Working with Professionals
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
Emotional, Verbal, and Psychological Abuse, Domestic and Family Violence and Spousal Abuse
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Selecting the right professional is crucial. In the hands of an incompetent service provider, you may end up feeling abused all over again.
Go through the following check list before you settle on a divorce attorney, a financial consultant, a tax planner, a security adviser, or an accountant. Don't be ashamed to demand full disclosure - you have a right to do so. If you are met with impatience, arrogance, or a patronizing attitude - leave. This is not the right choice.
Make additional enquiries. Join online support groups and ask the members for recommendations. Visit directories on the Web - they are usually arranged by city, state, region, and country. Compare notes with others who have had similar experiences. Ask friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same. Scan the media for mentions of experts and mavens. Seek advice and referrals - the more the better.
Suggested Check List
Is the professional certified in your state/country? Can he himself fully represent you?
Will you be served by the expert himself - or by his staff? Don't end up being represented by someone you never even met! Make the professional's personal services an explicit condition in any written and verbal arrangement you make.
Obtain a complete financial offer, all fees and charges included, before you hire the services. Make sure you are aware of the full monetary implications of your decisions. Finding yourself financially stranded midway through is bad policy. If you can afford it - don't compromise and go for the best. But if you don't have the pecuniary means - don't overshoot.
What is the professional's track record? Does he have a long, varied, and successful experience in cases similar to yours? Don't hesitate to ask him or her for recommendations and referrals, testimonials and media clips.
This article appears in my book, "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
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What are the likely outcomes of the decisions you make, based on the specialist's recommendations? A true pro will never provide you with an iron-clad guarantee but neither will he dodge the question. Your expert should be able to give you a reasonably safe assessment of risks, rewards, potential and probable outcomes, and future developments.
Always enquire about different courses of action and substitute measures. Ask your professional why he prefers one method or approach to another and what is wrong with the alternatives. Don't accept his authority as the sole arbiter. Don't hesitate to argue with him and seek a second opinion if you are still not convinced.
Make the terms of your agreement crystal-clear, get it in writing, and in advance. Don't leave anything to chance or verbal understanding. Cover all grounds: the scope of activities, the fees, the termination clauses. Hiring a consultant is like getting married - you should also contemplate a possible divorce.
Relegate any inevitable contact with your abusive ex – when and where possible – to professionals: your lawyer, or your accountant. Work with professionals to extricate yourself and your loved ones from the quagmire of an abusive relationship.
This is the topic of our next article.
"Trauma Bonding" and the Psychology of Torture
Case Studies on the Psychopath and Narcissist Survivors Support Group
Ask Sam on the Psychopath and Narcissist Survivors Support Group
Ask Sam on the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Forum
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