How to prepare for family mediation with a narcissist and what to look out for

Here are some key tips for preparing for mediation with a narcissist

Arm yourself with knowledge about narcissism and how it can impact the mediation process.

Establish clear boundaries and communicate them firmly to the mediator in your private preliminary MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting). Decide what behaviour you will not tolerate and be prepared to leave if those boundaries are crossed.

Take time to prepare your thoughts about issues to be discussed in your mediation meeting and in the meeting avoid getting drawn into emotional debates that play into the narcissist's hands.

Consider bringing a support person like a therapist or lawyer to the mediation for emotional backup and to help keep you grounded. If you feel like you need your lawyer there, this would be the hybrid lawyer assisted mediation model.

During the mediation, maintain your composure no matter how the narcissist tries to provoke you. Use "I" statements to express your needs clearly and concisely.

Be vigilant for manipulation tactics like guilt-tripping, shaming, or intimidation, and don't get drawn into them.

Think about what your effective coping strategies will be.

The key is to stay focused, set boundaries, and prioritise your emotional well-being throughout

In the mediation meeting don’t be surprised if you see this type of behaviour. An experienced mediator will be ready to deal with any issues that arise.

1.Lack of empathy - Narcissists struggle to understand or validate the other party's needs and feelings, This can lead to an imbalance in negotiations unless carefully managed by the mediator.

2. Unwillingness to compromise - Narcissists view any concession as a defeat, making it difficult to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

3. Manipulation and gaslighting - Narcissists may use tactics like shifting blame, playing the victim, or undermining the other party's reality to try and sway the     mediation in their favour.

4. Dominating conversations - Narcissists tend to interrupt, talk over others, and dismiss opposing viewpoints, hindering productive communication.

5. Avoiding responsibility - Narcissists frequently shift blame and refuse to take accountability for their actions, complicating the resolution of underlying issues.

6. Emotional volatility - Narcissists' rapidly shifting moods and attitudes can create an unpredictable and tense mediation environment.

7. Reneging on agreements - Narcissists may agree to terms during mediation but later refuse to uphold them, leading to further disputes.

The key is to anticipate these tactics, maintain composure, and be confident in the knowledge that your trained mediator will be managing the meeting and how your discussion develops. It is their responsibility to do this, you will not have to.

At Family Mediation at Mentoring LLP, we are accredited mediators who have previously worked as specialist family lawyers so have real experience of dealing with very high conflict cases. If you would like to talk with us about whether mediation can help you resolve the issues involved with your separation and/or divorce you can book a free call on our website, or email us at


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