Tag Archives: Domestic abuse and the courts

17 Tips For Fighting The Narcissist In Court

In Quora today someone asked for helpful tips for going to court against an abuser.

I was able to come up with 17.

1. I always tell victims of abuse to keep a journal, if they don’t think they have time or are not “writers”, then simply get a day planner and make notes each day. We all think we will remember events, especially negative ones but the truth is, when in an abusive relationship there is so much drama and trauma, events get forgotten or days all run in together. Judges like facts; standing up in court saying he did this or that ends up being a “he said/she said” situation and an abuser (usually a narcissist) is very good at playing the victim and at lying. Besides, how many times has the narcissist been able to make you doubt your own eyes or argued so convincingly that you did something that you are sure you didn’t, that you begin to doubt your sanity? Best to write things down.

If the victim can flip through a journal or calendar and give dates and times to events it is much more believable. It also helps the victim stay calm and not get flustered.

So often in court the victim is justifiably emotional, the abuser is calm, rational and usually lying. If the victim has notes they can refer to it helps them to remain calm and to confidently rebuttal the lies. Unfortunately the judicial system views emotional people as being out of control or lying. The old says “thou protesteth too much” comes to mind. If you have the facts right in front of you there is no need to try to defend yourself, you simply state facts.

Pictures speak a thousand words is also very true in court.

  • Note of warning. Make dang sure the abuser does not know you are keeping a journal or have pictures because he/she will go to any length to find and destroy them, including killing the victim.
  • There is also a tendency for the victim to be too honest. They tell the abuser they have evidence of abuse in hopes it will make the abuse stop. This could be extremely dangerous.

2. Keep any threatening emails, texts, voice messages that the abuser leaves/sends and if it can be done safely, record any interactions where he/she is threatening the victim.

* Again, I repeat, make sure the abuser never finds out. Have a trusted friend keep the evidence if possible.

I remember watching a true story about a woman who was murdered. They couldn’t nail anyone with the murder until they found a shoe box in her closet with pictures and her journals. Unfortunately it didn’t save her life but at least the killer (her fiance ) was made to pay for the crime. (BTW he killed her after she agreed to meet with him to celebrate their anniversary, he bought her a beautiful gift, they had dinner and then he killed her. )

3. I also strongly advise to have your support system with you. In Canada we have advocates who will go to court with the victim, but a good friend who can remain calm and keep the victim calm is always advisable.

4. Written character references are helpful, the abuser will try to discredit the victim, make them sound unstable, violent or promiscuous; so references from employers, family, long term friends etc who will vouch the victim is honest, loving and rational goes a long way to disputing the abuser’s claims that he was pushed to his limit’s by the victim.

The abuser will often use, “I know it was wrong, I shouldn’t have let her get to me, I should have just walked away. I am not a violent person and I am so ashamed I lost control. She can be relentless.” He can even squeeze out some tears and shaking hands. The worst thing the victim could do is lose it and yell “he’’s lying!!” much better to have the written character references and to remain calm in court.

5. Something many people don’t think of is; how to dress. For women I always advise as follows:

Wear something you are comfortable in and fits well. It doesn’t have to be expensive, preferably it shouldn’t be too expensive anyway. Slacks or skirt with a button up blouse. No cleavage, no mini skirts, no bright colors. Keep it muted colors, not red or black, but grey, beige, soft blue, green, cream. You get the idea.

No dangling bangles, earrings should be simple studs or small hoops, no bracelets that will make noise. The judge finds it distracting and irritating.

Shoes should be comfortable, you might have to walk quite a distance, and you will have to stand in front of the judge. Also they should be “sensible” shoes, only a 3″ heel at most, closed toe, (no thigh high boots).

Hair should be away from the face in a simple up do or clipped back. I tend to play with my hair when I am nervous so any time I go to court I make sure to put my hair up to avoid mindlessly twisting my hair. Once again, it is distracting and makes the victim appear nervous and fidgety.

If a woman is wearing panty hose, please make sure they fit well and bring a spare pair in case you get a run.

Make sure your bra straps won’t show or fall off your shoulder.

Make sure you won’t be fidgeting!!

6. A week or so before court do a practice run. Drive to the courthouse at the same time you will be driving the day of court and make sure you know where to go. Allot extra time for unforseeable delays like road construction, trains, school buses, detours etc on the day of court.

7. If you are going to be at the courthouse anyway, make an appointment to speak to duty counsel, they can prepare you for what to expect.

In Canada, every courthouse has a “duty counsel” lawyer volunteers who give free legal counsel. You can call ahead and make an appointment to speak with one. The more you know about what to expect, where to go etc, the calmer you will be on the day of court.

8. Try on your outfit a week ahead of time and make sure it is clean and pressed. Nothing adds to the stress quite like rushing to get ready and having to iron a blouse or to put something on and find the hem is coming down, it has a stain or a button missing. To be on the safe side it never hurts to have one of those travel sewing kits in your car.

9. Get or borrow a briefcase for your paperwork. Either leave your purse at home or use a shoulder bag so you are not fumbling with papers, dropping papers, dumping your purse on the floor, etc.

10. Days ahead make copies of your evidence (never hand over evidence without making copies) organize your paperwork and pictures so you are not trying to find stuff in court and wasting the judge’s time.

11. The night before: fill the gas tank and check the air in your tires. Leave nothing to chance if possible.

12. Day of court: leave yourself plenty of time to get there. Better to be there early and go for a coffee than to be rushed or worse; late!

13. Stand when the judge enters the court room.

14. Bow when approaching the judge and again when leaving. Address the judge as “Your Honor” or “ Your Lordship “.

15. The narcissist WILL try to: intimidate you, make you look unstable and try to make you jealous by bringing the new woman with him. Please do not play into his game. Even if you are dating someone else please do not bring him to court with you. Do not play into the narc’s game, it is not attractive and won’t win any points with the judge. It just looks dysfunctional. Remember, only a sick person can go straight from a committed relationship with one person to falling madly in love with someone else a week later. A true victim is too busy trying to heal to start dating.

The woman will probably shoot you daggers and be SO loving and supportive you will want to slap her. Either, don’t even look at them or if you can pull it off; shake your head and give her a little knowing grin, its a subtle way of letting her know, you know something she doesn’t. It also shows you have class. Do NOT under any circumstances get into an exchange with him and her. If he approaches you, go immediately to a security guard.

I know of one case where the victim was able to remain so calm that the abuser totally lost it in the hallway outside the courtroom; yelling and threatening her. He was arrested immediately and of course totally blew his case.

16. Just be honest. Don’t try to guess what the narcissist will do or say or what lies he will tell. You know he will lie but you are prepared with facts and the truth. A narcissist relies heavily on intimidation and lies; when he is faced with the truth he starts to fall apart because he won’t have proof and a judge is not going to be intimidated by him. The narcissist is thinking you aren’t even going to show up for court, let alone be calm cool and collected.

17. Take tissues with you, it’s OK to cry, just try to not be a sobbing emotional basket case or a screaming fish wife.

That’s about it. Good luck!

The Number One Tool The Narcissist Relies On To Exist

How is it possible that these people exist among us, creating havoc, destroying lives, ruining people’s reputations, bleeding people of their hard earned money, leaving a trail of destruction behind them their whole life without ever paying for their sins? How can they move from lover to innocent lover, get fired from job after job, father children with numerous women and never pay a dime of support, and never suffer consequences for their actions?

I often think the most painful thing the victim has to deal with, the hardest thing for the victim to accept is that the narcissist seems to avoid karma, they never seem to “get what they deserve”, how can someone be so evil and malicious and remain undetected unless they kill someone. Even then, I shudder to think how many have literally gotten away with murder.

So how do they do it?

The one thing that they know and count on is society’s, OUR refusal to accept true evil lives among us, is our neighbor, our policeman, our own parents, children, teachers, shares our bed. Logically we know it exists, we read about it, we see the news, we know, we just refuse to believe it could possibly come into our life or the life of someone we know, unless they invited it somehow.

We think we know what evil looks like and we wouldn’t fall in love with it. We have seen the pictures of murders on the news and they look like murders, they look crazy, we wouldn’t get near that person for love nor money, who could love someone who looks that insane?

Plus we are taught by our legal system that someone is innocent until proven guilty and you have to prove without a shadow of doubt that they are guilty or they will get off. What are narcissist good at? creating doubt! they know all they have to do is instill a bit of doubt and the victim will stick around until they can prove the narcissist did what he did, whether that is cheating or whatever.

Once the victim leaves, then they face the rest of the world, family, friends, law enforcement, government departments like child welfare; where they try to prove the narcissist is what they say he is. But he looks so calm, cool, collected, not like a crazed evil man they are saying he is. The narcissist, because he lacks any kind of conscience and relies totally on his acting skills to show any emotion does “innocent” better than an innocent person. He will look people right in the eye and without a bead of sweat on his brow or fidgeting hands; bald faced lie, deny deny deny, plead he is the victim and the true victim, totally frustrated over not being believed begins to look more and more insane.

I am getting side tracked though. The biggest tool the narcissist uses is society’s refusal to accept he even exists. Because the narcissist saves his true self for only the one near and dear to him, others rarely see him with his full mask off. Those victims who have seen the narcissist when his mask totally falls know exactly what I mean. You know evil when you see it. It didn’t happen often with my ex, sure there were many times he was cold, cruel, heartless, but there was a handful of times I saw pure evil in front of me and it made my blood run cold. You know in that instance that he could kill you without any hesitation, for many by the time this happens, it is too late and he does kill them. I was lucky.

There is no way to describe the look, the eyes, but once you have seen it, you are changed forever and that is when you realize that yes evil does exist. The human mind has a very hard time accepting that. When the victim finally comes to the realization you would think they would run as fast as they could to get away, and believe me, in my head I was screaming, “Get the fuck out, now, just run.” But there was this morsel of doubt, I must be crazy, I am being dramatic, over analyzing, being paranoid, and by that time the mask is back on and I was wondering if I imagined the whole thing.

There is a case going on right now in BC Canada that proves my point quite well.

In 2008, a man with a history of abuse, his wife left him, he had visitation rights to see his children and from all accounts he might have abused his wife but he was a good father. The wife has to let him have visitation and he comes to the house to care for the children and she goes away for the weekend. She goes away from the weekend and comes home to a quiet house, goes looking for the children and finds all three of them dead in their beds.

The father is missing, a massive search ensues, he is found by a hunter and is turned in. He pleads temporary insanity and is sentenced to a mental institution. He has already been granted day releases and is now wanting to be paroled.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Powers, who heard the three-month trial in Kamloops without a jury, found that the killings were deliberate and planned by Schoenborn, but said he was not sane at the time.

“I find on balance of probabilities he was suffering from a disease of the mind,” Powers told the court at the end of the trial.

Powers rejected the Crown’s assertion that Schoenborn killed his children as revenge against their mother.

“I find it unlikely [he] would have killed his children out of anger given the close and caring relationship he had with his children,” he said .

find the full article here.

Many people are fighting his release for good reason. I saw one article written by a bleeding heart supporter who admonished the news paper for putting a picture of him on the front page of their paper because the poor man deserves his privacy and it is such an unattractive photo of him after all. He looks nothing like that now.  She went on to say that he paid for his crime and mental illness isn’t his fault and everyone needs to give the guy a chance to have a normal life.

I felt like writing a response, “You stupid bitch!! of course he doesn’t look like his picture, he has his mask back on you fool! Yes please, lets put a more recent and attractive photo of on the front page of every newspaper in the country, let everyone see him with his mask on at least then future victims have a fighting chance. What chance did his children have? when it is YOUR 3 children murdered in cold blood you can have all the sympathy for the murderer who did it you want.”

The man did 8 years in a mental institution and is “rehabilitated” (yet there are over 80 incidents of aggression and violence noted on his file in those 8 years,) until the next woman won’t take his bullshit and tries to leave.  Lawyers for the mother of the children and Crown Counsel want to have Schoenborn classified as “High Risk to Reoffend” which would mean he wouldn’t get day passes, supervised or not and would have to wait 3 years instead of being able to appeal to a tribunal every year for release.

Awww isn’t it just too bad, his children, who did absolutely nothing wrong died, they will never play again, their mother God help her, lives with it every day of her life and every single flipping year she has to attend these tribunals in hopes of keeping him locked up. And when he does get out, if he does get out, on top of the agony she suffers daily over the loss of her children she will have to watch her back and wonder when and how he will get her.

He paid a small price to get what he wanted, for his ex wife to suffer the rest of her life and never forget him. To a narcissist 8 years is a small price to pay for revenge like that. A narcissist is very patient, and because he has no emotions except hatred they will cut off their own nose to spite their face. That is why they are so believable because it doesn’t make sense. Insanity doesn’t make sense.

I could have saved the courts and mental health a whole lot of money. Guess what people! A sane person does not kill his 3 children in cold blood. Of course he is insane!! was there ever any doubt? A normal person may be upset with their ex, they may even envision revenge of some sort (I used to fantasize about filling one of my ex’s cars with cement, I never did it!) A normal healthy person does not kill innocent children! period. and if they have a mental illness that made them do it; sorry too bad, that means they have a metal illness that could make them do it again. Why are we keeping them alive when the economy is in such bad shape and innocent people are homeless, innocent people are dead and we are paying for their care, tribunals, etc etc etc

About a year and a half into our relationship a man in Mission who raced at the Mission Raceway had his in-laws take the children for the weekend on the pretense of taking his wife away for a romantic weekend. Instead he tortured her all weekend before killing her. It was in all the papers, the small town was reeling, he was a well-known celebrity of sorts, his folks did a lot of charity work, their kids raced in little mini race cars. My ex was burnout box director at the track at that time and when I read him the article he was furious! “Why did the paper have to say he raced at the track? That’s bullshit!” I asked what difference it made and he said because now everyone would think all race car drivers are wife killers. Say what? No, they would not automatically assume all race car drivers are wife murderers, that is not how a normal mind works; oh but I didn’t know he was a narcissist at that point.

Back to the topic of how the narcissist gets away with it time after time after time and what we can do to change that.

I suggest, instead of trying to prove your ex is a narcissist to all the people he knows and the new woman who is totally enamored with him right now; save yourself the frustration. Instead, if you want to do something to end the destruction they cause, expose them, all of them, not just your ex, it just makes you look like a bitter, vengeful psycho bitch. Educate, mentor, young women, your daughters, your sons, your neighbors, the ladies at church, people may still think you are a little crazy but you know what? the more you talk openly to people (and you will have to learn when is appropriate and when is not) the more people will have a light go on for them. More and more people will go, “Hey, I dated a guy like that, I didn’t know what happened to me.” Or maybe, a guy falling in love with them almost immediately and thinking they are perfect and “nothing like their psycho ex” will be considered a red flag and not a compliment.

You can’t change your ex, you can’t erase the past, you only have control over your future and how you deal with your life from this moment on. Will you take your past experience as an opportunity to do good in the world, make a difference, save others from the same fate? or remain bitter and defeated?

Slowly word is getting out about narcissists, the more voices that join in exposing them for what they are the faster the word gets out there. Just like this blog, it took forever for me to get even a hundred followers but the more followers I got the faster I got more, like a snow ball rolling down hill it gained momentum and grew in size, the bigger it got the faster it grew. It may seem we aren’t making a difference, not reaching enough people and what will one voice do? It will do a hell of a lot more than no voice.

When I started my blog there was nothing on the net about narcissists now there are hundreds of sites, twitter accounts, Face Book pages.