doing so when you’re not giving in to their lies, demands, or harmful words. Think of them as plants. The more you water it, the bigger it’ll grow. In all forms of communication, stick to only the facts, even if you want to defend yourself or respond to their negativity. It’ll only work against you, and after all, that’s what they want. 

Set Clear Boundaries 

Sometimes in child custody battles, things get heated in the moment. Sometimes exes say incredibly mean and hurtful things. However, it is never right. You have the right to protect your mental health, and the easiest way of doing this is to establish clear boundaries of what words/actions will not be tolerated now and in the future. 

Keep a Record of Everything

And we mean…everything! Document every phone call, email, text message, and other types of correspondence. Likewise, keep a record of their social media posts and whether they engage in any off-putting, or dangerous behavior. 

Remember, judges determine child custody based on the child’s best interests. So, if your ex and co-parent is acting inappropriately to the point of harassment, the courts will take this into consideration. However, the decision is easier if you have documentation to back this behavior up. 

Be There for Your Kids

Of course you’re going to be there for them regardless. However, remember that you aren’t the only one dealing with the effects of narcissistic abuse. Check in with your kids to see how they’re feeling, even if they aren’t super quick to open up. 

With your ex, the children may encounter lies or manipulation tactics to get them to your ex’s side. Even if one co-parent cheated or acted hurtful to the other one, children don’t always see their parents in that same light. 

At the end of the day, they love both parents, so seeing such conflict can be difficult. Hearing negative words about loved ones can be overwhelming for them, especially if the legal battle is dragged out. 

Hire a Family Law Attorney 

Last but not least, hire a family law attorney with experience in representing parents in complex child custody battles. 

When dealing with someone exhibiting narcissistic tendencies, it’s important to set your child custody arrangement in stone. That way, there’s nothing left up for guessing. Furthermore, amid child custody battles, an experienced lawyer can serve as a mediator. This can help diffuse some otherwise challenging conversations. Of course, this problem won’t be easy to deal with, but the right legal representation makes it easier. 

Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Tyler, TX Today!

If you are in the middle of a divorce and need help dealing with a complex child custody case, Attorney Sarina Hager can help. With years of experience under her belt, Attorney Hager is compassionate about the stressors co-parents deal with in child custody battles. To get help, fill out this confidential contact form or give the Hager Law Firm team a call at (903) 466-0001. 


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