How to Effectively Speak to a Judge in Child Custody Cases with a Narcissist Co-Parent

How to Effectively Speak to a Judge in Child Custody Cases with a Narcissist Co-Parent

A member posted in our SPANily Support Group for Co-Parenting with a Narcissist that her ex was making her son’s life more complicated by not taking him to regularly scheduled events for a group he was involved in, and a fellow member offered some really great (and very effective) advice. With her permission, I’m sharing it with you today. For now, she has asked that I credit her only as “Anonymous Survivor.”

Being Assertive vs Being Aggressive: How to Get the Judge to Hear What You Really Need Them to Hear in Court

By Anonymous Survivor

There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Judges ignore aggressive behavior and hold both parties at fault. But they listen to assertive statements that focus on the BEHAVIOR itself.

For example, going into court and being angry, and feeling or saying things like, “he is an asshole/jerk/won’t do anything anyway,” will appear to the judge to be very aggressive. And while we all understand why you would feel that way and even act that way, this will only lead the judge to ignore you and see you as part of the problem.

If you want to reach the judge in a way that makes things better for both you and your son, try this more assertive style of communication.

Assertive Statements to Use in Court with a Narcissist

Following our agreement established with Judge ______, I contacted (your ex’s name) each time our child had an event with advanced notice, as shown in these printed out copies I have brought. (your ex’s name) refused to confirm. I sent follow up messages as per our agreement and (your ex’s name) did not respond.

I have interpreted the refusal to respond as (your ex’s name) being unable to take Child to the event, so I arrive to pick up the child as per our agreement to ensure (the child) does not miss out on the opportunity. When I arrive to pick the child up or call (the child), (your ex’s name) states that I am harassing him/her and blocks my phone number, preventing communication.

This artificially-created situation is a result of (your ex’s name) refusing to participate while simultaneously refusing my right to exercise the agreement we made.

As a result, (the child) is not attending events and this negatively impacts (the child).

Final Tip: Speak with the leaders of your child’s organization as well, simply stating you have reached out to dad to bring the child, but that dad will not answer and you’ve tried to bring child yourself, but have been refused. Ask if its possible for the child to make up events, move days, or otherwise have accommodation so that they can attend the event.

If you’re going through a divorce with a narcissist, you might like our sister site,

More Resources for You

Broken Eggshells: The real reason you haven’t already left your narcissist

Broken Eggshells: The real reason you haven’t already left your narcissist

“If it’s so bad, why don’t you just leave?”

walking on eggshellsLet me ask you something. Did you cringe when you read that first line? Have you heard this question one time too many?

My guess is that if you said yes to those two questions, you probably also know what it feels like to walk on proverbial eggshells all the time.

You might be in a toxic relationship. 

Toxic Narcissism: Pretty on the Outside

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, it often looks nearly perfect from the outside, especially to people who aren’t aware of the dynamics that happen behind closed doors.

And most likely, you don’t want anyone to know how ugly your relationship really is on the inside. Am I right? narcissism quote TS Eliot

If you’re in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, and you still manage to talk to someone outside of the relationship about the problems you have, you’ve probably heard the “why don’t you just leave” line (or some version of it) more times than you care to admit.

But what the (probably genuinely) concerned friends and family members don’t know is how very, very complicated your life can be.

The Complicated, Convoluted Price of Loving a Narcissist

When you love a narcissist, you might be mentally exhausted already – and for anyone else to add problems to your plate? The sheer thought of it makes you want to vomit.

You might find yourself becoming increasingly isolated in an attempt to maintain your sanity. The simple act of engaging with normal, happy people can make you want to run and hide, sometimes.

And in some cases, your narcissist will do everything in his power to add to your isolation, to make you feel more alone – and to put you in the position to be completely dependent on him, physically, emotionally and even financially.

What They Don’t Know Can Hurt You

While you understand that your friends and family members love you and mean well when they ask you questions like this, it can seriously affect the way you see yourself and your life.

Often, you forget that you’re even “good enough.”

In fact, for many people in relationships with narcissists, it gets even more serious. Not only does your self-esteem take a nosedive (as if there were much lower it could go at this point), but the isolation factor brings trouble to your relationships with other people in your life.

Why Friends and Family Cut You Off When You Won’t Leave

Often, a concerned loved one becomes tired of hearing about your problems and cuts you off because they can’t stand to see you go through that – they don’t understand “why you just don’t leave if it’s so bad.”

You have no choice but to let them walk away because you’re so exhausted already and you don’t even have the energy to explain to them anymore. Then, of course, your abuser gets what he wants – you, more isolated and under his or her control.

And you? You feel more trapped than ever.

Why You Hate It So Much When They Ask Why You Stay

It’s probably one of the most upsetting and annoying questions anyone could ask you, when you’re in the thick of a narcissistic relationship. So, why does it bother you so much when someone asks you why you don’t just leave?

For one, you’re the only one who really knows how very complicated that would be to make your escape.

Plus, you know he or she will make it as difficult for you as possible if you do choose to go. And, in many cases, you’ve lost a lot of friends and don’t have much money of your own – the narcissist made sure of it long ago.

The Narcissist’s Spider Web of Control

The more your abuser can control in your life, the more you can feel trapped in the narcissistic “web” of control.

And often, the people who love narcissists don’t even see it happening. But bit by bit, they tinker away on your personal boundaries, repeatedly and systematically crossing them, one by one.

Before you know it, you’re in the middle of your worst nightmare – and you can’t tell anyone about it because you’re so…damn…humiliated.

Because you know better, you’re smarter than this – and because, honestly, you don’t want anyone to see how weak you’ve become.

And somewhere in your mind, you focus on the good stuff, because you know that it’s right around the corner. It’s part of the ups and downs you experience in a narcissistic relationship.

Know This: It is NOT Normal, No Matter What the Narcissist Says

Despite the lies and gaslighting the narcissist has been feeding you, the way they are behaving is NOT normal. In fact, if your relationship with a narcissist were a mental illness, it might look something like a bipolar disorder – extreme highs and the lowest of the lows.

The most intense pleasure and the most profound pain. Exhilaration and exhaustion. The happiest you’ve ever been…and wishing yourself dead – all in the same day. You feel me?

But I’m here to tell you something an amazingly intelligent woman once told me: love isn’t supposed to hurt.

Stop. Read this once more: Love isn’t supposed to hurt.

How does that sentence make you feel? Have you come to believe that being in emotional pain is part of love? Apparently, it isn’t.

And know what else? Love isn’t supposed to beat you up, mentally or physically.

Love should make you feel safe, not afraid, not trapped. Love should make you feel free.

Are you being emotionally abused? Know the signs.

According to the Domestic Abuse Project, the kind of emotional abuse inflicted by a narcissist is the most pervasive

“Emotional abuse is harder to pin down or prove, but it’s just as destructive as other, more obvious forms of violence,” the foundation’s website says. “We consider it domestic abuse if a person makes cruel, unfair comments or otherwise emotionally attacks their partner in order to gain power or control over that person.”

According to the foundation, signs of emotional abuse might include your spouse or partner engaging in one or more of the following activities on a regular basis:

  • swearing or screaming at you (part of narcissistic rage)
  • repeatedly harassing, interrogating or degrading you
  • attacking your self-esteem or insulting you, such as name-calling, put-downs, and ridicule
  • attacking or insulting people you care for, like your family and friends
  • blaming you for everything that goes wrong
  • forcing you to do degrading things, like making you kneel, or making you beg for money
  • criticizing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and actions
  • being extremely jealous
  • telling you that you are “sick” or “crazy” and need therapy (also  known as gaslighting)
  • using physical disabilities against you, or putting you down for your disability
  • blatantly ignoring and denying basic facts and make up lies that better suit him or her (also part of the gaslighting process)

Do you feel trapped in a relationship with a narcissist? Are you being emotionally abused? Be honest with yourself. It might just change your whole life – and in a good way. Knowing there’s a problem is the first step to creating a better outcome.

take back your powerNeed help with feeling powerful when you’re dealing with an extremely toxic narcissist?


Are you tired of doing for others while no one does for you? Are you tired of waiting for your turn, and it never comes? Would you like to feel powerful and strong as an individual? If you are dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, chances are you’ve grown tired of not owning your power.

You might feel overwhelmed, worthless and simply not good enough – and if you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might be in despearte need of validation of your experience. If any of that sounds familiar to you, you might want to check out my book – Take Back Your Power: How to End People People Pleasing, Stop Letting Life Happen to You and Start Getting What You Want

About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy?

Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.

In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,

Listen up: you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else. Stop beating yourself up and start embracing your personal power. Take your life back starting today!


Related resources for people dealing with gaslighting in a toxic relationship with a narcissist

When, Why and How You Should Compromise

When, Why and How You Should Compromise

Employee of the Month Reserved Parking Sign

Sometimes, there’s no compromising. You shouldn’t compromise on your values, your beliefs, your personal health and well-being. But other times, there’s no reason not to compromise.

The fact is that the ability to compromise makes our lives and relationships run more smoothly, even if the concept sometimes seems challenging to implement.

Here are some of the advantages of compromising as well as some techniques for finding middle ground.

Good Reasons to Compromise

  • To advance the greater good. Making reasonable concessions paves the way for finding solutions to difficult conflicts. For example, if you’re a parent with physical custody, be generous about accommodating your ex-spouse’s schedule so your kids grow up with two loving parents.
  • To facilitate cooperation. Teamwork flourishes in an atmosphere of trust and respect. By demonstrating your commitment to the common good, you make it easier to work together at the office and at home.
  • To strengthen your relationships. Cultivating our relationships is usually far more valuable than coming out ahead on any particular decision. Build good will by welcoming your mother-in-law’s help in the kitchen even if you think it would be faster to do a task yourself.
  • To feel happier. Our happiness depends more on the way we view events than on the events themselves. As you practice accommodating others, you’ll find that becoming more flexible and generous feels good.

Techniques for Making Constructive Compromises

  • Uphold your core values and needs.Distinguish between compromising and copping out. Bullying is destructive for both parties, so preserve your own integrity and set healthy boundaries. Be firm and respectful about communicating your rights and desires.
  • Prioritize issues. Save your energy for the stuff that really matters. As long as your son is getting good grades and staying out of trouble, maybe you can live with him coming home from college with an eyebrow piercing.
  • Gather facts. Try bolstering your position by doing the research to back it up. If your boss tends to resist change, he may be more receptive to approving a new employee benefit if you document how it saves money and improves employee retention.
  • Empathize with the other person’s position. When you’re asking someone to meet you halfway, try to put yourself in their shoes. Listen closely to their concerns and goals so that you can address them.
  • Consider all your options. We all attach different values to the same things. If you and your partner have different standards for house cleaning, you may be able to work things out by hiring a cleaning service.
  • Express appreciation. Thank people for being willing to make trade-offs. Acknowledge the concessions they make and their contribution to creating more positive outcomes. For example, if your employees work through the weekend to meet a production deadline, ensure it gets noted in their annual review and encourage them to take compensating time off.
  • Stick to your word. Think carefully before making a serious compromise so you’ll feel confident that you can live with it. Proceeding slowly is better than making promises you may later regret. On the other hand, your loved ones will usually be willing to rethink an arrangement if it’s undermining your wellbeing.
  • Take accountability for your decision. Once you spell out the terms you can abide by, assume responsibility for the choices you’ve made. This will help you to avoid becoming resentful.
  • Wield power wisely. Even if you have the upper hand in an interaction, it’s usually best to seek an agreement that’s acceptable to everyone involved. Future situations are likely to run more smoothly and you’ll enjoy more peace of mind.

Learning to give and take helps everyone to wind up with more in the end. Stay true to yourself while being open to making accommodations that create better solutions in both your private and public lives.

What are some ways you have compromised? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.


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