Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

I have just finished a post on narcissism yet sift through my e-mails to find more individuals begging for resources after reading one of my columns.

The desperate pleas cry for help to aid in divorcing a narcissistic spouse.

Unfortunately, the legal system does not have the resources to combat divorcing mental illness nor is it set up to address the topic in general. 

The legal system accommodates issues of custody and finances. 

It does not have provisions to discourage the acts of a narcissist or deal with this mental health disorder.

It’s just widely accepted that long and protracted divorces are shall we say ‘Normal.’

A societal misnomer where somehow individuals believe that it’s acceptable to fight for years over either custody or money rather than doing what is best for the children. 

To some degree, it makes sense that the legal system and society view this as explainable behavior. They rationalize it as simply a person who has not gotten over their anger or hurt in the divorce process. A spouse embittered.

However, effective counseling leads individuals towards healthy self-discovery.

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It also reinforces there is NO excuse for bad behavior.

Still, the acceptance of divorcing adults misbehaving remains intact.

Recently, I was chatting with someone. This individual essentially conveyed it makes sense a person could elongate a divorce. After all, they are just angry and this type of thing is typical.

I found myself bewildered and at a total loss of respect.

It was hard to identify that I was speaking to an otherwise articulate, empathetic and mature adult. A grown person making excuses for a person hurting their own children to exercise their own fragile ego.

Herein lies the danger of divorcing mental illness. Especially a very “Pretty” mental illness such as narcissism.

There just aren’t the resources to help a spouse and to also help a spouse protect their children. 

So why aren’t sufficient resources available?

After further investigation into the topic, this is what I have discovered. Because narcissists do not believe they have an illness it is nearly impossible to reach them.

Unlike alcoholics or drug addicts or physical abusers, the narcissist does not leave any traceable marks on their victims.

Therefore, society, their friends, their family members refuse to believe it. Sadly, even the narcissist’s spouse rejects their true personalities until they stay so long they endanger themselves either emotionally or even physically.

It’s difficult to ascertain how to change the system to combat divorcing mental illness. Unlike the drunk person whose friend finally scoops them up off of the floor, the narcissist walks arrogantly amongst us.

It stands to reason the most logical way to combat this mental illness is to use their own strategy of control, punish and win. Rather than rewarding them for dragging out divorce, using and confusing their own children, financial and emotional abuse and more, shut them down as you would any other type of bully…

BY TAKING THEIR POWER AWAY AND THE REWARDS FOR ABUSING THAT POWER!

If they quit their jobs, lower their incomes, declare bankruptcy or incur financial chaos…MAKE THEM PAY MORE.

If they drag out divorce and abuse the legal system…THROW THEM IN JAIL.

If they use and confuse their children and endanger them…LIMIT THEIR PARENTAL RIGHTS.

These may sound simplistic; however, both lawyers and judges are able to identify patterns of behavior which expose the narcissistic personality. The timeframe of missed payments which coincide exactly with the divorce filing, the sudden loss of a job in an otherwise life-long successful career, the lengthy duration of the divorce, the endangerment of the children by a lack of health insurance and other telltale signs.

Unfortunately, the system currently works in favor of the narcissistic individual. They are rewarded for misbehaving. And they are fully aware of this. They absolutely realize they can show up in court having hidden money or lowered their income and more and not be held accountable.

What the legal system should put into effect are these people being held to a higher financial accountability. If they knew that these financial games if the pattern is proven, may yield them having to pay MORE support they wouldn’t risk those consequences. Thus, there would be no reward for their bullying making it unsatisfying to the narcissist and moving the divorce to be settled sooner.

As of now, there are no provisions to discourage the actions of mental illness in the legal system only rewards for their bad behavior.

Baffling, because the average person would not turn away from a woman and children being physically beaten. Yet, the system put in place to protect individuals widely accepts and tolerates emotional battery.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels )
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