Dealing With a Narcissistic or Bipolar Ex/Opposing Party
Oct. 19, 2022
A contested divorce – one in which the two spouses duke it out in court, figuratively speaking –can be stressful enough when both parties stick to the facts and present rational arguments, even if their arguments are one-sided.
When one spouse is a narcissist or suffers from bipolar disorder, however, a legal sparring match might turn into something more challenging – and perhaps even more intimidating. As the opposing spouse, you will need not only almost superhuman levels of patience to sit through all the lies, outbursts, and fabricated contentions, but also the assistance of an attorney who knows how to deal with people affected by narcissism or bipolar disorder.
If you’re in or around Batavia, Ohio, and facing a divorce battle with a narcissist or spouse with bipolar disorder, contact the family law attorney at Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law.
Attorney Douglas A. Ball has more than 30 years of experience in all types of divorce situations and has dealt with spouses who present problems beyond the ordinary and require special attention and approaches. Contact him immediately. Don’t face your soon-to-be ex by yourself and without knowledgeable legal representation.
Attorney Douglas A. Ball also proudly serves clients in Batavia, Clermont, Hamilton, Brown, and Warren counties.
Characteristics of a Narcissist
If you’re married to a narcissist, the behavior they will exhibit in court is no doubt something you’ve long experienced. A narcissist is someone with a super-inflated image of themself. A narcissist can be charming and even quite successful in life, but one thing the narcissist will never doubt is their own lofty station in life.
So long as everything goes their way and affirms their grandiose image of themselves, a narcissist will act and react in a seemingly normal way, but if things veer off kilter – or if they are personally questioned or challenged – they can react with humiliation, overwrought emotion and rage, and even fall into a fit of depression.
In a courtroom, the narcissist may use their charm and manipulative skills to win over the judge, who has had no prior personal experience with the darker, more controlling aspects of their condition.
A narcissist loves being on the stage as a witness in their own divorce and will generally try to focus the blame for everything on their spouse. So long as they are under self-control, a narcissist’s testimony can sound quite convincing. Be prepared to counter their statements with the facts as you see them, but if you pierce their grandiose self-image, an outburst may ensue.
What About a Bipolar Spouse?
A person with bipolar disorder is often viewed as someone with two extremes – high highs and low lows. In other words, they can swing between elation and depression, sometimes without obvious motivation or reason for the mood change. In their low periods, they can feel great guilt and a profound sense of worthlessness. In their highest of highs, they can take on characteristics of a narcissist.
If you end up in court with a bipolar spouse fighting over a divorce, the stress of the proceedings – and the reality of what’s happening – can push the bipolar spouse to the depths of their low extreme, and they can become angry and lash out as a result. Their behavior can sometimes border on bringing the courtroom proceedings to a screeching halt, so you and your attorney need to be prepared – and anticipate – outbursts and other possibly extreme types of behavior.
Steps You Can Take to Deal With Troubled Spouses in Divorce
Obviously, if you’ve been married and are now seeking a divorce, you know full well the condition of your spouse and how they are going to act and react in a courtroom, emotionally and otherwise.
You weren’t able to deal with their condition during the marriage, and facing off in a divorce is not going to be different, but you can be prepared. The number-one step in preparation is hiring an attorney with experience in dealing with bipolar and narcissistic spouses in divorce proceedings.
As for your own steps, you need to gather and assemble every document that can have a bearing on the outcome of the divorce. If this requires you to become an after-hours sleuth so your spouse doesn’t catch you rifling through their files, so be it. You will need banking, retirement, tax, mortgage/rent, and credit card and loan statements to counter whatever claims your spouse may make in court.
The same process will need to be taken to document your spouse’s condition. If there are medical records, prescriptions, used medicine bottles, treatment plans, or other evidence you can gather about your spouse’s condition, assemble those as well. Admittedly, here you’re going to run up against privileged, private information in many cases, so you have to be extra careful and cautious.
Even if you cannot access your spouse’s medical records or evaluations, you can keep a record of how that person acts on an everyday basis. Write down or record on your cell phone incidents from your marriage and social life that show how your spouse behaves in certain situations. For sure, you want every abuse to be on record. You also want to be able to show a pattern of dishonest behavior or outright lying to get what they want in life, regardless of the cost to others or to the marriage.
Finally, in preparation for your divorce, you may want to establish a “rainy day” fund for the time during which you’re battling your spouse in court. He or she may try to cut you off from any savings or other sources of cash, so protect yourself in advance with a secure stash of your own. If you can freeze joint accounts to protect them from your spouse’s manipulations or outright theft, do so immediately.
Reach Out for Legal Help
The first step when you’ve decided enough is enough and you want out of your marriage is to seek out an experienced family law attorney who can walk you through the steps needed to achieve the best possible divorce settlement.
Having children with a bipolar or narcissistic spouse really complicates matters, as you may want to restrict or even forbid your spouse’s visitation rights for fear of your children’s safety and well-being. You certainly need an attorney who will watch out for you and your children.
If you’re in or around Batavia, Ohio, or anywhere in Clermont and adjoining counties, contact Douglas A. Ball Attorney at Law immediately. He has the compassion, understanding, and experience to help you through a divorce with a bipolar or narcissistic spouse. Don't try to go it alone. Reach out today.