Custody Mediation with a Narcissist: Tips for Success

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Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, but it becomes even more difficult when children are involved. Custody mediation is often necessary to help parents come to an agreement about child custody and visitation. However, when one parent is a narcissist, custody mediation can be especially challenging.

What is a Narcissist?

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A narcissist is a person who has a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). People with this disorder have an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for constant admiration. They often have difficulty with relationships and can be very controlling.

Challenges of Custody Mediation with a Narcissist

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When a narcissist is involved in custody mediation, there are several challenges that can arise. These challenges include:

  • The narcissist may refuse to compromise or negotiate.
  • The narcissist may lie, manipulate, or distort the truth to make themselves look good.
  • The narcissist may try to turn the children against the other parent.
  • The narcissist may use the mediation process as a way to prolong the divorce and continue to control their ex-partner.

How to Prepare for Custody Mediation with a Narcissist

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Preparing for custody mediation with a narcissist requires a different approach than preparing for mediation with a cooperative ex-partner. Here are some tips:

  • Document everything. Keep a record of all interactions with the narcissist, including emails, texts, and phone calls.
  • Bring a third party. If possible, bring a neutral third party to the mediation, such as a mediator, therapist, or attorney.
  • Be prepared to compromise. While the narcissist may not be willing to compromise, it’s important to be willing to do so for the sake of the children.
  • Stay calm and rational. Narcissists thrive on drama and chaos, so it’s important to remain calm and rational during the mediation process.
  • Set boundaries. Make it clear to the narcissist what your boundaries are and stick to them.

Dealing with a Narcissist During Custody Mediation

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During custody mediation with a narcissist, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Acknowledge their feelings. Narcissists have a deep need for validation, so acknowledging their feelings can help to defuse the situation.
  • Don’t engage in their drama. Narcissists thrive on drama and conflict, so it’s important to stay calm and not engage in their drama.
  • Stick to the facts. Narcissists often distort the truth, so it’s important to stick to the facts and not get caught up in their lies.
  • Don’t take their bait. Narcissists often try to provoke a reaction, so it’s important not to take their bait.
  • Stay focused on the children. The most important thing during custody mediation is the well-being of the children, so it’s important to stay focused on their needs.

When to Seek Help

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If you are dealing with a narcissist during custody mediation and feel overwhelmed or unsafe, it’s important to seek help. Consider hiring an attorney, therapist, or mediator who has experience working with narcissists.


Custody mediation with a narcissist can be a challenging and emotional process, but it’s important to remember that the well-being of the children is the most important thing. By preparing yourself, staying calm, and focusing on the needs of the children, you can successfully navigate the mediation process with a narcissist.

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