BC Estate Lawyer- Narcissism in Family Disputes

Narcissism in Estate Litigation - Disinherited

Trevor Todd and Jackson Todd have over sixty years combined legal experience min handling contested estates and involving narcissistic parents or siblings.


In this age of the “selfie”, social media and general self- absorption, Donald Trump is a textbook narcissist. Narcissism has flourished in Western culture in recent years as witness the long-time success of ridiculously debased reality television and its “stars”.

The clinical definition of narcissism involves “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, self focus, and self-importance”. When such self-centredness, egotistical and manipulative behaviour are to the extreme, it will likely meet the diagnostic criteria for a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the diagnostic psychiatric bible, DSM-5.

Extreme narcissists are abundant in estate litigation .The facts are often so skewered that one can easily conclude that the deceased narcissist is laughing in his or her grave at the hurt and disorder they craftily devised upon their estates. A narcissist will do such things as disinherit an adopted child for seeking out his or her natural parent. They will deliberately leave their estate to charities focused on saving disadvantaged children while having being absent or abusive to his or her own children.

Extreme narcissism such as found in the disorder is something far more extreme than someone who likes to admire them self in the mirror. The extreme narcissist lives in a world populated by two classes of people,   “winners and losers”   and his or her constant aim in life is to prove they are a winner, and to triumph over losers.

We have all met such people- they are memorable in their nastiness or obnoxiousness, particularly as they age. They invariably die alone, leaving damaged children that they barely concerned themselves enough to lovingly care for.

In the work place they display their superiority and act like the “queen bee or kingpin”. Almost like a spider to a fly the narcissist may be friendly to you one day, then ignore you the next. Often warm and charming on first engagement, they are masters at manipulation and want something from you.

People with high self-esteem have a certain degree of vanity, which overall is a good thing in terms of evolution. Children raised to feel good about themselves by parents who praise their

behaviour do not turn into adults constantly expecting to be worshipped, and in fact are better adjusted than those who are not.

The opposite scenario occurs when parents place conditions of worth on their children, thus making the children feel anxious and uncertain about whether they are in fact “good enough”.

Such parental behaviour can lead to pathological narcissism in adulthood when the individuals try to cover over their insecurities about self-worth, through a variety of self-aggrandizing strategies.

Psychologists do not really agree on the cause of narcissism and feel that it is probably a combination of social environment and parental upbringing. There is agreement however that approximately 6% of North Americans suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and such behaviour is increasing at a rapid pace.

15 Traits of an Extreme Narcissist

  1. A narcissist has a grandiose sense of self importance and will typically exaggerate achievements and talents, and expect to be recognized as superior by others. They are more concerned with being perceived as superior in traits such as industriousness, dominance, and intelligence, rather than ” loser” traits such as agreeableness and honesty.
  2. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or sexual prowess- think James Bond for men.
  3. They have an enormous sense of entitlement which typically demands special attention or treatment in all situations and compliance with his or her demands. They frequent estate litigation files and are known as rude customers in commercial transactions.
  4. Narcissists have a” specialness” and uniqueness that is beyond comparison and can only be understood by comparable high class people or institutions. Friends might privately refer to their “Napoleon complex”, while others might say they have delusions of
  5. They are high drama queens that require constant attention and admiration.
  6. Narcissists are masters at manipulation and taking advantage of others to achieve their own ends. They are often charming and engaging on first impression, but in a relationship will never really show you who they really are, until the partner is mired in a toxic and controlling relationship.
  7. They are highly arrogant and haughty to the point of being obnoxious. Any disagreement with their opinion is dismissed as that of a loser who is simply jealous.
  8. Envy plays a big part in their lives in that they are often envious of more famous or rich people, while at the same time believing most people are envious of themselves, or should be.
  9. Narcissists lack empathy for others even desperately in need, and basically only think of If the grief or upset does not directly concern them, then they won’t bother with it.
  10. They are control freaks and are never wrong. Losing control makes the narcissist very upset as they need to have control of people and their surroundings. Control gives them a sense of security and these self centered types only enjoy people who don’t question their authority. An extreme narcissist will argue that black is white until even you begin to believe it.
  11. They don’t do anything if it does not directly or indirectly benefit themselves. They only surround themselves with attractive and “upper-class” people that make them feel more superior and invincible. They would never be seen with an unattractive or un-wealthy crowd.
  12. They do not take orders from others, and when ordered by others, may often plot revenge, as orders are a threat to their egotistical self-esteem.
  13. Narcissists do not like to express or show feelings. They are typically your cold unloving parent(s). They have been known to use their lack of empathy for others to inflict physical and/or mental cruelty on others, particularly their children.
  14. They do not give compliments or act polite in society. A narcissist expects to be complimented, and if you receive a compliment from a narcissist, you should be suspicious. Their high sense of superiority allows them to ignore certain norms and rules such as common courtesy.
  15. They do not listen nor much care what others have to say, as they only want to dominate the conversation.it is a fact of life that family loved ones, co-workers, longtime friends, spouses or bosses can be narcissists and thus more than a challenge to coexist with.Narcissists do not want to change, they see nothing wrong with themselves, and invariably will contentedly live in their world of self absorption and importance.Narcissists are good for the estate litigation and that’s about all.

In order to have a continued and reasonably healthy relationship with such a person, the interactions must be limited, or even kept to a far, all the while resisting their continued manipulation and grandiosity.

Simply put, narcissists are toxic people that will invariably draw you into their vortex of self absorption -they are best loved from afar.

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