The Games Narcissists Play During Divorce
Game 1 - Delay
Whilst reflecting on the nearly six years I have been attemting to not only divorce but also get free from the control of my ex -husband, I came across an article in Psychology Today regarding the problems with divorcing a narcissist. Every problem seemed to be an accurate reflection of my problems.
Later that day I was bemoaning this to a friend and an idea came to me. One way of releasing myself from the guilt of all this is to write down my experiences and share with others, so that maybe they will be forewarned and forearmed.
Hence my plan to do a short series of articles which are examples of some of the games narcissists play, especially when you file for divorce.
The first obvious (well it is now that I realise I was married to an extreme narcissist) game is going to court. Most sensible and sensitive couples work it out with mediation and splitting things equally as well as planning the care of children. Not the narcissist who sees themselves as the victim in the whole scenario. They want their chance on centre stage to convince a judge to see the truth according to their world. They want to be proven right on all counts especially finance and ego.
So once in the court arena they will do anything to stay in the centre of attention and everything they can to delay a judge’s final opinion. Not because they are unsure of the opinion being in their favour but because they want to ensure maximum control and delay and difficulty for the victim. This person is likely to be the one who filed for divorce in the first place. (After all why would a narcissist divorce what they control?)
An example of the delay I have personally experienced is as follows
Nineteen years into our relationship and being unable to effect any positive change in my relationship with what I now know as a narcissist, I filed for divorce in June 2014.
Initially my ex just filed the application in the wood burner and ignored it.
My first application to court was in early 2015 as an attempt to get him to the table to negotiate an agreement without further court appearances.
Delay 1. He used our son as an excuse to delay making any arrangements, as he was at GCSE level education and needed a stable home.
Delay 2. I waited until after the June 2015 GCSE examinations and then suggested mediation. Ex husband failed to turn up to the first two appointments and on the third waxed lyrical for an hour about my failings. The mediator concluded it was a lost cause.
Delay 3. I applied for a court hearing and he did make a verbal and written agreement just before court in Spetember 2015, just over a year after my original application. With his persuasion I gave up my solicitor so that his solicitor could draw up the agreement and we would all save court costs and legal fees. Twenty four hours before the court hearing he telephoned me from his solicitor’s to say he had offered me too much and he was withdrawing his offer. ‘ See you in court’
Delay 4. Subesequent to our divorce and Financial Remedy Order of November 2016, we were obliged to put our farm on the market and sell it. This was done in two parts. We found a buyer for the farm and fifteen acres and had an offer in June 2017 with a completion in October 2017. I pushed for the marketing of the remaining ground from June 2017 so that potentially all the sale could have completed at the same time. Ex didn’t agree with this as he wanted the remaining 40 acres of ground. I had no concerns about this but wanted him to buy it at oipen market value. He did not believe that he should have to pay that value……..
Delay 5. June 2017, ex would not allow the ground at XXXXXXXXl Farm to be marketed until XXXXXXXX Farm was sold.
Delay 6 October 2017 The farm was sold and XXXX refused to sign the instruction to sell the ground at XXXXXXXXX stating he wanted the ground. I agreed XXXX could buy the ground at open market value. We would market the ground on the open market and match he could match the highest offer. XXXX still refused to sign the instructions.
Delay 7 February 2018 I applied to the court for instructions to sell the ground on the open market using two agents to ensure fairness. This was granted by the judge. This was the time he started game two, the allegations of me owing him money.
Delay 8 April 2018. XXXX failed to turn up at the ground to walk around with the agents and value the ground and discuss the sale.
Delay 9 June 2018 I went back to court to get XXXX to sign the instructions for sale. The judge ordered that this happen. At the same time XXXX requested he be the preferred buyer and alleged that I owed him money. The judge instructed in the order of June 2018 that the land be sold on the open market and that XXXX could be the preferred purchaser. He could match the highest open market offer and had to complete the purchase within 14 days of the matched offer. (He had the proceeds from the sale of the farmhouse , so this was easily achievable) The judge further instructed that all outstanding money owed to the parties be settled at the time of completion of the sale. The judge asked for XXXXX list of what he alleged was owed but XXXX hadn’t got one. The judge ordered that he had to furnish the list within two weeks and I was to respond within two weeks.
Delay 9 Also running concurrently was the game of my ex instructing his solicitor and then disinstructing him and acting in person. This had been his tactic after the sale of the farm in October 2017.
Delay 10. July 2018 XXXX had furnished his list which totalled around £21000 (a little more than a couple of final expenses!). I responded within a week and clarified with evidence, that he had in fact been paid in full for all the expenses. ( Which were real!). I sent extensive notes and evidence of my bills which had been set against some of the costs he claimed. There were several claims which I did not believe were correct. One such instance was an alleged purchase of XXXXX from his mother before our divorce and the Financial Remedy Order. Also a bill from his sister’s company for work done one month before we divorced. Even though this was supposed to have taken place less than four weeks before the Financial Remedy Order and was work for our farm partnership, I was unaware of it and not informed and my ex had ‘forgotten to list it in the original financial remedy order.. This totalled £5000 . He had asked for a breakdown of the single farm payments and I had sent an extensive commentary of how it had been broken down and the payments. There were also expenses set against this. My ex had always had the information as the payments were made in 2016 2017 and 2018. Nevertheless I furnished him with further copies and breakdowns of all expenditure, in an attempt to get this finalised
Delay 11. August 2018 The date for final offers, which were sealed bids, for the ground was XX August 2018. The day arrived and XXXX did not attend the meeting to open the bids and was on the telephone instead. My offer for the ground was proposed by the agents as the best offer . Despite XXXX having been granted preferred purchaser status in June 2018 he asked for twenty four more hours to consider the offer. One hour later a late offer was entered by ex’husband’s relative which was then recommended as the best offer by the selling agents.
Delay 12. XX August 2018 Ex decided not to match his relative’s offer and therefore the planned completion date when I would receive my money was delayed from XX September 2018.
Delay 13. XX November 2018 was the planned completion date for the relative to buy the ground and a week before this date XXXX refused to sign the sales contract as according to him, I ‘still owed him money’. On recommendation from the conveyancing solicitor I agreed all proceeds of the sale were held by her so that we could complete it. Urgent requests were sent to XXX to clarify what he felt was still owing. These requests were ignored and no finalised list of ‘debts’ was ever presented
Delay 14. February 2019 XXXX had still not responded or supplied details and so I made a further court application to get the money released.
Delay 15. XX April 2019 was the date for court. By the time this arrived XXXX had furnished a completely new list of debts and loans allegedly owed to his family, of which he was claiming half off me. On his new debts list I owed a total of nearly £60,000.
Game 2. A week before the court he had re-instructed his solicitor.
Delay 16. Despite my making several offers before we went into the courtroom on XX April 2019 XXXX refused them all. In court the judge ordered on XX April 2019, that all debts in connection with his XXXXXX be removed from the list as this should be a separate claim against the farm partnership. She also urged both parties to offset as much as possible to reduce costs and court time.
Delay 17. XXXXX solicitor requested an adjournment as he had only just been instructed. ( He had had full involvement up to February 2019 so not sure why this was said) The judge agreed and requested a final list and a court hearing of four hours in order to consider what was left on the list, which she hoped we woulkd be able to agree before that date and save costs.
Delay 18. XX May 2019 Statements were prepared and sent to the court regarding the final list. Once again Tony’s list had changed. Not only had he taken out the debts relating to his mother’s estate, he had ‘remembered’ some new debts and was also now claiming all of the single farm payments, which was not what had been agreed in the financial remedy order. This was a completely new item and another example of how to effect delay
Delay 19. XX June 2019 The court had had all the paperwork but the judge hadn’t received it. Because of the ‘new item’ regarding XXXXX claim for the single farm payment the judge and the fact that the paperwork had not been received, the judge did not want to hear the case.
Delay 20. XXXX had instructed a barrister for the day who introduced another delay over the question of the dissolution of the farm partnerships between XXXX and I. This date couldn’t be arranged as the finances and final accounts could not be completed until the final list of costs was sorted out.
Delay 21. The judge ordered that we do further questionnaires and responses and final draft accounts by XX August 2019 a date after XX September 2019. My solicitor was to type up the order and send it to the judge to perfect as soon as possible.
Delay 22. XX August 2019 All questionnaires and responses and accounts were done and a copy sent to the court. My solicitor had also done the draft order on XX June 2019 and chased up the court and the judge in July 2019 and August 2019. No court date until XX November 2019 .
Delay 23. XX November 2019 We arrived at court to find that the judge had finally received the paperwork from May 2019 but had never received the draft order for 21st June 2019. As seems to have become the norm, I made offers to settle outside the court and XXXX rejected them. (I’ll call this Game 2. Don’t forget that narcissists are adept at playing many games simultaneously) Judge dictated the order for XX June 2019 all of which had been completed and then requested a final hearing be listed after XX January 2020 to hear the case.
Delay 24. However, he thought from the issues now raised that this should be allocated two days in court and further half day reading. As with every court appearance the judge commented on the escalating costs and the fact that all the money is being eaten up in court and legal costs. (Game 3)
I have been pragmatic and inadvertantly played in this game too long. MY money is being held in court while ex-husband creates delays. So far this has amounted to a time delay from June 2014 to February 2020 and we have no final hearing court date yet. XXXX could have bought the land on completion of sale of the farmhouse, in October 2017. So far he has managed to create a delay of 477 days and counting!
The cost to me in mental health terms has been a continued severe form of PTSD caused by having to constantly relive the abusive life in order to respond to his false claims and present my own witness statements.
The cost to me in terms of finance is that I now have legal fees in excess of £63000, costs of counselling of over £3500 and a tax bill coming up for the sale of the land of over £13000. All this is to defend myself in his game. I need a change of game plan as it’s not quite game set and match yet!
I write this first episode in the hope that others who read it will spot the narcissist in their life and be able to play the game differently. If I can help one person man or woman out of this game I’ll be happy. If you need support or coaching or some guidance on how to improve your service and any other strokes, please get in touch
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