A person divorcing a narcissist may have a difficult or stressful time dealing with them. Narcissists tend to have a strong need for control and manipulation when they feel their control is threatened. Dealing with a narcissist can involve a variety of complex behaviours and tell-tale signs. This may include:
- A conceited sense of self-importance or high levels of ego and confidence (grandiose narcissism)
- Obsession with fantasies of boundless success, power, beauty, or ideal love. These are typically referred to as sources of narcissistic supply.
- A conviction that they are special and unique. They may feel that they can only be understood by or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions.
- Excessive admiration for themselves
- A feeling of entitlement
- Tendency to manipulate or to guilt trip
- Absence of empathy
- Invalidating the feelings of other people or their partner
- The belief that others are envious of them
- A display of arrogant and haughty attitudes or behaviours
A person with narcissistic personality disorder may also try to drag out divorce proceedings, engage in stonewalling or other forms of non-cooperation. They may also try to use the legal system as a way to continue to control and manipulate their former spouse. In addition, it can be difficult to co-parent with a narcissist, as they may continue to try to control and manipulate the situation.
This can create ongoing conflict and stress, which can be particularly challenging for any children involved. Overall, divorcing a narcissist can be a complex and challenging process. So how can a narcissist divorce their partners easily? Read on to know more how these partners manipulate their partners during divorce procedures.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists in their relationships, including romantic partnerships. This tactic is a form of emotional manipulation in which the abuser makes the victim doubt their own perceptions and memory. This ultimately results in the victim questioning their sanity or their ability to perceive reality accurately. A gaslighter's behaviour may include:
- Countering their partner's opinions and rebuttals
- Refusing to participate in a conversation
- Undermining their partner's feelings
- Denying that certain important events happened the way their partner said they have. For instance, a partner told her narcissistic boyfriend that he insulted her family. The narcissistic boyfriend continues to deny this even though it was true.
- Shifting the blame to other people or their partners. A narcissist divorcing their partner may shift the blame for the divorce on his/her partner. They may do this to gain the upper hand during property settlement or parenting arrangement decisions.
A narcissistic spouse may use gaslighting as a way to gain and maintain control over their partner. This allows them to distort the truth and make their partner feel unsure of themselves. They may deny that certain events occurred or insist that their partner misunderstood what was said or done. Here are some common lines or phrases that narcissists may use:
- "You're just being too sensitive."
- "I know what's best for you."
- "You're lucky to have me."
- "I did all of this for you."
- "I'm the victim here, not you."
- "You're the only one who understands me."
- "You're overreacting. I never said that."
- "You're the problem, not me."
- "You're not listening to me."
- "Me? Get checked with borderline personality disorder? Maybe you should get checked with that instead"
Preparations for Divorcing a Narcissist
1. Gather a Support Network
A support network can be an essential part of divorce whether someone is divorcing a narcissist or not. Dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner can be incredibly challenging and emotionally draining. Hence, family, friends, and professionals can make the process more manageable. Here are some ways that a support network can help:
- Emotional support: Having people to talk to and share your feelings with can help people cope with the stress of an abusive relationship. This is especially the case for partners who suffered emotional abuse.
- Practical support: Support networks can help with practical matters, such as providing childcare or running errands when you are overwhelmed.
- Legal support: A qualified family lawyer who is familiar with personality disorders can be an important ally in dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner in court.
- Therapeutic support: Working with a therapist who has experience working with individuals with narcissistic partners can help them process their emotions and develop coping strategies.
- Validation: It can be challenging to recognise and address gaslighting and manipulation that often accompany narcissistic behavior. A supportive network can help validate a person's experiences and provide a safe space to discuss what they're going through.
2. Practising Self-care
Self-care is also important when divorcing a narcissist. A partner who wants to divorce his/her narcissistic partner can have a challenging time to proceed with a divorce. It may take a toll on a person's emotional and physical well-being. It's essential to prioritise your self-care needs to maintain your health and well-being throughout the process. Here are some self-care strategies that can be helpful during divorce from a narcissist:
- Taking long breaks
- Prioritising physical and mental health. Some victims may want to get checked with a mental illness in case they developed traumatic responses due to to a narcissistic spouse.
- Setting boundaries after a post divorce relationship
- Boosting self-esteem by indulging in one's hobbies and talents
3. Protect Children and Assets
It's important to also protect children and assets when divorcing a narcissist. Narcissists may also tend to manipulate their children into hating the other parent. This way, they may win custody over the children or at least have the upper hand when making parenting arrangements.
Narcissists may also try their best to manipulate their partners in giving them major assets such as cars and inheritance. It may also be important to talk to children who may have been manipulated by their narcissistic parent. Therefore, it's wise to seek legal advice from a family lawyer to protect children and assets in a relationship.
4. Keep Detailed Records
It's important to keep detailed records when divorcing a narcissist. Such records may include bank statements, receipts, and evidence of abuse. Partners may also want to investigate their partner's past relationships to see if they already had narcissist behaviours before meeting them. These records can help with countering any abusive or manipulative tactic a narcissist will show in court proceedings.
Seeking Legal Advice From a Divorce Lawyer
As mentioned, family lawyers are one of the best professionals that can help partners divorcing a narcissist. Family lawyers have dealt with divorce procedures with narcissistic partners regardless of the difficulty of the case. JB Solicitors has a team of experienced lawyers who can deal with various family law matters including:
- Property settlement
- Parenting arrangements
- Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs)
- Binding Financial Agreements
Contact a divorce attorney today if you need help divorcing a narcissist.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.