A narcissist is so caught up in themselves that they fail to think about others. They lack empathy and do whatever it takes to get what they want. For these reasons, mediation with a narcissist may seem impossible. After all, the goal of custody mediation is to work together to reach a compromise that benefits your child — not either of you. However, with tensions already high, a less aggressive form of resolution might be what it takes to escape a narcissist’s mind games.
Getting a narcissist to participate in mediation
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is rare and can only be diagnosed by a licensed professional. Some may have narcissistic traits (e.g., compulsive lying, selfishness, inflated ego), but that doesn’t mean they have NPD. If you find yourself among the unfortunate few who are divorcing a narcissist, the hardest part is often getting them to the mediation table.
Narcissists are very protective of their image and feel the need to project that they are flawless or better than others. Remind them that mediation is confidential and that family cases often happen in open court. You could even hire an attorney to communicate with them to drive your point. The invasiveness of the court process may push your ex towards mediation.
Also, an experienced lawyer can give you an idea of how the case is likely to go. Encourage your soon-to-be ex to consult with one. They may come to see that they have a better chance of getting a favorable outcome in mediation.
Preparing for mediation with a narcissist
A different way to mediate: Shuttle mediation
Traditional mediation with both parents and the mediator in one room may not work if you’re divorcing a narcissist.
In shuttle mediation, parents communicate through the mediator instead of interacting face-to-face. The mediator “shuttles” between two rooms, each of which is reserved for a parent, often with their lawyer.
The mediator hears the proposal of one parent, then leaves to explain it to the other parent. The other parent may present their own proposal, which the mediator takes back to the first parent. This continues until there’s an agreement or it becomes clear parents cannot reach one.
Shuttle mediation makes it more difficult for the narcissist to start arguments and undermine you and make you question yourself. Plus, you won’t have to hear the other parent’s lies, and they won’t be able to twist your words.
Tips for going to mediation with a narcissist
A previous version of this article, in Chinese, was first published in the Construction Guide, August 2018, by World Journal, USA at https://www.worldjournal.com/page-2018laconstructionDisputes are common in construction projects. In this...By Wean Khing Wong