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Divorcing a Narcissist: Tips, Tools, And What to Expect
Being married to a narcissist is extremely difficult. Unfortunately, divorcing a narcissist can be just as challenging. Spouses seeking a divorce from a narcissistic person need to understand what to expect before they begin the divorce process.
Four Things You Can Expect When Divorcing a Narcissist
You need to prepare yourself for the fallout when you tell your narcissistic spouse you want a divorce.
Four things you can expect when you file for divorce are:
1. You Will Be the Villain
A narcissist is never wrong. Therefore, the breakup of your marriage will be your fault. Your spouse will paint you as the villain to anyone who will listen, including your children, friends, and family members.
Your spouse may convince some people that you were at fault for breaking up the family. Try not to react or defend yourself, even though it will be difficult to remain quiet. Your spouse is trying to get a reaction from you.
You need to be viewed by the court and child advocates as the reliable, sensible, and sane spouse. If you lose your temper or become defensive, you may help prove your spouse’s allegations. Allow your divorce lawyer to handle the matter. An attorney understands how to address these tactics and get a narcissist to reveal themselves in court.
2. Your Spouse Will Use Your Children Against You
A narcissistic person cannot admit defeat. They will do anything to win, even if that means using their own children as pawns. Your spouse may try to turn your children against you by manipulating them.
In your spouse’s twisted sense of self, anything they do is justified if it means they win. Therefore, attempts to co-parent will often fail. Compromise is not a trait common to most narcissists.
Your spouse may try to paint you as an inattentive or neglectful parent when they are the parent who is absent in their children’s lives. Keeping a log of all missed visitations, unanswered telephone calls, and other instances when your ex-partner failed to show up is the best way to win custody against a narcissist.
Your spouse will want to show off in court by going into great detail about how they are involved in their children’s lives. Your lawyer can force your spouse to admit they were not as present as they claim.
3. The Case May Be Prolonged by Your Spouse
You may be facing a lengthy court battle if your spouse is a narcissist. The symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder make it difficult for them to compromise. A narcissist does not empathize with anyone. They cannot see an issue from another point of view.
Therefore, attempts to negotiate a settlement or mediate the divorce often fail. Narcissists lack the skill necessary for conflict resolution. As discussed above, they are always right and must always win.
The evidence will beat a narcissistic spouse. The more evidence that your lawyer obtains to support your allegations and demands, the better chance you have to force your spouse to accept a reasonable settlement agreement.
4. You May Never Be Completely Rid of Your Spouse
If your spouse believes that they “lost” the divorce, you could face additional court battles. Your ex-spouse may take every opportunity to go back into court to prove that they are superior.
Document all communication between you and your ex-spouse in writing whenever possible. Do not allow your ex-spouse to “bait” you into arguments or manipulate you into agreeing to things that are not in you or your children’s best interests.
You may want to prepare to have your lawyer on retainer to handle matters that could escalate into court battles. It may be best to allow your lawyer to deal with your ex-spouse’s lawyer on some issues instead of dealing directly with your ex-spouse.
What Should I Do If I Want to Divorce a Narcissist?
Find an experienced family law attorney who has experience handling divorces involving a narcissistic spouse. You will need a strong advocate in your corner who understands how to get a narcissist to reveal themselves in court.
Begin keeping detailed notes about all interactions with your spouse. Keep logs detailing your spouse’s relationship with your children. Make a list of everyone who can testify regarding how your spouse treats you and your children.
The more information you can give your lawyer about your spouse’s traits and personality, the better your attorney can prepare for questioning your spouse in court. Your spouse may try to “spin” an alternate story for the judge, but details and facts will help you prevail.