Calm, Confident and in Control, those are not words most victims of a narcissist would use to describe themselves; usually that is the way the narcissist appears while the victim is an emotion train wreck, shaking, sobbing and incoherent. Just the thought of facing the N in the courtroom is enough to make the victim curl up in a ball in the corner and just give him anything he wants as long as she doesn’t have to deal with his ridicule, arrogance and obvious loathing.
No one wants to face a narcissist in court, after all they don’t have a conscience and you have already been subjected to years of feeling like you were facing the judge and jury in your relationship. The memories of the wospos interrogating me and the feeling of helplessness is crystal clear even now. Him coldly demanding, “Yes or No! it’s simple Carrie. Yes or No? Did I give you my pay cheque?” “The fact that you refuse to answer shows you know I am right.” Him refusing to let me explain, where no explanation should have been necessary.
I luckily never had to face the wospos in court, so I can only tell you what I would have done if I had.
Going to court is nerve-wracking at the best of times, let alone facing the one person who can bring you to your knees and who has spent years whittling away at your self-confidence. He displays a cocky attitude to you, after all; his abuse was intended to wear you down in order for him to get what he wanted, to control you. If he has done his “job” as well as he thinks he did, he will make mincemeat out of you. He expects you to walk into the courtroom looking nervous, unsure of yourself and emotional while he remains calm and in control and proves you are unstable.
The thing the victim has to remember is; everything about the narcissist is an act and that includes his confident cocky attitude, in honesty he would prefer not going to court, in fact he is probably a little surprised you have taken it this far and not just rolled over and given him what he wants already. it is making him nervous, it is a whole lot easier to control you and badger you into giving him what he wants when it is just the two of you, but in court and in front of a judge he has to watch his step, he has to put on an act and he might slip up. That is why he has isolated you, why he abused you behind closed doors, he knows he is wrong and if there are witnesses he wouldn’t get away with it. Like my dad used to say, “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’ The less people he tries to fool the greater the odds it won’t get discovered what he really is.
Something you have to keep in mind; you are in the position of power in court or at least on equal ground. For the first time you are facing him with witnesses, he can’t just go off on you without blowing his cover and looking like the asshole he is. That’s why, as the court date approaches he will ramp up the abusive emails, or become loving all of a sudden; he wants to avoid court so he will tell you all the horrible things he is going to bring out in the courtroom , threaten you, love bomb you, anything to get you to back out of going to court. You have to see it for what it is, he is afraid and it is all smoke and mirrors designed to make you doubt yourself. That is why no contact is so important, you cannot give him any opportunity to instill uncertainty in your mind or heart.
My last post talked about the importance of keeping a journal and receipts, the more evidence you have the easier it will be to prove he is a liar but it serves another purpose; the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. There is nothing more unnerving that going into a courtroom not knowing what he is going to throw at you and not being able to defend yourself.
You can never be too prepared, you might not need everything you bring but it is better to over prepare than to not be prepared enough. I have heard of many victims who came away from court in a much better position than they ever anticipated. I know of one personally where only minutes before court was called to order the N “had a vision” and God told him to settle out of court. I am sure it had nothing to do with all the character witnesses the victim brought with her.
Another woman from the blog here was able to prove her tormentor was guilty with tapes and emails she had saved and even though he had blackmailed her for almost 2 years he was found guilty and charged. More women than I can count went to court and got their fair share in property settlements, or won custody of the children.The daughter of a woman I know went a year with the N harassing her, threatening, refusing to pay child support, stalking her, and destroying property. He was not seeing his daughter regularly and my friend’s daughter was having to drive their little girl an hour so the dad could have an hour supervised visitation because he didn’t want to have to drive. My friend’s daughter got a short-term job out-of-town and the minute she left town her ex was filing a kidnapping complaint against her because he was going to miss his visitation. Now he was going to fight for custody and she was in noncompliance with court ordered visitation. Her mom went to court for her and got the court date moved. When the daughter went to court she went in with an arm load of files containing documentation of all his abuse and pictures of property damage he had done. When he saw she was prepared he panicked and had an “anxiety attack” and couldn’t handle court so the case was put off again. It seems to me that most of the time the N wins is when he blindsides the victim or manages to convince the victim they don’t have a chance of winning, so the victim psyches himself out. The worst thing you can do is to tell yourself you can’t win against the narcissist and give up before you even start. As my friend’s daughter was leaving the courthouse her ex came screaming in her face that she was going to be sorry, turning the air blue with swearing and acting in an obviously aggressive and intimidating manner; right in front of the courthouse security and half a dozen cops. A cop immediately stepped in and advised she get a restraining order, the judge was informed, a no contact order was issued and all his claims against the mom were thrown out. now the cops do drive bys by her house.
There is a tendency for the victim to think it is pointless or too much effort to keep a journal or save receipts; or they don’t believe the N will actually take it that far. Many victims of an N don’t believe the N can be that cruel and vicious, that in the end the years of love and dedication will mean something to him and he will do what is right.
Did you just see that pig fly across the room? I heard on the news hell is expecting snow storms too.
So, you have your notes and journals, pictures and you have created a time line, made note of all the lies and abuse and you have a calendar with notations on what happened when, copies of emails, witnesses of any abuse, and , now financial records, now what?
Now you have to present a calm and rational image to your ex and the judge, you want everyone to look at you and think “She doesn’t seem like a crazy psycho bitch to me.”
Appearances matter, in almost all walks of life but especially in job interviews and courtrooms. People form an opinion about a person within the first 7 seconds of meeting them. I always keep that in mind when I am meeting new people or I am going somewhere I know I am going to be nervous and want to seem confident. What impression do I want to make? I have found that how I dress affects how I feel about myself and it affects how people relate to you and consequently how people relate to you affects how you feel about yourself.
What you wear to court is very important. A courthouse has probably the strictest dress code of any where you will ever have to go and it shows respect for the judge and legal system and shows you take the whole process seriously. It also gives the impression of confidence, maturity, stability and intelligence. You don’t want to look miserable or matronly but (or a prison warden) you this is not the time for bright colours or blue hair.
Black, grey, navy blue, brown or beige are all good colours, apparently navy blue creates the best impression but I have always worn black with a shirt blouse or shirt and a sports jacket, not a matching suit, (it is a little too much black to wear a black suit). I always wear slacks for several reasons,
1. I am tall, with slacks I wear lower heeled shoes so I am not towering over everyone
2. I feel more comfortable in slacks, I don’t have to worry about a run in my nylons, or my skirt riding up, or twisting around my body, with a skirt I need higher heels.
3. Shoes should be closed toed, (no flip-flops, sandals, or 4″ heels) and no higher than a 2″ heel. Also wear shoes that are in good shape, not run down in the heel, polished and make sure they fit well. You don’t want sore feet distracting you or making you walk funny. You also don’t want to have to remove your shoes because they are so uncomfortable. You want to be able to walk a fair distance, tall and straight. Hobbling around with shoes that hurt does not give the impression of a woman in control. I have a really nice pair of pumps where the heel on one shoe is floppy and comes off while I walking, not a good look to fall off your shoes. This time of year boots are ok with a straight knee-length black skirt as long as they aren’t hooker boots or combat boots. 🙂
4. If you do wear a dress, wear nylons with it, (no bare legs) in neutral or black. Tights are good too. A dress or skirt should be no shorter than the knee and no slits, or butt hugging styles nothing too form fitting. It should fit well but this is not the time to show off to the ex how you have lost 40 lbs and firmed your butt. For that matter no cleavage either, make sure buttons aren’t pulling, maybe your ex always said he liked your ‘rack’ now is not the time to show him what he’s been missing.
5. No leggings unless you are wearing a long top that more than covers your butt, I don’t care how great your butt is.
6. Dress in layers in case the courtroom is hot, sweating makes you look nervous and uncomfortable.
7. A smallish briefcase and no purse is best.
8. Jewelry should be kept at a minimum, wedding ring if applicable, or one ring but no rings on every finger or gaudy rings. No bangles, no bracelets that make a lot of noise, a watch or one simple bracelet. nothing that looks too expensive.
Earrings should be studs or something small that doesn’t dangle and cause distraction. You want the judge listening to what you have to say and not distracted by your earrings flashing, bracelets clanging etc
9. Whether you wear slacks or a dress you should wear a nice blazer or a sweater set.
10. I usually wear a scarf around my neck and don’t wear any jewelry. it give a subtle splash of colour, is a cheap classy accessory.
11. Sleeveless is a no-no, if it is summer and extremely hot, wear a cardigan or jacket over a sleeveless top so outside you can take it off, but a courtroom is going to be air-conditioned and probably cold anyway.
11. Hair should be pulled back if long, styled and clean. If you are like me and twist your hair when you are nervous for sure pull it back and DO NOT PLAY WITH YOUR HAIR. It is distracting and shows you are nervous. If you have a mohawk or blue hair, think about a more conservative style for court.
12. Tattoos are best covered up if possible and piercings should be removed and if that isn’t possible, made as less noticeable as you can.
13. Makeup should be minimal, neutral eye shadow or none at all, mascara, lipstick and a bit of blush, no false eyelashes or heavy eye liner, it tends to make a woman look hard and takes a bit of the class away from the look. You are going for subtle all the way. Double check to make sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth.
14. Jewelry, like I said earlier, small, minimal, nothing distracting, nothing flashy, nothing expensive, nothing that makes noise.
15. Make sure everything is pressed, not missing buttons or in need of repair, no stains, fits well, and most of all is comfortable and you feel good in it. If you are wearing a skirt or dress make sure to bring an extra pair of nylons, nothing like getting a run to make a woman feel self-conscience.
Try on your whole outfit plenty of time ahead so that if something needs dry cleaning, or pressing or it just doesn’t fit like it used to; you have time to fix the problem. Get a good friends opinion, remember the look you are going for is subtle class. You don’t want to look like you have a lot of money, just like you care how you look and that you are taking this very seriously and mean business.
Same rules apply; same colours, a suit is not necessary but no jeans, slacks and a sports jacket, matching socks, (no white socks), proper shoes (no runners), make sure your undershorts don’t show, a crisp shirt in white or blue, (no t-shirts), long sleeve and tucked in, a sports jacket or a nice leather bomber jacket, (no denim).
Jewelry and hair the same rules apply. make sure your hair is clean and styled, no crazy Mohawks or wild colours, if you have long hair pull it back. Jewelry keep to a minimum and any body piercings should be removed or at the very least made inconspicuous by wearing studs. Tattoos should be covered if possible.
Be On Time!
Even if you end up sitting in the parking lot waiting it is better to be early than to come rushing in at the exact time or being late. Go in and see where your court room is (there is usually a big bulletin board with all the names of people who have court that day and a courtroom number beside it, if there isn’t then there will be a Registry office and they can tell you where to go) so you know where to go, and then go for coffee if you are really early. Make a dry run a week ahead if you need to just to make sure you know your bus connections or know the way there. nothing worse than getting lost and it is easy to do when you are nervous. It isn’t a bad idea to have the children taken by a friend or family member the night before so you aren’t dealing with kids the morning of court. Minimize your stress any way you can, have your closest friend stay the night or go to court with you for moral support, someone who stays calm and will help calm you.
Oh, did I say no hats? No hats, unless your religion demands it, and no sunglasses or heavily tinted glasses until they are prescription.
No matter what your stomach is doing on the inside you will look professional and together on the outside and when you are dealing with a narcissist it’s all about appearances and how things look. Remember he is all an act and he is lying, you are honest and you are the real deal. Stand tall and proud, you have nothing to be ashamed of and if he sees you looking confident and self-assured he is going to wonder what you have on him and start to panic. The last thing he wants is for his true character to be exposed
Every time my ex got fired he was taking the company to court, he would spend hours upon hours gathering information, pay lawyers and then never go to court. he would miss his court date and ask for an extension, miss that date and always telling everyone how he was going to win all this money in court. When we split he had a case pending where he was supposed to get $40,000. he had borrowed $20,000 on it from his step dad and I am sure his mew woman lent him the $20,000 because he said he had this money coming. I bet he never even ended up going to court because they had just cause to fire him, it was all smoke and mirrors so he could look like the victim and not at fault.