Fraud Blocker

What Defines a Narcissist?

Look, if you’ve reached the point of the internet where you’re checking in on a divorce attorney’s blog then you likely already view the differences between you and your spouse as irreconcilable. We fully understand that some relationships just don’t work out and divorce happens. You aren’t alone in feeling this way considering more than 1.5 million people get divorced in the U.S. each year (and those numbers don’t even include several states!).

So, why are you getting a divorce? One of the most common accusations during marriages recently has been that the other spouse is a “narcissist” which forced a tear in the relationship. Google search trends show interest in the term narcissist has skyrocketed in recent years, nearly tripling in searches since January 2016.

What’s important to understand is that a quick Google search won’t give you the right or the ability to declare your ex as a narcissist. So, what actually defines narcissism and why does it matter in family law cases?

Defining Narcissism

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an actual health diagnosis and claiming someone is a narcissist will likely be objected to in court without expert support. The Mayo Clinic defines NPD as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

Maybe you just read that and thought “huh, that exactly described my ex.” That’s fine and all, but an actual diagnosis of NPD can be extremely relevant in divorce and custody cases – as long as it comes from an actual medical expert.

Entering Narcissism Into the Record

As we mentioned above, any claim of narcissism by an ex will likely be objected to in the courtroom. Repeated accusations without expert backing could get you into some trouble with the judge and cause you to lose favor on important matters.

How you CAN get this entered into the record, however, is to bring in an actual medical expert. This expert must be independent and be able to have enough access to your ex to make a reasonable diagnosis. If your ex has already been diagnosed this information may be relevant to the case, as well. You are always allowed to testify to observations you’ve made during your relationship, but an expert will need to take the stand in order to enter an actual diagnosis.

What Narcissism Means for Your Case

If you’re able to enter a Narcissistic Personality Disorder into the record, it can have major implications on your case. Under no circumstances should anyone discriminate against another person for disabilities, including mental health disorders, but the courts must consider how medical conditions impact the ability to care for a child.

If you’re dealing with a custody battle then it’s possible an NPD diagnosis will work in your favor. The court will consider the diagnosis and could provide limited visitation with your children until the situation is improved (which is very possible as there are resources to help those in need of mental health assistance).

The best way for you to make sure all evidence is entered into the record for your divorce is to work with knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate attorneys. That’s where Rinehart Bryant comes in. We are your Virginia family law firm and we’re ready to protect you and your children from troubling exes. Contact us today.

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