Divorcing a Narcissist - Tips and Advice

Narcissus in Greek legend was a handsome youth who fell in love with his own reflection. The term narcissist is thus used for a person who has an unnatural sense of self-importance and is overly self-involved. But when this trait turns into a personality disorder, it can make living with the person quite impossible. If you find yourself in such a position and are contemplating divorce, here are a few things to keep in mind.

TIP: Read about how the manifestation miracle can help you fulfill your desires.

Expect it to be messy

It is quite common for a narcissistic partner is usually the center of a high conflict divorce case. This is because such a person is completely incapable of feeling remorse at the breakup of a marriage and has no conscience whatsoever. Normal people remember the good from the past, no matter how painful the present is. You may be getting a divorce, but that does not mean don't have valuable memories and a life story together. It is this common feeling of a shared, pleasant past which imparts a sense of balance and fairness during a divorce. However for a narcissist, all that is gone; it is like you were never in love with each other or made sacrifices and adjustments for one another. Thus while divorcing a narcissist, it is best that you be on your guard for such selfish and heartless behavior. In fact you are quite likely to find your ex  completely dismissive of any of your needs or those of your kids. It is only too natural for him/her to erase all memories of the years of devotion and mutual companionship that you had built together.

He/she will most likely play dirty

Narcissistic people believe that nothing is ever their fault, and that it is always the other person who is to blame the way that things have turned out. Thus while divorcing a narcissist, expect him/her to lay the entire blame of divorce at your doorstep. It may have been his/her inordinate selfishness, emotional unavailability or even cheating which led to this divorce, but a narcissist will make everything out to be your fault. If he has had an affair, he would blame you for not giving him enough attention or if she has been irresponsible with money, then she would explain it as a way of getting back at you for not caring enough. A need to be right and be seen as the good guy are the hallmarks of a narcissistic personality but what makes all this worse in case of a divorce is that they are usually endowed with charismatic and charming personality which compels others to see things from their point of view. Thus you may have to come across lawyers, law enforcement agencies, witnesses and may be even jury members who are taken up by the charms of your narcissistic ex. Apart from being mentally prepared for such dirty tactics on the part of your ex, what you can do in such a situation is to stay calm and keep the focus on facts like emails to a lover or documents showing that he/she has been stealing from your bank account.

Take charge of your own emotional health

Armed with an innate duplicity, a narcissist is adept at causing confusion, not only in the minds of third parties in yours as well. As soon as you begin to question whether the problem is with you or the narcissist, he/she has gained the upper hand since this is exactly how the narcissist wants you - confused and questioning yourself. As such it is important to have complete clarity and self-assurance in your own thoughts and feelings - the healthier you are emotionally the more success you will have in dealing with the narcissist.

Respond in a measured manner

Begin by recognizing the fact that nothing you say or do will make a narcissist change his/her manipulative behavior. But since you cannot change the behaviors of others, you need to change the way you respond to their behavior. Don’t react with anger or explain yourself when a narcissistic ex blames you for something. Keep in mind that he/she is pushing your buttons in order to evoke a negative response from you. Every time you respond to him/her with anger or appeasement, you are actually giving into their attempts at manipulating you. Also the narcissistic spouse can use the Family Court System to abuse as a way of projecting his own fears, shame and guilt off onto you. In such cases, it is best not to retaliate or challenge them since this will put the shame, fear and guilt back onto them.

Set boundaries

A narcissist will always put his/her own needs before everyone else’s. If you have been living with one, you may have found that it was perpetually about his/her likes and dislikes, feelings and requirements. And now that you are divorcing one, he/she is likely to make out that their needs are more important than yours. While you cannot expect the narcissist to ever respect your boundaries, you can, however refuse to allow the narcissist to cross your boundaries and cause you undue stress during the divorce process. This is done by you controlling what behaviors you will and will not allow. For instance, refuse to communicate with your ex unless it can be done in a manner free of conflict, manipulation and disrespect. You may need to insist that all communication is via email instead of over the phone or face-to-face. You can also be firm about the fact that you will not respond to any communication that dismisses or belittles you and your needs.

Accept the reality of the situation

It is imperative you see your ex for the narcissistic person he/she really is and not for whom you wish he/she was. Regardless of how amicable you want the divorce to be, the more you work at keeping it pleasant, the more the narcissist will exploit your goodness. In fact the sooner you realize the manipulative nature of the narcissist, the better. The narcissist wants you to doubt your own value. The best defense during divorce against such a person is to appreciate your own self-worth and refuse to enable their tendency to dismiss and belittle you and your needs.

Finally it is important that you surround yourself with a strong support network during this most trying time in your life. While close friends and family are usually helpful in normal circumstances, in this case they may be deceived by your narcissistic ex and refuse to understand why you are breaking up at all. Rather you would do better to hire a divorce attorney who knows how to protect your interests against grasping, selfish individuals. Better still, find a therapist who can help you work through the feelings you will have during the divorce and after. A positive support system can in fact play a huge role in how well you navigate divorce from a narcissistic spouse.