Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Divorcing a Narcissist with Tracy Malone | Episode 94

March 24, 2022 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 94
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Divorcing a Narcissist with Tracy Malone | Episode 94
Show Notes Transcript

This week we are talking about narcissistic abuse and the issues that arise when navigating divorce with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We are joined by Boulder-based author, narcissistic abuse survival coach, and founder of narcissistabusesupport.com, Tracy Malone. Tracy is a survivor of narcissistic abuse herself and she is here today to share her experience and discuss her book, Divorcing Your Narcissist: You Can’t Make This Shit Up. In this episode, Tracy walks us through the different types of narcissists and the various war tactics they might bring to a divorce scenario. We learn how to identify their projections as confessions and we discover the critical importance of paying attention to detail and ensuring you have a watertight strategy that protects you from future abuse. Tune in to hear how gaslighting comes into play and why having a therapist or coach is crucial to immunize you against it. In Tracy’s words, “There is hope.” With the right team and strategy, you will come out the other side! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Two different types of narcissists: overt and covert narcissists.
  • Tracy makes the distinction between a rich narcissist and a poor narcissist.
  • How a narcissist’s projections are generally confessions.
  • Narcissists’ inability to empathize and their need to win.
  • The danger of a narcissist’s warped perception in a divorce scenario.
  • Distressing examples of the lengths a narcissist might go to to ‘win’ a divorce.
  • Tracy’s torturous divorce experience and the difficulty of exiting a narcissistic abusive relationship.
  • The importance of having a future-proof strategy and the right team on your side.
  • The need for finite details in the divorce decree with a narcissist to avoid future abuse.
  • How gaslighting comes into play when divorcing a narcissist.
  • How having a therapist or a coach can help to immunize you against gaslighting tactics.
  • Tracy’s words of encouragement for those going through or recovering from a divorce with a narcissist.

What is Divorce at Altitude?

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family la

What is Divorce at Altitude?

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.



Ryan Kalamaya (4s):
I'm Ryan Kalamaya

Amy Goscha (6s):
And Amy, Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude, A podcast on Colorado family law.

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me. I know besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a divorce client.

Ryan Kalamaya (21s):
Whether you are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce, toe parenting and separation in Colorado, You fell in love. Your partner was charismatic, caring, and attentive on your wedding day. You never dreamed it could end in divorce. Now you're in the midst of a heated battle. Wondering where that person went. What you're discovering is that you married someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. Welcome back to another episode of Divorce at Altitude.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 1s):
This is Ryan Kalamaya this week. As you can tell, we're talking about narcissistic abuse and what issues come up when dealing with someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder in a Colorado divorce. And we are joined this week by our guests who is a Boulder based narcissistic abuse, survival coach Tracy Malone. She's also the author and founder of narcissist abuse, support.com, a global resource to empower victims of emotional abuse, which offers support and coaching to those. Trying to break the ties with narcissists in their lives.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 44s):
Tracy herself is a survivor. So are in she'll explain and speak more eloquently than me on that topic and term of narcissistic abuse. She's a frequent guest at summits and on podcast. She has a successful YouTube presence and is the creator of a narcissistic abuse Facebook group. And she is here to talk about her book and experience. And her book is called Divorcing Your Narcissist. You can't make this shit up. And before I go on Tracy, welcome to the show.

Tracy Malone (2m 17s):
Thank you so much for having me fellow Coloradan.

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 21s):
Indeed. We're a rare, although I have had, you know, some guests on here, more, probably proportionate then the citizens, jury of Colorado, but Welcome to Divorce at Altitude. So I want to first start off and because I heard you coined the two new types of narcissists, there are very important to understand for the divorce process, but can you for our listeners talk to me about the different types of narcissists.

Tracy Malone (2m 54s):
Sure. So, you know, the, the problem is the perception of a narcissist being very grandiose very out there and flamboyant. You would know if they would like to look in the mirror and talk about themselves all the time. And, and that's the danger is that people, you know, think that is the person. My therapist thought that was a person. Instead of knowing that there are other types, like a covert, narcissist is one who is charming and everybody loves them. They're there in the church, you know, in the system they're, they're like pillars of the community. And yet behind closed doors, it's a different game. It is, they are not like that. They are abusive. And whether it's, you know, very aggressive abuse or verbal and more silent treatment and passive aggressive ways for the book, knowing the, the overt, which is the grandiose type, the covert, which is the one that's always missed.

Tracy Malone (3m 48s):
What I found as I did all my research and I was building my book was it really matters. And I, I called out the rich and the poor narcissist, a rich narcissist amps up that entitlement that narcissists have. And they fight to the death. They like destroy their opponent, which is their spouse. And usually cost more than they would have had to give the person in legal fees just to prove that they're right. And so they will go to no ends, including having their spouse arrested or calling child protective services. You don't find that in a normal divorce, whereas a poor narcissist is one who is going to want your assets.

Tracy Malone (4m 29s):
They're going to go after everything that you have. So you've got a different defense in the, in the game here, right? A normal person with normal money is going to do the normal tasks, but it's going to be ramped up for the rich one. They are going to be out for blood and to destroy you. And on the poor one is OSTP. I had a client who was married, it's in the book. She was married for two months. He said, I don't have a bank account in town. Now, why don't we put me on your bounty count? And then she put the deposit down on the house, out of that bank account. And it was now joint property. So because he was on the account, so it's this, this sort of, he, he fought for a year for everything that was hers and they'd are only married for two months.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 13s):
And certainly I've heard of those horror stories in have, have seen them. And w you know, you Tracy, we, before the show, I told you a little bit about our hypothetical divorce, couple Eric and Melanie Wolf. And so is it fair, kind of it to kind of put a concrete examples if Eric and Melanie are going through divorce and Eric Scott, just gobs of money, and he's a control freak, and he's what you would characterize as a rich narcissist. He, what that would look like in a divorce is him telling his attorney, I want a Berry Melanie, we're going to litigate every single issue that can be addressed.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 57s):
Not I'm going to try to not pay her attorney's fees and just really use his money for his own personality gains, or it would be, that would be kind of how it would play out, right?

Tracy Malone (6m 13s):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the, the, the things and the levels to which any narcissist will go through from the stonewalling and the projecting, they are always projecting. Whatever they're doing is actually a confession. When they're telling you you're hiding money, they're probably hiding it. And if they sort of pull that card out of the deck first to accuse you of that, it's really hard for your team to be like, well, no, actually it's them, it's hard to flip it around because they pulled it out first. Right. And then you're playing defense. So the tactics that they use are, you know, again, not like anything else you'll see in a divorce. Yes. You'll get a little bit of lying or false allegations, but it's that ramping up that takes that false allegation to child abuse claims to having you committed.

Tracy Malone (6m 59s):
I can't tell you how many clients of mine get committed, get put in jail, because they're going through a divorce. And it's like, what did I do? I was the happy wife or that I was the happy husband. Why am I getting accused of all these things? And it's because the narcissist need to win. And it doesn't matter what the cost is. This is where we really see the no empathy part come into their life is they don't care what they do to you and squishing you is just a game.

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 26s):
Well, the other observation I've made is that when you're dealing with a narcissist, whether it rich or poor over Kovar is that they have convinced themselves. They really believe in what they are doing is the honorable actions or that it's the truth. And oftentimes we are in a, in a divorce, you see that play out with their strategy or their actions, but it's not as if they think that they are lying or being dishonest or hiding money. It's because it's the self righteously justifying in their own mind that this is appropriate.

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 9s):
And that's one of the difficulties in having a divorce when a narcissist is involved.

Tracy Malone (8m 18s):
Absolutely. There there's their perception, as you said, is the danger. I mean, they, they believe it. And then they smear it and they tell everyone else it, it's not just that they're holding it in their heart and saying, you're a thief or you're bad parents. They're putting it into the court documents. They're calling child protective services. They're, you know, reporting you to social services. They're going one step further. Then you're not a good parent. And all of that with the one goal is to win and destroy

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 49s):
In Tracy. One of the things you address in your book, and I'm hopeful that you can explain for our listeners are what are the tactics that people going through a divorce with a narcissist can expect, and how are they different from other divorces? I mean, most people, it's their only divorce and they don't really have anything to compare it with. And so what are the tactics or things that you observe in divorces involving narcissists?

Tracy Malone (9m 19s):
Sure. The first thing we have to know about narcissists is they, they think in black and white thinking, it's called splitting where if you are in the good, your black and white is you're the good person. As soon as this narcissistic injury happens that you want to divorce, or even if they wanted the divorce, it creates this, which puts them into this splitting thing. You are no longer, there's no good. There's no gray area. You were married for 25 years. That doesn't matter. You went right into the evil mode. So again, the mission to destroy the stonewalling of documents, just not producing anything over the lifetime of the divorce, the obstruction of justice, and, you know, hiding money where a normal marriage or divorce might have something like that.

Tracy Malone (10m 7s):
With the narcissists they've been preparing and planning this court for years and hiding assets and hiding things so that you just don't get your hands on them. They often cut off the victims financially, leaving them, trying to figure out what to do. Narcissists will quit their jobs very frequently, just so they don't have to pay you support. I've had a client where her husband rang up a hundred opened credit cards in her name and rang up a hundred thousand dollars in debt. She didn't even know they existed, right? So it's really just crazy, like malevolent behavior, closing your credit card. So you can't charge and peat and feed your children.

Tracy Malone (10m 47s):
And then calling the police and, and the false allegations. These are things that orient in the normal spectrum of a divorce. You can tell me that one, a normal divorce. Doesn't put someone in the hospital for being mentally insane when the narcissist is the one putting them there.

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 3s):
Yeah. And there's a couple others that I might add, at least from my observation, is that the filing, whether it be I filed and they want to tell everyone, I'm the one that filed for divorce. I want this. And that's really important to them. They'll splash it all over Facebook and Instagram or on the other hand, they're so self-involved or so self-righteous, they don't want to have a divorce that they will avoid service. They will force the other party to file and then tell the children or tell everyone else that your mom is the one that filed for divorce. She's dissolving, she's ruining this, this, this family.

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 46s):
Eric will tell his, you know, his kids, man, his parents, and everyone that will listen about the, you know, horrible aspect of Melanie and really kind of cloak himself in that. And it just goes spirals downhill. Or there could be some sort of criminal case that is leading to the divorce. And all of a sudden they become the victim. And at least that's, my observation is the narcissist tends to really cloak themselves in that victim veil. And they could do no wrong.

Tracy Malone (12m 18s):
Absolutely. You nailed it on the head with the victim thing. They always pull that out. And again, they're telling this story of years and lifetime of you being the abuser, you being the one that's hiding things, you know, you not being the good parent, whatever it is, they are just ramping it up. And it's them being the victim years of abuse. They've, you know, doughnut your hands, their ego is so fragile. That's why, as you said that they need to like pump it up and, and like, not let everybody know, unless again, they'll go both ways. It's a spectrum. You can have one that wants to play the victim and one, that's going to be the lion. So it's really kind of unique as to each person, but they, the using the children as weapons, as you just described there, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Tracy Malone (13m 7s):
You know, using them as carrier pigeons are telling the children, do you know what your mother or your father did to you growing up when the kids have no memory of that? And it probably isn't true, but just sort of poisoning the children against the other parent so that the child is afraid to be home with the other parent.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 25s):
The other observation that I've made is that frequently victims or, or suffers of, of narcissism within a marriage, they have been beaten down so much and we've had various guests come on and talk about their experience, but it really does take quite a while and therapy and, and real engagement with counseling to come out because they've been dealing with it. And that's all they've really known for so long that they have either been convinced or there could be some codependency, but I think it takes a long time for people to realize that this is abnormal behavior or that it really is as bad as others on the outside looking in, think it is.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 21s):
So, would you agree with that? And could you maybe talk about your observations or experience just in your own life?

Tracy Malone (14m 29s):
Sure. So I did divorce someone that I believe has NPD, although I did not know the word at the time. And I knew that the judge in our divorce case called it the most tortured divorce that has ever come across our bench. And it was a simple divorce. We'd already sold the house. The house was money profits were in the escrow account split. That gives me a little support. And we're out of here, no kid to fight over, but I had seven trials and we're talking about my profit was $25,000 that I would've gotten from half of the sale. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but we had seven trials and it ran to a hundred thousand dollars.

Tracy Malone (15m 13s):
It was one false allegation. It was hiding $10 million here doing this, doing that and all in all, like I was sitting there without knowing what I was dealing with. That's why I wrote the book. I was like, oh my gosh, I couldn't believe, I didn't know this right. Nor did the lawyer, nor did my therapist. And so knowing what you're dealing with and seeing that these things are not normal, it's so important that people get support. And whether it's going to a Facebook group and getting in and getting validation that this is not normal, or whether it's seeing a coach or a therapist that understands this so that you're not in the situation. Like my therapist said, they like to look in the mirror when I asked him about it, you know, four years later.

Tracy Malone (15m 58s):
And I was like, no, not exactly. But all of the things that I had experienced from the false allegations, the trial after trial, you know, it left me so broken. It left me, you know, I, I was in adrenal fatigue. I couldn't eat, I lost four sizes. Don't worry. I found them all back. But you know, it was just this, this horrible experience. And I didn't understand why this was happening. Like, if you want a divorce, let's just get a divorce sign. The papers let's split. It we'll be out of here, but it became a war zone. And this is what happens with everyone. So many of my clients have gone through four or five attorneys, 2, 3, 4 years, million dollars to $10 million to fight them.

Tracy Malone (16m 44s):
Right. Not normal behaviors. They, they attack, you know, they stop you from working. There's just so many things that happen that are not on the spectrum. So people need to understand what they're dealing with and learn the strategies of what to expect, because if you know what to expect, and then you can protect your shop. If you're a blindsided like me, I didn't know what that meant. And why is this happening? And it was just like, my head was spinning. And because of that, I lost who I was and I lost my will to fight.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 17s):
Yeah. I think people often underestimate in particular when a narcissist is involved in a divorce, how difficult and how long and how expensive it can be because the narcissist will use the divorce process as their tool to exact revenge and to channel all of their limitless energy. And, you know, I will tell people if you expect me to be an arrow in your quiver to, you know, exact revenge, it's just, that's, it's, it's an inexpensive in quite frankly ineffective way.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 59s):
And you know, but there's a lot of lawyers that will be more than happy to kind of, you know, cash that check over and over if it exists because the narcissist well fight to the very end. And sometimes it, you know, it depends on the strategy and we'll talk about the biggest mistakes that people make during a divorce. But, you know, it's very difficult to settle or to strategize with a narcissist in terms of trying to get things resolved. It, they are cases that they just may need to go to trial. No one goes to a wedding, as we said in the intro expecting to get a divorce and knowing starts their divorce expecting or hoping to go to trial, but you can waste a lot of money trying to reason once someone that is just unwilling to see logic and has just kind of completely looked at the view of the world through a green lens when it's an entirely different lens.

Ryan Kalamaya (19m 2s):
That is reality. So Tracy, can you tell our listeners from your perspective, what are the biggest mistakes that people make during a divorce with a narcissist?

Tracy Malone (19m 11s):
They give up, I talked to someone this morning who was just like, I just want to, I just want it to end. I'll give it all away. I don't care. Just let me out. Right. They give up and they walk away from the table very often with less parenting time and certainly less than they were entitled to. That's the biggest thing. Not really knowing what your goals are and, and almost being reactive instead of like coming off, you know, as I was accused of stealing money, I never, once in a while I defended myself said, could you show me the paperwork that, oh, that's right. You haven't given any paperwork in. So what did I steal? We never played defense. I was always on the offense. So, you know, knowing what your goals are and how to get there is going to be important.

Tracy Malone (19m 56s):
Building a team, the right lawyers, the people that get it, that are going to be there to support you, a nice mediator that you're going to be able to work with when you get to that stage and having a therapist or coach having, you know, a support group and people that understand you because your friends are not going to understand you. You're going to sound like the crazy one. As you describe everything that's going on and your friends are going to kind of pull away because you go to a dinner party and you're just like, wow, everything's happening. Right. They're scared of you. They don't know how to help you because this isn't normal. So filling that out. But I think not planning for the children as they grow a lot of big mistakes there.

Tracy Malone (20m 37s):
It's like my kid's five, I'm talking preschool here in the decree. Okay. We got it. Yay. Well, what happens after that? You know, it's not because you're so eager to get out that you don't think about the future and how to protect yourself from it. I have a book in the book, in a book in the book, I have the chapter in the book. I called the gray areas of a divorce decree. So a normal divorce decree as you get them Christmas this year. And I get them next year. But in a divorce decree with a narcissist, we have to have much more finite details that Christmas starts at 9:00 AM on Christmas Eve. And it ends the next day at this time, you know, if the person's going to help pay for college, instead of just going, yeah, daddy's paying for college.

Tracy Malone (21m 21s):
Like an example in the book was okay, daddy's paying for college. He's got money, no problem. But when it came time for the kids to get into brown and he goes, yeah, I wasn't thinking brown, but I'll pay for community college. You're back at court to fight these post divorce legal challenges. So the more details, the more finite you can get with every single detail. I have something in the book that I have hundreds in. You I'm sure have them to hundreds of people's divorce, decrees on my dining room, desk, table. And nobody really protects them. I have what if they don't clause, I made that name up so nobody will know what that is, but expect a clause to be put in there.

Tracy Malone (22m 5s):
If they don't comply with anything they've been ordered to do, then they pay your legal fees. Right. If it's not in the decree, you'll never get it, but they will keep on taking you back for another 20,000, another 20,000. So have that protection put into every one of your decrees to stop the post-separation abuse, the legal challenges that are going to come.

Ryan Kalamaya (22m 26s):
Yeah. I agree with that wholeheartedly Tracy and we have all law firms have templates for the various agreements and there's a judicial website for Colorado and they have a separation agreement and then there's a parenting plan and they have a check the box and people frequently will ask, well, why can't I just use the judicial form? And there's a lot of attorneys that use them and that's all well and fine. But for us, for example, with parenting the judicial ORM for the parenting plan, it doesn't go into detail. And we have ours is very lengthy.

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 7s):
Some people chafe at it. And I explained to them that I don't want you to call me on Christmas Eve with a dispute about what time Johnny and Sally need to come over for Christmas dinner or when spring break begins, because I have seen it so many. And you're just like, you throw your hands up. And law judges will say, this is ridiculous, but they don't see the cases that we prevent from going to trial or, or to resolve. They do see some of them, but it's difficult when you're dealing with a narcissist, but they will take any sort of gray area and, and push the envelope.

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 49s):
And it's a game and it ends up costing a lot of money. And if people can reach an agreement on their own about Christmas Eve or a mother's day, that's great. That's fantastic. I always explain to people that the best parenting plan is the parenting plan that you never ever have to use, but you're a damn, you know, glad when you've got that detail. And it is, you know, the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed. And that I cannot tell you how many times we actually just had a team meeting within our firm and have talked about, you know, various there's there's several law firms or several other lawyers that we work with that have completely poached our template.

Ryan Kalamaya (24m 33s):
And that, that is fine. I welcome that. I think that that is it. As long as I don't get calls on Christmas morning or the day before, father's day, I'm happy in my, because my clients have a affirm agreement, but I could not agree with your advice more because I have seen a disasters from just naive people that think that it's just, you know, I'm just going to, I just want to be done. And I understand that, but sometimes you just need to kind of make sure that those agreements are pretty tight.

Tracy Malone (25m 6s):
Absolutely. I have, I have an example in the book because I went to contempt of court trial two years later with a friend who lives down here and her husband had been ordered to sell one of the rental properties and give her $300,000. Well, it didn't say wind and there, it was two years later, she'd gone through $20,000 motions to apply compel, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? And then her lawyer got up and said, judge, could we please ask for legal fees? And the judge literally put her hands together and said, I wish I could, but it wasn't in the first degree. Right? The things that Ryan is talking about to protect yourself are absolutely essential. This isn't a game and you will end up like the example of the Christmases, which is in the book too, that mother was on the phone with the police for two weeks.

Tracy Malone (25m 55s):
And the police would say, there's nothing we can do. Ma'am it doesn't say when he has to bring them back, we have nothing to stand on, you know, tell you to your lawyer, tell someone else, bring it to court. But now it's two weeks without the kids. So don't like, leave those things, unsaid, undone, and simple things. Like when do we give our kids phones, who's going to pay for them? Whose account will it be on? Like, those seem like such trivial details until you get to it. And you're your child's phone is taken away from them when they get to their house and you have no communication with them. So there's so many details that we need to make sure get into it, to protect your future. It's, it's better now than later.

Ryan Kalamaya (26m 36s):
And I'm sure people listening to this, you know, they might be going through a divorce with a narcissist or confronting a divorce with a narcissist might say, well, what, what can you do? And with children, you can certainly have a parenting evaluation and have that psychological testing done. And over the course of an evaluation, which can be months, you know, you can have a trained professional really examine and they can kind of connect the dots. And I've seen it where personality test will result in a diagnosis. And when children are involved, it's very helpful because the judges then see that diagnosis. It's, it's harder when children aren't involved, but the judges are, you know, generally they can pick up on it where they'll see the gamesmanship over producing bank stock or bank records and not paying support and doing those small little things.

Ryan Kalamaya (27m 34s):
And it's one of those red flags. When my client might inadvertently turn off, you know, a change, a credit card, you don't want them to be characterized or pegged as someone that has that issue, but that's at least just my experience is that it will usually see the light of day and the judges often will get it. It just is so exhausting to get, even to that point, because you've got to go through a pre or you have to go to trial. And it just a lot of people, like you said, Tracy, you just throw in the towel and say, it's just not worth it. And on a certain level, I can understand.

Ryan Kalamaya (28m 16s):
But if you're talking about your children or you're talking about, you know, thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, it, you know, and the other thing thing that is worth mentioning is that often people think that they just will be done with it. And that's just, again, naive because it just continues, like you said, in terms of contempt of court or the post divorce, kind of holding someone hostage for some, you know, my new little term in an agreement, they'll use that to continue that drama and that power dynamic.

Tracy Malone (28m 53s):
Absolutely. I cannot even tell you how wounded some of my clients come and again, the false arrests and things like that. I run a support group in Boulder and one down in Denver. And there's never less than five people who have been arrested by their narcissist and like in relationships in marriages. And they have to dig yourself out because if they do that during the divorce, they're doing it on purpose. Like you were never abusive before, but we're divorced. Let's pretend you are now and, and make a big scene. And you know, they're stocking and both are so much trauma that happens to these folks. So understanding it and getting an education about it, not just going, it's just another divorce I'll get through it.

Tracy Malone (29m 38s):
I can manage, but plan so that your future doesn't keep having this drama in it.

Ryan Kalamaya (29m 45s):
Yeah. And as we're recording this, I mean, in the news, we see these celebrity divorces, but certainly one thing that comes to mind is, is Kanye west and Kim Kardashian. And I don't know if he's been diagnosed as you know, a narcissist. I think a lot of people would think that from a kind of the sidelines that that is what's going on, but how, you know, maybe kind of using that as an example or Eric and Melanie, but Tracy, can you speak on, how does gaslighting get used in a divorce with a narcissist?

Tracy Malone (30m 16s):
That's fun, important thing because gaslighting is their specialty, right? So it starts way before the divorce actually happens. The gaslighting is if you divorce me, you'll get nothing. You were the stay at home. Mother. You'll get nothing to make sure you never see the children again. Right? Those sorts of vets keep people in marriages until the kids are 18, because they're so afraid of those things. They don't know their rights. They don't know the parenting guidelines and the laws in their state. Well enough that those they fall for right. Falling for the Trojan horse of therapy is a very big gaslighting tactic. You know? Oh no. Now all of a sudden they're sad and oh, we'll make it work.

Tracy Malone (30m 56s):
I'll go therapy. We'll do everything. It's future faking. And there's no real meat behind it. It's a tactic. And usually wall something like that is going on. They are now using that opportunity to hide the assets, to move things, to protect themselves, but you're going, we're working on it. Yay. Right. Instead of knowing that that is fake, that is again, a gaslighting technique, you know, th the false allegations that they tell their children, mommy's breaking up, the family, daddy, doesn't love you. You know, those sorts of things are gaslighting the children in the divorce. And I have a whole chapter about it, but like them demanding, you keep their secrets is another gaslighting tactic.

Tracy Malone (31m 41s):
If you tell anybody this, you know, again, you'll never can just add all the lists. You'll never get, you'll never do. Right. But, but sort of, you know, keep our secrets or I will destroy you. It's a, it's a big threat, especially if there are a lot of, you know, financial secrets or other things that have happened in the family. So again, gaslighting techniques are so prevalent and it ruins the people so badly when these things happen. Again, that, that example of the, the mother staying in the marriage, because they're never going to get money or they won't ever see their children. It wounds us much deeper. And we just have to learn what it is, how to recognize it and have know your truth.

Tracy Malone (32m 22s):
Because you know, here at Tracy is being accused of stealing money. I'm just defunding myself. It's going instead of going, no, I didn't prove it. You know, know your truth before you let these gaslighting tactics take you down. And that would help to have a good coach for good therapist or somebody, you know, and not overusing your lawyer because you guys might know about narcissist, but you know, you don't understand the emotional part and the string of that. So use a therapist or a coach for that, and your lawyer for the legal defense.

Ryan Kalamaya (32m 55s):
Well, as listeners have heard me say before, I often will say, I'm a counselor, I'm a counselor at law and I am a really expensive counselor. And so, you know, the mental health component, it's not something I'm trained in. I know about narcissism. I am familiar with the tactics and have addressed that frequently. Clients will say, have you ever seen this before? And it's yeah, I, I deal with it all the time. And, but it is one of those things where it's helpful for me to be aware, but do I need to get into all of the emotions? And that's really where a team where you were talking about Tracy is having other people involved in having a divorce coach, having other people, a financial advisor to kind of bounce those ideas off of, and, and listeners have heard us talk about those various issues before.

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 53s):
And you know, someone listening to this and a lot of people listeners will come to me and say, Ryan, listen, I, I think the podcast is great idea, but it's so depressing. Like what you guys talk about and, you know, one could obviously surmise she's tracing, right? Like, it's just, it sounds like it's world war three and it's horrible. And it, and it is, but is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or are there ways that people Tracy, you mean, can we end on a good note here and talk about how someone can heal from a divorce involving a narcissist? Is there any reason for hope,

Tracy Malone (34m 32s):
Hope is all you got hold onto it because I promise you, your life will not be like this forever. And you will get through the war. You know, it's the war of the roses. If you would like, have I equate any movie? It's the war of the roses. You will get through it and you will be stronger no matter what you lost, you will get through it. I have so many friends who have lost their children and alienated and, and don't get to see them anymore. That's a terrible wound, but you can go on and you can build yourself and you can be a warrior to, you know, learn how to self-love learn how to protect yourself from anything like this ever happening again.

Tracy Malone (35m 13s):
Because as I say in the book, narcissist coming all different flavors. If you had one that was very grandiose in the beginning, you might get sucked up by a more covert one that isn't quite so obvious. So knowing what you've got coming, but also looking at your rooms. When we look at a wound from your relationship with them or the battle two parts, right? You know, you might have lost your, you might have had a lot of fears. You might be harboring a lot of anger. You might get triggered every time, the phone buzzes, and they're yelling at you about something that you forgot to send with the kids, right? So learning how to regulate your emotions, learning how to know what your triggers are and process your triggers versus allowing them to just keep falling on you.

Tracy Malone (36m 1s):
I use the I, when it comes to triggers, I, I equate it to, you know, we all have that Tupperware closet where we just shove stuff in. And one day we open it and it all falls out on us. That's what a trigger is, right? Your ex knows exactly how to trigger you. If you don't know how to combat those triggers. If you've got a kid and you've got another 10 years of co-parenting with them, they're going to continue to trigger you until you learn the skills to self-regulate and not let what they are saying or doing stick to you like Velcro, right? Every time they wound you, you're sitting here and you've got all these things all over you, you have to learn to be Teflon. You'll have to go.

Tracy Malone (36m 41s):
Of course, they're going to do it. I have a thing in the book called the dumb ass theory. And the dumb ass theory means that we have friends that do things that are just dumb. Like they come to the bar and they never bring their wallet. Or, you know, they're always canceling that the last minute we expect it. We know of course, they're going to do it. I'll take bets on whether they'll show up this week. Right. That's just what we have friends that do that. We expect it. And if this is what you have to learn, expect them to do these tactics, but learn how to repel them. So they don't hurt you. You know, we always have abandonment wounds. We're afraid of this happening again. So how do we build trust in others?

Tracy Malone (37m 23s):
How do we build trust in ourself to know that no matter how good someone looks on paper, that if we see these red flags, I don't want to be there, have that self-love. And that courage to say, you look really good on paper, but I don't like this, this and this. And it takes cords to walk away from that. So healing those wounds so that you build that trust back in yourself is going to be absolutely of the utmost importance.

Ryan Kalamaya (37m 50s):
Yeah. Tracy, as you were talking, I was thinking of a particular client that I represented almost a decade ago. And, and when he came into my office, he was slunched over. He had been, he was a broken person and he had been dealing with a narcissist for a very long time and had just been really, you know, victimized and, and was just exhausted. And to see him now remarried, happy, and like the growth as a person and becoming just incredibly confident and self introspective. But there have been times when he still gets triggered by, you know, her using the kids.

Ryan Kalamaya (38m 32s):
And we talk about, you know, I have a five and a seven year old right now and you know, my five-year-old will go skiing and he'll fall and just throw a temper tantrum. And, you know, there's times certainly I get upset, but there's other times where I'm like, listen, buddy, you're five years old. And, or in my mind, I'll say to myself, you can't help how you're behaving because you're a five-year-old. And when you objectively can look at someone and say, well, you're a narcissist, you can't help it. This is just who you are. You're much more prepared. You're better prepared to address that and deal with that in terms of letting it either roll off your back or not tolerating it, whatever the case may be.

Ryan Kalamaya (39m 14s):
Would there be just appropriately instead of getting sucked in, when you kind of take a step back and say, this is what I'm dealing with, I'm dealing with a, five-year-old screaming on the snow for no reason. Or I'm dealing with a narcissist. Who's telling our children the most horrible, inappropriate things, but listen, like they can't help themselves. It's just how they've, they're built. And I can only control who I am. And you know, if you are prepared, then you're better apt to address that. And, and your children are going to be better off for it.

Tracy Malone (39m 48s):
Yeah, exactly. I love the ski slope analogy because it is, you're just looking at the kid going you're you're five, right? Okay. Have a fun at it. I'll be here when you're done. I'm over here, buddy. Right. Instead of sitting there, like taking it personally, and again, a lot of this is personal. I'm not trying to like limp kind of say this isn't that important, but there is a way, and you become this sort of ninja person that learns how to not let this stuff bother you. And when you can get to that point in your life, you do get to recover. You get to rebuild and you're so much stronger.

Tracy Malone (40m 29s):
This is never going to happen again. If you've gone and done the work and healed the wounds.

Ryan Kalamaya (40m 35s):
So for listeners, Tracy, they want to learn more about you, that they want to read the book, which they should pick up and we'll have links in the show notes. You're showing it for people that can watch online, Divorcing Your Narcissist. You can't make this shit up. Where can they find you in the book, Tracy?

Tracy Malone (40m 55s):
Sure. So they can find me narcissist abuse, support.com. And they can also find the book on Barnes and noble, Amazon Kindle. And as of yesterday, yay, audible. Finally. So those are the places you can find it. And you know, if you go into Amazon, they have that look inside and you're reading like a whole chapter, get a feel for what we're trying to warn you about and how I want to protect everybody

Ryan Kalamaya (41m 23s):
And online on, on YouTube as well.

Tracy Malone (41m 26s):
Oh yeah. So from my website, sorry, I'm like, oh yeah, I'm everywhere. So from my website, you can find, you can just search my name, Tracy, a Malone on YouTube. I'll have a podcast and Facebook group with about 15,000 members in it. So again, go for the support, go for the help, go for the validation and look at my website. I have so many free resources. I have parenting guidelines for every single state. So know what your rights are before you listen to the gaslighting that you'll never see your kids. So go to the website, find all that.

Ryan Kalamaya (41m 58s):
Yeah. And for listeners, you know, a couple of points on that, and that is that for Colorado, you know, season two of our Divorce at Altitude, how to series on our website is focused on, on parenting different options, different ways that you can handle, for example, a narcissist in a, in a parenting dispute. And also just make sure you're kind of aware of people like Tracy that are out there and, and arming yourself with that information. If you have questions or comments, YouTube, you know, you can't leave comments on Spotify or apple, you know, leaving reviews or giving five stars, for example, which anyone should listening to this should, should do.

Ryan Kalamaya (42m 41s):
But YouTube, you know, people can leave questions or comments. Hey, you know, I found this to this share resources shows there's a lot out there. Some of it's good, some of it's bad, you know, Tracy really appreciate what you're doing out there to help people who are going through this and we'll have this show kind of cut up into different segments on, on YouTube. And I know that you're, you're strong on that platform and really kind of trying to help people in any sort of way that they can access this free information. Cause I know that you're out there to, to help people going through and they should check out. They want to find out more. But thanks again for joining us on Divorce at Altitude.

Ryan Kalamaya (43m 23s):
And until next time, thanks Tracy for joining us. Hey everyone. This is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight or discussion, helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast for show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode. Visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find me at Kalamaya dot law or 9, 7 0 3 1 5 2 3 6 5 that's K a L a M a Y a.law.