What’s it Like to Lose in Family Court to a Narcissist?
- How does this happen?
- How does a protective-parent lose to the abusive, narcissistic ex?
- Why is this happening so often in family court?
Imagine being in my shoes. . . and losing custody of your child to your narcissistic, sociopathic ex.
No, don’t do that because it’s pure hell on Earth.
“Looking back, it didn’t matter that I lost legal custody in one round of the many rounds of family court… what mattered is that I was still emotionally there and physically present for our child. I stayed in her life. When she wasn’t with me, I healed my heartbreak, grieved my losses, learned from mistakes, shifted my mindset and transformed my life. When she was with me, I showed up healed, whole, and healthy. This made all the difference for her success and safety. This gave her hope.” – Grace W. Wroldson -mother, author surthriver, and strategy coach for moms
My Survival Story
This is my survival story of the incompetent, inadequate, and uneducated U.S. family court system against a wealthy narcissist. He was (still is) an angry, resentful, bitter, revengeful, toxic, verbally abusive, ex who will stop at nothing to hurt me because I wounded his broken ego by leaving him. In my custody case, it was appalling that the judge sided with him (granting him sole legal rights and 50% physical custody after having limited supervised visitation for years) because he often declined extra parenting time with our daughter and refused to follow court orders for various reasons and lame excuses. His, the narcissist’s, over-inflated sense of entitlement saw very few boundaries (or rules) that applied to him. The family court and the judge, including the hired, paid-for, paid-off GAL made a mistake. This caused me and our child more stress, led to more problems, and wasn’t in the best interest of our child. It took more than a decade and numerous problems (including contempt) for them all to realize this. Thankfully, I staged a comeback like in my first book Co-Parenting with a Narcissist: 7 Self-Rules to Stay Sane and then went on to practice skillful-means to create peace and some type of cooperation. My hope is to be a light to other moms in the darkness of this dilemma.
Essentially, I was sabotaged! That’s what happened to me for over a decade co-parenting with the narcissist. I was undermined as a parent by the narcissist and made out to look crazy. I was falsely accused of so many things that it emotionally destabilized me because at the time, I didn’t know how to handle false allegations and what I call “Co-Parenting Abuse” which is really Post-Separation Abuse. Sadly, mothers like me are still losing custody and rights to their own children to controlling, arrogant, angry men. Basically, I was out-lawyered in family court. I learned from this mistake though and went on to do what it took to win things back one at a time. Read my FREE blog: Steps to Win Against a Narcissist in Family Court
After ending my relationship with my child’s father, I found myself attempting the impossible; co-parenting with a narcissistic ex. I was a loving, caring, concerned mother, but I was: constantly criticized, attacked, blamed, discredited, smeared, and devastated by my ex. While in my care, our child was thriving and I worked overtime to protect her from the narcissist’s subtle abuse and neglect. I had to parallel-parent at first and practice so much of the GreyRock Method to just survive. This was until, I learned techniques to de-escalate anger, diffuse blame, and neutralize hostility in our interactions. I didn’t do this alone, though! I got help. Lots of support from the experts and a DV (Domestic Violence) counselor who understood things like gaslighting, coercive control, and scare tactics.
The Narcissist Wouldn’t Stop For Years
When the narcissist failed to control me, he instead sought to use legal means and the court system to take sole possession of our child. It very much felt like it was his way of punishing me personally. I say that because he showed very little real interest in our child for the first eight years of her life, failing to cover her health insurance or show up to her Head Start graduation ceremony and other important events. He did the bare minimum as a “dad.” Instead of being a participatory parent, he threw every narcissistic trick in the book at me, trying to destroy me beyond what every professional involved had ever seen. In a cruel twist, he projected all his awful behavior onto me, ultimately winning sole legal custody of our child and 50% unsupervised physical custody in 2020, right when the COVID pandemic hit. From that defeat, I had to shift gears into survival mode. Family court was his biggest abuse tactic ever. I have lived to tell this awful tale and now go on to share my survivor-wisdom helping moms avoid my mistakes and the narcissistic’s typical traps. (Read about how the Family Court fails us.)
I Wouldn’t Stop Either!
However, I would not give up on my child! Through many hours of reflection, meditation, and therapy, I laid out my priorities. I would do my best to stay healthy and sane (in the midst of insanity), get expert support, validate my reality, and use protection agencies to the fullest extent. To repair my life, I identified seven guiding principles that I call “Self-Rules.” I told myself that I had to live for her, even after losing all my rights to her. I stepped up and stepped into my resilience rather than my anger and rage. (This made all the difference.)
Immediately, I decided to write my story down to warn other mothers battling it out in family court with a toxic ex. Looking back, there were many things I could have done differently. There were strategies I could have employed. There were other lawyers I could have consulted with and took out a personal loan to hire. The mistakes that I made had to be admitted and addressed. What’s good about me (and other moms) that I work with, is that we can learn. With knowledge, we have more power. My first book is designed as a survival guide for overcoming the seemingly impossible parenting dilemma of co-parenting with a non-cooperative, boundary-crossing, rule-breaking narcissist. I share my powerful insights and first-hand experiences with my readers. My hope is that just one struggling mother will find validation and encouragement on their journey to become the best person and parent that they can be.
How Did I Turn My Case Around?
“This wasn’t a case of me being a bad mom, this was a case of me being out-lawyered.”
-A journal entry
#1. Journal! I inventoried what my main reasons for losing the family court case were and looked directly at my weaknesses. Watch my video: Common Mistakes Moms Make Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
#2. Heal! I did some specific, healing, recovery programs and attended support groups. I was then able to find the strength to stand up to him legally (with a new lawyer) while simultaneously appeasing him to see my daughter more.
By going through the court process, rather than directly catering and capitulating to the narcissist, I was able to win some important protections in court by saying “No” to his proposed unfair agreements. I was brave and opted for a lengthy, unbalanced trial knowing that I didn’t have the legal power he did. However, a court order helped me hold him more accountable then and later. (And so did a better attorney!) Today, my child (our child) is thriving and I have survived ten years of financial and legal abuse. What matters most to me is that today, she is happy, healthy, and well-supported. Even more so, so am I! I came out smarter and stronger than before. I believe that so can you!
How I Can Help . . .
My mission is to help suffering mothers and children stay safe from any type of toxic alcoholic, narcissistic, sociopathic ex by using common sense, logic, knowledge, and support. My role is to be an emotional support person through sharing my story in my books, offering strategy/support life-coaching sessions for the many devastated mothers. By sharing my heartbreaking, yet inspiring and hopeful true story, you can know you are not alone. I believe that one stable and sane parent can make a world of difference to a child, even if they don’t see them that often.
What happened to me in 2020 was a complete injustice, but I am not the only one. I have since learned that other mothers have had the same, if not worse done to them. This scenario that the enabled narcissist often sets-up (abuse by proxy using family court) has been a real problem in the legal system. What’s worse is that that money and unethical legal practices are winning custody cases and professionals are losing focus on child-safety first. So, defendants and mothers beware! In my case, I had to learn how to fight, with who, where, and when — even though I dearly wanted peace. Peace came after I changed, turned the tables, healed from narcissistic abuse, and grew a titanium backbone, with an unbroken spirit.
What Can You Do?
There are things that you can be doing and not doing in your custody case. For example, if applicable, you can safeguard against things. You can implement protective measures and boundaries. You can be two steps ahead of the monster and learn to side-step his drama and abuse. You can seek out expert support and not listen to well-meaning friends and family for legal advice who don’t understand the complexity. I was able to endure, persevere, and be resilient. My child benefits from the strength I found, the support I received, and the education I attained for myself. I encourage all mothers in these terrible situations to start a self-study course of their own to learn what they are up against and learn what tips, tools, and strategies to use to prevent bad outcomes. The internet is full of stories, free info, and video trainings on this subject. All this gathered information can come in handy as a narcissist changes tactics or escalates bad behavior. Take advantage of all my books on Amazon and my free blog full of PDF downloads. Be as aware and as prepared as you can be!
If you are ready to learn, I am ready to teach!
—Grace W. Wroldson, mother, survivor, thriver, certified life coach, and author of several self-help books for women and mothers available on Amazon
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