How to Communicate With a Narcissist and High Conflict Personalities

by: Tina Swithin

I spent three years tilting my head slightly sideways as I tried to decipher the emails that came through from my ex-husband.Sometimes I was forced to pinch myself—was I awake or was I dreaming? Did he really just write that?In an effort to save my sanity, I came up with an invention which I affectionately refer to as the “Narc Decoder.”

After three years of emails and text messages that left me in a constant state of fight or flight,

I needed to do something to regain my power. Seth’s goal was to evoke fear, pain, sadness and insecurity and he was generally successful by most accounts. I was pleasantly surprised when I inserted the first email into the Narc Decoder and after a few “snap, crackle, pops!” and a little smoke, out popped a perfectly deciphered email.This invention is a must for anyone going through a high-conflict divorce with a narcissist or other high conflict personality.

Here is an example of an email from Seth regarding his past due child support balance and being held in contempt of court:

Tina, I propose we go to Mediation Services, not to the Commissioner. He is going to be furious to see you and me again. I set up automatic deposits from my wages and the earliest this could start was the paycheck today. If you proceed with this hearing, I do not foresee this being favorable for you as payments will be consistently paid to you three times before this hearing. Let me know so I can proceed with proving you have written false amounts on court documents about your income. Best regards, Seth

Translated through the Narc De-Coder:

Tina, Before I begin please take a sip of this Kool-Aid.Let me try and convince you that I could be reasonable in mediation.Pay no attention to my past actions in mediation that caused the evaluator to flag our case for a psychiatric evaluation. I really don’t want to go in front of the Judge because missing 9 out of 12 child support payments could look really bad on me.

Pay no mind to the broken promises from the past about automatic payments being made and the check that was placed in yesterday’s mail. This time, my word is golden. If you proceed with the hearing, I am totally screwed so sit tight and put your feet up while I try and twist this around and project my lies about income onto you. Best Regards, Seth

My own recommended response:

Seth, Thank you for your email. I do plan to go forward with the contempt hearing. - Tina

The general rule when dealing with a narcissist is no engagement. Because narcissists are incapable of their own emotions, they try to suck emotions from their victims which is why they are often referred to as emotional vampires.If you find yourself co-parenting with a narcissist, then the “no engagement” rule has to be altered to “limited engagement”.I recommend skimming through the narcissist’s

manifesto for information relevant to the children or co-parenting while ignoring the rants, raves and personal attacks.Answer the pertinent information with a 2-3 sentence, non-emotional response that is both courteous and business-like.Save your emotional response for your journal or counselor.

Over time, the Narc Decoder has allowed me to look at Seth with nothing but pity. I now picture a sad, insecure, 6-year old bully acting out. I no longer allow Seth to evoke any emotion or energy from me as he does not deserve an ounce of either.Learning how to communicate with a Narcissist allows you to regain your power and your sanity.

Tina Swithin is the Author of “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and the popular blog, “One Mom’s Battle”. Tina is also the newest contributor to the Huffington Post and enjoys helping women (and men) to feel empowered when going through a high-conflict divorce. Her Facebook page has become a source of education and camaraderie for those going through a divorce with a narcissist. Her ultimate dream is to create a non-profit agency with the goal of educating and bringing change to the Family Court System. Tina resides in sunny California with her fiancé, two daughters and three-legged tortoise named, “Oliver” You can follow Tina on Twitter @onemomsbattle .

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