Divorce is never easy, but there are extra issues to deal with when it comes to the case of a narcissist divorce, which you and your divorce lawyer need to discuss. This blog post goes into great detail about how narcissism operates and what to anticipate during a divorce. Understanding these points will help you prepare for the worst and create the best plan of action for your situation.
Are You Married to a Narcissist?
In the last few years, narcissism has gained attention from the general public, especially because of rumors circulated about influential individuals who could or might not suffer from the condition. It’s crucial to keep in mind that narcissism is a mental health condition rather than merely a personality attribute before you begin mentioning it in your divorce proceedings.
What is Narcissism?
One of the various personality disorders is narcissistic personality disorder, which is characterized by an exaggerated feeling of one’s own significance, a strong need for unrelenting attention and appreciation, strained interpersonal connections, and a lack of empathy for others. However, beneath this façade of unwavering confidence comes a delicate self-worth that is easily damaged by even the smallest setback.
Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms can include:
1. Inflated sense of importance in oneself
2. Rights and Obligations
3. An obsession with unrelenting, extreme adoration
4. Feeling superior and hoping to be accepted for it (also known as having a superiority complex)
5. A propensity to overstate their abilities or accomplishments
6. Obsession with beauty, intelligence, power, prosperity, or—crucial to divorces—finding the ideal mate
7. Conviction that they ought to interact with particular individuals solely
8. A propensity to dominate discussions
disparaging or dehumanizing those they believe to be less than them
9. Demanding preferential treatment or blindly following orders
10. Using other people in order to achieve one’s goals
11. A diminished capacity or readiness to take into account the needs and feelings of others
12. Feeling jealous and thinking that other people are jealous of them
13. Eloquence or conceit
14. Wish for everything to be at its finest
15. Difficulty accepting criticism
16. Feeling duped easily
17. Displaying fury or disdain when confronted
18. Difficulty controlling feelings or actions
19. Issues adjusting to stress and change
20. Sadness or irritability
21. Sensations of vulnerability, humiliation, guilt, or insecurity
Diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder is a medical specialty. It could be necessary for you to use discovery procedures to get medical records verifying the diagnosis if you believe your spouse is a narcissist. If there isn’t an official diagnosis or if your partner decides to claim their mental health privilege, these attempts may be in vain. In the event that your case proceeds to trial, you may include medical records that substantiate the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder.
The Reaction of a Narcissist to Divorce
As demonstrated by the aforementioned list of symptoms, narcissists suffer when their flaws are revealed. Divorce has the power to expose every negative aspect of narcissism. If not in front of a judge or mediator, it frequently entails public criticism and reveals their marriage relationship’s flaws. A narcissist may become angry if they believe they have failed and discover you are seeking a divorce. They’ll probably try to discredit you, point out your shortcomings, and convince the judge that you “were never good enough” for them in return. It will be up to you to figure out how to handle your spouse’s rage while still pursuing the divorce.
Narcissism and Abuse of Women
Given that they have trouble empathizing with other people, especially their spouse and kids, narcissists are prone to abusive, domineering, and controlling behaviors. Divorcing a narcissist becomes far more difficult in cases of domestic violence when such tendencies become physical.
Narcissists and abusers have one thing in common, they both crave control over their surroundings. They may become more aggressive when they sense a lack of control, which could happen when they receive divorce papers. This might result in the days following the filing of a divorce in fresh, severe, and even fatal physical abuse.
You should notify your divorce attorney as soon as possible, even before your divorce is filed, if you think your spouse may become violent for any cause, including narcissism. Your attorney can employ some tactics to reduce the danger to you and your kids, but only if you prepare in advance. The greatest approach to avoid danger is to have a safety plan in place before your narcissistic spouse finds out that you desire a divorce.
The Impact of Narcissism on the Divorce Procedure
Expect conflict during every phase of a narcissistic divorce—from the initial delivery of process to the entry of the final Absolute Judgment of Divorce. A narcissist will anticipate preferential treatment and total control over the divorce process, including the judge. Additionally, they detest defeat and will make strong arguments and file motions in an effort to win, even in unimportant cases that won’t require an attorney.
Parental Custody and Narcissists
Narcissists lack empathy, therefore they may treat their kids more like property or pawns than like little people with wants and feelings of their own. Compared to other parents, narcissists are considerably more likely to use your kids as leverage. Instead of encouraging a positive relationship between both parents, they might also attempt to drive a wedge between you and your children by persuading them that you are to blame for the divorce or by enlisting your children in their cause.
It’s best to steer clear of direct, in-person parenting conversations with a narcissistic parent. Even when parents are in good health, these handoffs can be stressful. But a narcissist can use them as a pretext to intensify arguments, frequently quarreling over or in front of the kids, upsetting them in the process. To lessen this, think about creating a parenting schedule that for exchanges to occur at the beginning or end of the school day, or arrange for transportation to be provided by a reliable third party.
Techniques for Separating from a Narcissist
Regretfully, there’s no turning back when it comes to divorcing a narcissist. You will need to finish the divorce procedure if you wish to end your partnership, and either party might make it challenging and costly. Prior to the divorce, you and your divorce lawyer should have certain plans in place to assist keep costs down, safeguard your most valuable assets, and ensure a just result.
1. Have Reasonable Aspirations
The expectations of your narcissistic spouse regarding the divorce case will not be realistic or reasonable. If they initiated the divorce process initially, they anticipate a speedy and favorable resolution. They will try to prolong the process if you filed first. Knowing this before you proceed will help you set reasonable expectations for their actions as well as your options for reaching a just and equitable resolution without coercion or excessive pressure.
2. Get Past the Narcissist Every Time It Is Possible
Documents and information about income, property values, debts, school records, and other case-related matters are typically shared between the parties in divorce cases. Time and money can be saved for both parties by freely exchanging this information. But each time you ask a narcissist for something, you are giving them an opportunity to engage in fresh conflict. You and your lawyer should, whenever feasible, explore for alternative methods to obtain the information you require. This entails obtaining crucial records and financial data before to your divorce as well as utilizing subpoenas and other discovery tactics throughout the legal process.
3. Assemble a coalition of willing partners
Narcissists battle their divorces not just in court but also on all fronts. Narcissists will likely try to get your friends and family to agree to drop the lawsuit if you are divorcing them. By deceiving them and changing the story of your family, they may even persuade mutual friends to join “their side.” As a general guideline, you shouldn’t post about your divorce on social media until it’s finalized. However, you might need to warn close friends and family people about the narcissist’s statements in advance if you are divorcing them. Having a solid support system with people who are aware of your unique family dynamic can make you more resilient and better endure the divorce process.
4. Specify Your Boundaries
If you have been married to a narcissist for a while, you are most likely well acquainted with their disregard for your personal space. In extreme circumstances, this may verge on abusive control. As was previously mentioned, divorce can exacerbate these tendencies, even if you are making an effort to move on from your partner and begin a new life. Establishing boundaries early on is important. This includes stating when, how, and why you will or won’t speak with them. One very effective strategy is to send all non-emergency correspondence to your lawyer.To ensure you have a paper trail of all conversations, you can also mandate that all correspondence be conducted by text or email.
5. Never Expect Bargaining to Succeed
Most of the time, parties (or their lawyers) can cooperate to settle low-conflict matters, reducing the length of the trial or perhaps reaching a settlement in whole. That is not going to occur with a narcissistic partner. Narcissists are win-at-all costs people, therefore any kind of concession is viewed as inadequate and so undesirable. In most cases, negotiating with a narcissist just serves to weaken your own position. You shouldn’t haggle or make piecemeal deals; instead, you should present your narcissistic spouse with proposed settlement agreements or even go to mediation. If not, you might give up more than you know.
6. Consult a Therapist
Divorce is never easy emotionally. It’s considerably more difficult to divorce a narcissist. There is a limit to how much your lawyer can do to assist you in understanding what transpires in court. Even for a brief period of time while your divorce is pending, seeing a therapist can help you deal with your emotions in a healthy way. Additionally, it gives you a secure space to express your true feelings about your partner without fear of them being used against you in court.
7. Record / Document Everything
Lying is not a problem for narcissists. They frequently “gaslight” their spouses or fabricate stories to put themselves in the center of any argument. By keeping a record of every event during your divorce, you can be ready to fight back. This comprises:
1. Direct messaging as well as texts
2. posts on social media
3. Scheduling “visitation” and parent-child interactions
4. keeping a journal of face-to-face interactions
6. Obtaining witness written declarations
These records will allow your lawyer to refute the narcissist’s false testimony in court and reveal their narcissistic tendencies to the judge.
Working with a lawyer who has experience representing narcissists in divorce proceedings is the best course of action. Due to the unique nature of narcissistic divorce, your lawyer may advise you to make compromises or concessions that will ultimately backfire if they fail to see the issue at an early stage. You need an attorney who can thoroughly research, formulate, and present your case, as well as one who is ready to take on a highly contentious case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Narcissist Divorce
1. What is a narcissist divorce?
A narcissist divorce involves ending a marriage with a spouse who exhibits narcissistic traits, making the process challenging due to their self-centered behavior.
2. How do narcissists typically behave during a divorce?
Narcissists may resist compromise, engage in manipulation, and use tactics to control the narrative. They may exploit legal proceedings to maintain power and control.
3. Can a narcissist change during a divorce?
While change is possible, it’s challenging for narcissists to undergo significant transformation. They may resist therapy or self-reflection, making positive change less likely.
4. How can one cope with a narcissist during divorce proceedings?
Maintain clear boundaries, seek support from friends and professionals, and document interactions. Focus on self-care to navigate the emotional toll.
5. What legal strategies are effective in a narcissist divorce?
Consult with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in high-conflict divorces. Document evidence of the narcissist’s behavior, and work towards fair settlements while minimizing direct conflict.
6. Is co-parenting possible with a narcissistic ex-spouse?
Co-parenting can be challenging, but parallel parenting (minimal direct communication) may be more realistic. Legal agreements should be detailed and enforceable.
7. How does a narcissistic ex-spouse impact children?
Children may experience emotional manipulation or be used as pawns. Coordinating with a child psychologist and adhering to legal agreements can help mitigate these effects.
8. Can a narcissist be granted custody?
Courts consider the best interests of the child. If a narcissist’s behavior poses a threat to the child’s well-being, custody arrangements may be adjusted accordingly.
9. How long does a narcissist divorce typically take?
The timeline varies, depending on legal complexities and the willingness of both parties to cooperate. Expect a potentially lengthy and emotionally draining process.
10. Is therapy recommended for individuals going through a narcissist divorce?
Yes, therapy can provide emotional support and coping strategies. A mental health professional experienced in high-conflict divorces can offer valuable guidance.