“Human progress is neither automatic, nor inevitable. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Anybody who has experienced Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) abuse and ended up in court knows how difficult it is to find an attorney who not only knows how to navigate the court system, but who can also understand our situation as NPD survivors and victims.
In most countries, there are no laws to protect and defend people like us since it is very difficult to prove emotional and psychological abuse. Moreover, narcissists know how to fool the system and everybody. Therefore, at the time of choosing and hiring an attorney to help us, it is very important to us to have the reassurance that he or she will do everything in their power to represent us to their best of their abilities. Most importantly, that they will also show compassion towards us, even when they can’t do anything about what happened to us in court.
I know this first hand. My husband’s attorney, in a shallow maneuver, waited almost to the last minute to have me served. I didn’t have time to research attorneys. I was a few days from defaulting my divorce case. I barely had a handful of days to run my case over the phone with a few attorneys and hired one going with my gut.
The attorney I hired was not necessarily a bad one. He just didn’t understand what those of us going through this type of abuse have to go through. I tried to explain to him some of the things that had happened and were still happening to him, only to have him look at me with eyes-opened-wide expressions. At that point, I understood that his job was not to by my therapist. But I was desperate for him to understand how my husband would lie, how he would present me, how he was already using our daughter, and how he was out to make me look like a crazy woman. He had trouble understanding the concept of gaslight. I think he believed me. He just couldn’t do much about it in court.
“The criminal justice system, like any system designed by human beings, clearly has its flaws.”
~ Ben Whishaw
The main problem with him not understanding what I was actually dealing with was that he was not able to anticipate some of my husband and his attorney’s moves. As a result, I was falling more and more behind. Eventually, my attorney made a crucial mistake and I ended up firing him, just merely 8 days away from having to be in court.
Without an attorney and the court date fast approaching, I became desperate. I went to his office and picked up the two boxes with everything that I had given him, from tax returns and all the documents needed for discoveries, to pictures and evidence of other things that my husband had been doing to me, our daughter, or both.
The latter was another important factor in my making the decision to let him go. I knew there were few chances of him being able to submit to the court the evidence that I had given him. It was at most circumstantial. But still, for him to have just set it aside like that, I was not too happy.
Armed with my two boxes of documents, receipts, and other things, along with his last bill, I set myself to find another attorney. I had no idea how I was going to do that. I had already had a lot of trouble finding this man. But I couldn’t let anxiety win me over once again. I had not had an anxiety attack since I had gotten pregnant. I was not going to start having those again then.
I started to spend most of my hours at work searching for attorneys and contacting my friends who had been through divorces. I was given some good references. However, every attorney I was contacting did not want to take my case because of the short notice.
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons, nor property will be safe.”
~ Frederick Douglass
On one particular day, I had still not heard back from the one attorney who was going to look at her other commitments and see if she could make room for my case. I was at work, hoping. My cell phone rang. It was the attorney, saying that she could not take the case due to her becoming a judge permanently. Nonetheless, she gave me the contact information for another attorney who was up and coming. Young, a mother of two, had been named attorney of the year the year before… She highly recommended this woman.
I looked for this other lady online. I liked what I saw and, muttering a short prayer, I called her office. She was not in that day. They took my information. It was all they could do at the time. They didn’t make any promises for the same reasons the other attorneys I had previously contacted had rejected to take my case: Too short notice, not enough time to prepare a proper defense and case, too busy.
My heart broke at that point. I started to second guess myself. I didn’t want to have to call the attorney I had fired. But I couldn’t see how I could defend myself in court, especially when my husband had hired a Mr. Father’s Rights Heavy Guns Against Women and Mothers In General type of attorney. Being a fan of Law & Order does not really prepare you to fight the fight of your life.
I was at the office and I just couldn’t keep it together. I had to get out of there. I had not set a foot in a church in a very long time. I needed to be at a church.
I got in the car and drove to the nearest parish. What do you know? It was closed, locked. No surprise there. Why is it that in this country churches are always locked? Where I come from, churches are open 24/7/365. You can walk in any time you want or need to.
I searched for other nearby parishes. I found one that was part of a Catholic school. I figured that, being part of a school, it had to be open. And it was, indeed.
I sat in a corner and I started to cry. All the tears I had been holding for the longest time started to roll down uncontrollably. I don’t know how long I sat there, just crying, when my cell phone started to vibrate. I ran to the entrance that was not that far away and took the phone call. It was the attorney that had been recommended by the newly-appointed judge.
Only 5 minutes into the conversation and she said to me, ‘Your husband is a narcissist, with the personality disorder.’ There was nothing specific in what I had shared with her that would allow someone who did not understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or abuse in general to come to such conclusion in just a few words.
What a sense of relief!!! Finally! An attorney who seemed to understand what I was up to. She started to fire questions at me, very specific questions, question such as if he had hidden, broken, damaged, or lent my things to other people without my agreeing or knowing. If my things were prone to disappearing and reappearing out of nowhere. If I was always putting up money for repairs, vacations, dates, things for our daughter. If I had quit or switched jobs because he had convinced me to do so.
I couldn’t believe my ears! She was god-sent. I felt this peace and relief that you only feel when you know there’s some sort of Divine Intervention going on.
The sense of hope I started to feel froze in my heart and soul. All of a sudden I felt I needed to ask her something, ‘Can you take my case?’ I was scared to ask the question. All the other attorneys had denied my case.
Before I couldn’t even ask her, she said to me, ‘I’m not cheap, but I’m not going to take you to bankruptcy. I will take your case, but if you can get to my office tomorrow with everything you have. Give me the name of the attorney you fired and his contact information and I will take care of having the court aspects transferred to me. But I need you here tomorrow so we can continue this conversation and prepare our case. Can you do that for me?’
I just wanted to jump through the phone and hug her.
Of course, I met her the following day. We spent the entire morning going over everything. She was efficient, quick, and he took my case to heart.
Over the course of my divorce, she has even called me a few times to see how I was doing… and she didn’t charge me for those phone calls. She just wanted to make sure I was doing fine. Who does that? Only someone who understands what abuse victims have to go through.
“Our constitutionally-based criminal justice system places a high value on protecting the innocent. Among its central tenets is the idea that it is better to let a guilty person go free than to convict someone without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.”
~ Robert Shapiro
At some point I asked her how she had learnt so much about NPD. She told me that she once had a client who had gone through this type of abuse. Her very first client like this. She didn’t understand what was going on and she felt that she was not providing this woman with the legal help she needed and deserved. With her permission, she started to ask her questions of a more personal nature. She then started to pick up psychological books. She educated herself as much as she could for that particular case.
In the end, her client was satisfied with the services she was provided by my attorney. A friend of hers ended up needing a family attorney and she recommended this attorney.
One thing took to another and more and more clients who had been dealing with NPD abuse and other types of abuse started to contact her. She kept learning with every new case that landed on her desk, most of them as a result of word of mouth.
I was the first one to have a child with disabilities. So once again, she had to learn more. She said that I was also probably the most informed client she had had before, both because I had been doing my own research about NPD, but also because I was a foreigner, an immigrant who had already navigated other legal systems (labor and immigration) and brought even more to the table for her to learn.
This attorney and I have a lot in common, too. We both share the same cultural backgrounds. Our ancestors come from the same country in Europe. We both grew up with the traditions of our ancestors. We are both proud of our ancestry. We both grew up in the same faith. We both have children the same age. We are both roughly the same age. We both have the same sense of humour. Furthermore, we lived only a few blocks from each other! We know we could have been friends under different circumstances.
Until NPD can be eradicated or better understood in a court of law, we need more attorneys like my attorney.
How many NPD victims have had to give up more than they should have just because their attorneys and the courts did not and do not understand what we are up to?
How many of us have been praying to be hit by our partners so we could go to the police and file a report since a punch to the face leaves physical evidence whereas a kick to the soul and heart does not?
How many of us lost everything we had worked so hard for, including our reputation, because of someone who might have not been smart enough, but knew how to con everyone and everybody he or she became in contact with?
How many of us ended up with addictions, PTSD, unable to hold a job, depressed, and penniless because of the abuse and because of attorneys who might have tried their best, but didn’t really grasp it?
How many of us had to fight this fight alone?
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”
~ Malcolm X
I feel responsible. I feel that I want to help other victims. I can’t do much. But I have to start somewhere.
I would like to put together a directory of attorneys (lawyers or solicitors in other countries) for other victims. If only one person stumbles on this blog and the page that I plan to put together for the directory and gets the defense and services she or he deserves as a victim of this nefarious and covert abuse, then it will be worth it.
If you were satisfied with the services provided by your attorney, regardless of where you are in the world, please comment below. I will keep all comments private and I will not reveal who shared the information. This is for everybody’s protection, especially for those of us with children.
Please provide the folowing,
- Name of firm (if any)
- Attorney’s name
- Firm or attorney’s full address
- Web address
- (Optional) Any other comments you would like to share, such as why you like him or her, their strengths, anything you think another survivor would like to know