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Divorcing a narcissist: What to know

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is challenging under the best of circumstances. But when you’re divorcing a narcissist, the process can feel like navigating a storm without a compass. It’s likely been an exhausting relationship fraught with manipulation, emotional abuse and controlling behavior. 

But it is possible to navigate the divorce process from a narcissistic partner. You can get through this difficult phase by understanding what you’re dealing with.

Understanding narcissism

In relationships, narcissists can be charming and persuasive initially, so no one should ever feel embarrassed about falling in love with one. However, their self-centered behavior eventually shows itself. They may belittle their partners, ignore their needs, and use them to meet their own needs. This can lead to toxic relationships characterized by emotional abuse and manipulation.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) have the following characteristics:

  • Pattern of grandiosity
  • Need for admiration
  • Lack of empathy
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Wants constant praise
  • Attention-seeking
  • Self-centeredness
  • Manipulative and controlling
  • Sense of entitlement

In a divorce situation, these traits can lead to narcissists attempting to control proceedings, refusing to accept responsibility, and using various tactics to manipulate the situation in their favor. Throughout the process, remember the following:

  1. Keep a record of all interactions, conversations, and events. Narcissists are master manipulators who can twist reality to suit their narrative. Your documentation can serve as a valuable resource during legal proceedings.
  2. Establish boundaries and limit communication. Use written communication whenever possible and avoid getting drawn into arguments or confrontations.
  3. Self-care is a necessity. Ensure you’re taking time for yourself, engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace, and seeking emotional support from trusted friends, family, or a therapist.

Divorcing a narcissist may not be easy. However, with the right resources, support and determination, you will soon be ready to embark on the next chapter of your life. Experienced legal guidance is wise.