Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Narcissist In Court - Part 2

The following is from an attorney who learned about Narcissism prior to his divorce and was thereby able to have his attorney provoke the Narcissist to totally lose it on the stand:

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 be no means conflict with whatever your attorney tells you. Not knowing which state you live in, it is impossible for me to offer any kind of 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. Just remember - if you lie, you die!

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

To summarize the most important advice:

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 the Narcissist 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 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.

Sam Vaknin