By Brad Berfas, Esq.

Divorce, as we know, is not easy and the ones who suffer the most are the children. Although it appears all parents want what is best for their children and love them unconditionally, there are those parents who use their kids as pawns in their game of chess with their ex-spouse. The “Game of Thrones” pits ex against ex but severely hurts their children in the process. They are not concerned with the undying love they should have for their children, but instead focus on the continued hatred, revenge, and vendetta they have against their ex. Things become even more complicated when they are narcissists or sociopaths, inflicting wound upon wound against their ex, not caring that the pain that is inflicted is in reality hurting their very own flesh and blood.

Understanding a narcissist is no easy task because they themselves do not even realize they have a severe mental instability. A narcissist is a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves and believes the world revolves around them. Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They instill fear in others and imbue an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others and lack any empathy for anyone but themselves. But behind this mask of extreme confidence, they are not sure of their self-worth and are easily upset by the slightest criticism. This personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school, or financial matters. As such, they can never maintain an honest and healthy relationship. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they are not given the special favors or admiration that they believe they deserve. They find their relationships troubled and unfulfilling and take out their anger on others for them to sleep peacefully at night, while blaming others for their own shortcomings. They are the terrorist who would like nothing more than for you to be wiped off the face of the earth. They have no friends, no roots in the community, and convince others that they are the loving, doting parent and the one they abused emotionally, physically, and mentally is unstable, when in fact they are the one who is unfit.

Moreover, a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience is better known as a sociopath. People with this condition might seem charming and charismatic at first, at least on the surface, but they generally find it difficult to understand other people’s feelings. They prey on the weak and vulnerable, with individuals who have low self-esteem and take full advantage of it, blaming them for everything. You will end up emotionally, mentally, financially, and physically depleted and then get blamed for it. Instead of looking at themselves in the mirror and admitting fault, they blame their ex for everything that has gone wrong in their lives and seek to torture them by emotionally and physically abusing them. They can try to fool you with all their heart, but in the end, they are only fooling themselves. They are only concerned with themselves and do not care who they harm in their path. In fact, they are so charismatic that they convince others that they are wrong with everything and only they can save them from themselves. They often break rules or laws, behave aggressively or impulsively, feel little guilt for harm they cause others, and use manipulation, deceit, and controlling behavior for their own selfish desires. In fact, they tell the spouse, or ex-spouse, that no one will ever love them like they did, even though they treated them without any respect and afflicted pain on them daily and continue to do such, even though they are no longer together. As such, characteristics of both a narcissist and sociopath are intertwined into one disturbing personality trait.

These individuals torment their spouses while married with emotional and physical abuse and it trickles down after they are divorced to the children with the continued abuse, all for their own massive ego. They blame their ex for their severe limitations and weaknesses and where they are in life and pretend they are happy, when deep down they are hurting and in pain but will never admit it. They cause severe pain to their children, not realizing those scars will likely live with them for eternity in their future relationships. The kids have stomach pains, anxiety, and, on several occasions, refuse to go to school or camp, socialize with friends, or go to parties, because of the untold stress they are experiencing at the hand of this monster. The children literally cannot function in a day-to-day society and the parent has no qualms about it because all they care about is themselves. If they hurt their children and/or their ex in the process, then they are literally ecstatic, because it is all about them and them alone. These children learn that love is abuse and that if someone displeases you, it is your right to harm them and call it love. Instead of looking inside themselves and realizing they are hurting everyone except themselves, they continue to inflict unnecessary pain on everyone. Instead of working with the ex to coparent, they refuse to do such and in essence ruin their child in the process. They project on others what their severe negative traits are, but are so convincing to the outside world that they convince others that they are always in the right and it is the other person, namely the ex, who is at fault with everything. They will continue to make up lies and convince themselves and others that they are the parent or spouse of the year, when in fact they do not deserve to be a parent to begin with.

Additionally, the fabrications and manipulations do not cease to exist, as they truly believe what they are saying is the truth. As George Castanaza would say “It is not a lie if you believe it.” They convince themselves that they are in the right and the truth lies with them. They appear confident and display arrogance and exaggerate their achievements to hide their low self-esteem. They instill such fear in people that they give in, even though they know they will regret it later. They indoctrinate their spouse’s mind into believing that they can never be loved by anyone but them and that is instilled within them, even after the spouse escaped the hold they have over them, if they are lucky to do so. It is easier to be nice and accommodating to a narcissist sociopath, causing them to feel they are correct, then challenge their authority. By challenging them, the battles do not end, as they will continue to engage in warfare to prove that you cannot challenge their authority. They get what they want when they want it because their ex is deathly afraid of the consequences if they fail to adhere to their commands. They build their own “cult” within them. They are a dictator at the highest level, but even dictators come crashing down eventually. Rebelling against them is one’s means to truly escape and the only way to beat them is by playing their game, fire with fire.

Although it is not a science, if one does not fight back, they will continue to torment you and your children, even after a divorce, because they refuse to relinquish that control. They do not want anyone to have you if they cannot have you for themselves. They will do everything they can to destroy you, until you are broken and literally destroyed. Breaking one during marriage is incomprehensible in and by itself, but their goal is to annihilate and obliterate you on every level that you cannot survive post marriage. It is an incurable disease and can only be beaten when you take a stand and refuse to let them walk all over you, as they have in the past and present. By taking back your life and standing up for yourself, you will be able to survive and truly be happy. Silence, not engaging in conversation, and completely cutting them off is the only way to go. They will never relinquish that control and that dominance, but if you do not let them control you mentally and emotionally, then you have won internally. Even if they retaliate, which they may, because they feel defeated, you still need to stand tall and have courage that they will be brought down once and for all. Seventy percent of women who are in abusive relationships do not survive, but those who do are usually haunted and persecuted even after they escape and are divorced from this parasite. When someone disrespects you, it is because there is something wrong with them, not you. The only way to win against a toxic person is to not play their game. When you stand up to the narcissist and sociopath it is the day you truly win and it is at that moment that you finally regain control.


Brad Berfas is a Partner at Berfas & Associates, P.C. and can be reached at 917-515-0822.


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