I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, yeah right! Anyone that is unfortunate enough to have dealt with a narcissist knows that this is not going to happen.
Unfortunately, this is the tenant upon which our legal system is based. There does not seem to be an understanding that not everyone is honest and this can be a disaster if you happen to need to be in court with a narcissist.
If you are dealing with a legal issue with a narcissist, first of all, my condolences. But the truth is that you are in a precarious situation. The natural adversarial nature of law is like Disney World to most narcissists. They thrive on conflict and they are willing to lie to win on any issue.
In my experience, even producing documents, produced by a narcissist, that contradict each other was not enough “evidence” that at least one of the documents must be in error. There seems to be a lot of leeway given for “errors”, “misinterpretations” and “misrepresentation” as though to err is human but to lie is simply not a consideration.
So what to do…
1. If at all possible, avoid taking legal action against a narcissist. You may be drawn in by them, but never initiate it yourself. This is a goldmine of conflict that feeds the average narcissist and they cannot get enough.
2. If children are involved, you should strongly consider getting them their own lawyer. This, on the face of it, will appear as though it will cost more money, but that is not the case. Once children become pawns in a legal battle with a narcissist, everyone loses. The thought and consideration that most parents would show for the impact on their own children is not felt by a narcissist. The children need separate representation so that issues surrounding them do not become a battle between you and the narcissist.
3. Keep as much “evidence” as you possibly can: take photos, record times and conversations. If you have witnesses, make sure you know how to contact them and how they are likely to respond if called.
4. Be careful how a simple thing that you might do, like leave a note, can be misconstrued and used against you. A note like, “please move your car” can be played out to be unreasonable given the right made up back-story. Keep in mind that you do not know how things can be twisted and used against you.
5. Note that you will be baited as often as possible to try to get you to “act out” when there are witnesses or to encourage you to do something like write a note or send an email that can be used against you.
6. Always fight for something that you do not want. This will allow the narcissist to “win” and for you to find resolution. You didn’t want it anyway, giving it to them as a concession just makes it end sooner — hopefully.
7. Finally, and this is the MOST important point. Never try to win in public. When two people are arguing, it is not possible to tell which one is unreasonable because they are both acting unreasonably. A fight in court for instance will undermine your credibility by making you look crazy.
Best of luck. Stay small, don’t fight back–you can’t win against someone that will lie and cheat to win–and hopefully it will all be over soon.