Ending a marriage can be an emotionally difficult process even under the most amicable of circumstances. However, when one of the parties to the case is a narcissist, this already painful situation can escalate to the point of becoming a living nightmare. Often, it is the opposing side’s manipulative, controlling, and cruel behavior which has driven the other person to take action to end the relationship. While it may not be easy, surviving divorce when your ex is a narcissist, is possible:
Identifying a Narcissist
According to the Mayo Clinic, a narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, need an unusual level of attention and admiration, lack empathy for others, and have troubled relationships. Individuals with this condition typically have fragile self-esteem and cannot accept even the slightest criticism. People with the disorder usually have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted, are prone to rage and belittling others, and have problems controlling their emotions.
Given the host of dysfunctional characteristics which narcissist have, it is not surprising that divorcing someone with this condition can be a grueling, drawn-out, and expensive proposition. For the narcissist the more they can create conflict and drama the more they can punish the other party for rejecting them and avoid taking responsibility for their actions. The good news is that there are measures you can take to get through your divorce and move on with your life.
Hire a Divorce Attorney Immediately
If you are considering leaving a narcissist, you can expect that they will react in a destructive and combative manner once the process begins. The first move you need to make is to find an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand your options and prepare for what is to come. Having the guidance and protection of counsel is critical to safeguarding your interest and helping you manage the issues which will arise in your case. This is not the time to hire an inexperienced lawyer. You need someone specialized to divorce law and who has real experience with these types of individuals and will, therefore, be ready for anything which comes.
Brace for Impact
You cannot expect your ex to play fair or be cooperative. According to Forbes, one way to protect yourself financially while divorcing a narcissist is by gathering and identifying your financial documents. The more information you can collect about your assets before your partner knows about the divorce, the better. If you are already in the case, make a comprehensive list of all your joint holdings, accounts, and other financial resources for your attorney. Another way to prepare is by making sure you have credit in your own name and funds to support yourself. Otherwise, your ex could use your financial vulnerability to punish and manipulate you into conceding important issues during the case.
Do Not Get Sucked in
During your divorce, it is likely that your ex will try to reach out to you under the guise of being cooperative and concerned. This could be because he or she is used to manipulating you or due to a specific goal. You may receive an email or text inquiring about your children or mental health. You should be highly suspicious of any communication with your ex after the divorce begins. It is very possible they are trying to trap you into stating something which can be used against you in the case. Keep contact to a minimum and direct your ex to go through your attorney regarding all substantive issues.
Divorcing a narcissist can be more traumatic than being married to one, but with the right counsel, you can take steps to protect yourself and get out of an unhealthy relationship. At the Draper Firm, we have divorce attorneys who understand the complexities of ending a relationship with a high-conflict partner and know how to advocate for you. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.