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How do I convince the court that my soon to be ex has NPD and is a danger to my child

Community Member
I am currently going through the courts in a custody battle. My affidavit outlined all of the ways in which he made our lives terrifying and traumatised. The judge asked "did you do these things?" He said no and was awarded the time he asked for. Our child is 10. After I left him, she was finally free to talk about how much she had been frightened of him and about the things he said and did that made no sense. Being terrorised by him was our normal. I have only realised what he did to us after I left with my mental health in tatters. How can I make people in the legal system realise that I am not a vengeful, vindictive woman, but a mother who knows now just how much our lives were damaged by this man and how much he can still do if I am not able to prevent him? His driving is terrifying because he thinks he is the only one who can drive despite three car right offs all with our daughter in the car; misjudging, arrogance,refusal to wait, driving while tired. His tirades and tantrums are sources of pride for him and he adores the way people rush to appease him. He is a victim in all areas and that is how he is currently selling his story in the courts. His lack of ability to tell the truth even when faced with proof of his wrong doing is breathtaking. There is no lie he will not tell to avoid taking responsibility for the destruction in his wake. He also knows that the way to destroy me is to hurt our daughter. My lawyer told me that the way the divorce process is going is not normal even in angst filled separations, but really, it is normal for me. Has anyone any ideas, anyway to enlighten, anyway that the blinkers can be removed so that they see him as he truly is? The court appointed psychologist caught a glimpse but also thought it could be a defense mechanism. Why can no-one see that the quickest way to see him clearly is to say no to him?
7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Nearly Free~

Welcome, though actually I think your name is inaccurate - you are free now in the most important way possibly. To leave a relationship from under the control of a narcissistic personality is a major thing involving great courage, an ability to see the matter clearly and an ability to handle all the practical difficulties involved. Plus self-reliance.

So I admire you for that. I'm sure you have already thought of this but the separation not only allows you the opportunity for a better future but also provides an wonderful example to your daughter, something she can use in her later life too.

I cannot say the Family Court is perfect, it is a means of trying to sort matters out, and can at times leave both parties unhappy. If I might say so as gently as I can you may have to expect that at this time not all your ex's behaviors will be recognized - you may be lucky, I hope you are, but it is not a given.

Really this is stage one, the separation/divorce and initial custody. The Court will try to do what is best for the child in the circumstances they are aware of. Being 'aware of' is tricky, and does demand a standard of proof, something your ex may well try to circumvent.

(If he does so by means of false statements to the Court then he may reduce the weight of his case before the judge)

After that comes living with the arrangements set down. Here it is most important to document and have supporting evidence for any harmful or potentially harmful acts your ex may make in relation to your daughter. If a sufficient body of evidence is accumulated then a return to the Court is possible.

Obviously you need to to try to get as much of past behavior accepted by the Court, and there your own lawyer is the one to steer you.

You have had a major victory already.


Thank you for your post. Yesterday when I picked her up she was distressed because he had tried to make her believe her perceptions of one of his public tantrum at the airport was not his fault, that he was provoked, that they were yelling at him too; none of which is true. He is willing to chip away at her sanity because (a) chipping away at sanity is one of his best skills (b) hurting her is a bright shiny button to push (c) If he makes her doubt her memory he will be reassured that when she has to talk about her experiences to the court, the water might be sufficiently muddied that she will not speak about it. Despite, or perhaps because of, her father's ability to lie, she is an extremely honest child and part of her distress was the knowledge that he wanted her to lie. I told her not to challenge him but to say as little as possible and know in her heart that her memory of his actions must be honoured. I know what he will do before he does it with a fairly high success rate, but this does not mean that I have the counter balance to any of it or even some of it. The chances of his faking his way through the court process is high. I am hoping he does not realise what tipped off the court appointed psychologist to what he is truly like although she did add her rider about him possibly choosing a defence mechanism. Which bit is the defence mechanism? The dismissive contemptuous man at the beginning or the super charming congenial delightful human being she encountered when she went back to see him later that morning. Certainly the switch between the two she said disconcerted her and made her surmise that he might not be transparent throughout the proceedings. He is most certainly paving the way for the Family Assessment happening later this month; ordered by the court and by the court appointed psychologist, so that our daughter will be torn. Tell the truth and hurt Daddy, lie and be tormented by the decision.

Leaving him was not really all that difficult when he hurt our daughter deliberately to hurt me. I was used to, but constantly horrified, with each and every encounter with him. I was used to being hurt and not fighting back because it just was not worth our daughter seeing me lose time and time again. A ceaseless monologue full of lies is better than a rage filled tirade when he was challenged. I expected to be damaged every time he came at me. What I could not do is stand back and watch her suffer the same treatment. He had front row seats to the devastation he caused both of us on the day I left him and he refused to acknowledge that it had even happened let alone try to mend either of us. There was no wrench when I left. There were no second thoughts. There was only "how to" questions, not "should I have?" I told her that I had been sad and angry for too long and that I could no longer stay with him. We both cried for what might have been, not for what we had lost.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Nearly Free~

Trying to keep your daughter from either doubting herself or adopting his views of events is a very hard thing. It's also vital so your daughter ends up confident and with self-esteem in later life.

You may already do or have thought of these, so please accept my apologies if you have.

Logical arguments (not rows, points of view) are all very well, however may not have the deep seated effects necessary. I'd encourage your daughter to keep a daily diary or journal recounting events and what she accepted and did not, and how she felt.

If she will trust you to gently debrief her 'more in sorrow than anger' over his ploys (give them names or numbers if you need) then perhaps your daughter may end up with a balanced view of things.

This is all very unfair on her, and maybe by having events recorded in her own hand it will seem less like a choice between persons and more a case of reciting facts if she is ever asked.

I'd not venture into this straight away, I'd seek advice from medical personnel first about the effect this might have on your daughter. I'm only thinking what I might do with my child, it does not make it the correct way to go.


Thank you for your post again. He has only one more weekend in which to gaslight her before he picks her up to take her on a 1 hour car ride to the psychologist for the Family Assessment. I know to my cost that he can do so much damage to her in that hour and car trips are his favourite time as he has a captive audience who has been easily intimidated and trained to never speak up, never interrupt and never ask for what she needs. Only a couple of months ago she had a migraine in the car with him and she had to suffer through it because he gave her the wrong medication for it and talked incessantly while she was trying to ride out the pain. He had made it quite clear to her too many times that asking for him to stop talking would be far too frightening to attempt. Incessant talking is better than being loudly berated.

I gave her a special book to write in the first time he took her out for the day after I had stopped his access. This was because of erratic and dangerous driving,a near miss accident, a rage filled tirade about me and how awful I am and a screamed conversation with a Telco operator on the phone who would not do as he had demanded (because it was illegal) She came home reeking of his aftershave like some kind of animalistic scent marking and sobbed in the shower as she tried to wash the smell out of her hair. She wrote in the book; I feel horrible having fun with someone who I know does terrible things. She hasn't written anything since. Maybe because she associates writing in the book with the pain she was feeling. I have talked to her about how I journal and that for me it takes the pain away a little bit and helps me to sleep (also a little bit) A least once every couple of days she will come out with small revelations like; remember when we went on those trips well Daddy told me that my job was to keep him awake. That was from the very beginning when she was 4, she said. If he knew her at all and cared about her at all, he would know that she is an extremely conscientious child who would take that responsibility very seriously and would have been damaged for life if they had crashed. As it was the last time they went, he did crash and told her categorically that the accident would not have happened if she had been watching the road. She was 9 and took that to heart and repeated it to her teacher as a fact. There are so many things he did that she knew and I did not because for her it was normal and she did not dare complain.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Nearly Free

Thankyou for having the courage to post with us. The Family Court is a difficult place to be in

I understand your pain and anguish as I have spent seven years just trying to get my fortnightly contact with my daughter in the 1990s. It was a bad period even though I eventually did get my regular contact

Can I ask how your mediation session went (prior to the court case commencing) ? This is usually an indicator of how proceedings will go prior to court

Croix is spot on re the Family Courts' position. The first charter of the Family Court of Australia (or the Federal Magistrates Court) is to 'to operate in the best interests of the child'

I hope your situation is viewed favorably by the Court

you are not alone by any means on this sensitive issue 'Free'

I hope you can post back when its convenient for you....there are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you

my kind thoughts


Thank you for chipping in also.

We had a mediation session with Relationships Australia and the woman who ran it was willing to sign the paperwork to say that it was attempted and failed after only one session. I asked for him to attend an anger management course, he said he did not need it. Everything I said or requested was denied.

He then went to a psychologist who wrote a report about what a great guy he was.

The Judge requested that mediation be entered into through the court appointed psychologist. The report said that he appeared dismissive and contemptuous initially, challenged the psychologists questions and said that family violence was irrelevant to the time he spent with his child.

The second time she spoke with him he was friendly and apologetic but very tired of my constant accusations.

The psychologist said that she was disconcerted by both demeanours and the fact that he had changed between the two in the same interview

The psychologist said that she was of the opinion that the father might not be transparent in the dispute, that it could lend support to my assertion that the father is manipulative and calculating or that it could be a protective stance by the father.

She said that she though that further and fuller assessment was needed.

How can I agree to him spending unsupervised time with her when the hallmark of all interactions he has with us are, and have always been, contrary to truth and decency? I asked my daughter the other day, "What did Daddy do when I broke my nose?"Her response "he yelled at you" "how long did it take me to convince him to take me to the doctor?" She replied "ages" "How long before he took me to the doctor?" Ages. He had somewhere he had to be and I was interfering in his plans and making him late. I told him I had heard my nose crack. He told me that I had not. His inability to respond to the needs of others is not just confined to me. We were at a party. Our daughter fell out of a tree and was grey and in shock. I begged him to take us home. He spent 20 minutes arguing with me about why he needed to stay. Can I trust him to do the right thing by her? No. Can I trust him to respond to her in a timely and appropriate manner? No. Can I trust him to put her health and welfare first? No. The best I could hope for is that he has supervised visits with her at a Children's Contact Centre. That way he is forced to interact with her appropriately under the watchful eye of someone who is trained not to be manipulated.