If you think being married to a narcissist is hard, then just wait until you divorce one. You need to prepare yourself with all the information you can to best be able to navigate the divorce. The good news is that there are tips and tricks that can help. And once you are divorced from the person, you also can be free of their control, manipulation, and abuse.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is when a person has an inflated sense of self-importance. NPD is found more commonly in men. The cause is unknown but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms include an excessive need for admiration, a disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement. If you’ve met someone like this, raise your hand! I have met several people who have NPD (or at least some of the traits) in my line of work.
What You Can Do
You can find many resources on this condition and how to begin a working theory on whether your spouse fits the bill. In my book No One Dies from Divorce, chapter 6 is titled “Divorcing a Narcissist” and goes through the traits to determine if your spouse is a narcissist and/or has narcissistic traits.
If you can recognize the problem you then can better equip yourself to deal with it. There are specific things you can do in your divorce to ensure that you protect yourself and hopefully protect your children if your spouse has NPD and/or traits of NPD.
A few things you can do right now are the following:
- Set boundaries, and don’t allow them to cross them. A person with NPD is going to always attempt to push boundaries and to cross them. If you give a person with NPD an inch they will take a mile. Therefore, you have to ensure you are clear in your boundaries and then you make sure the other party knows you will not cross them, and they are expected to follow the rules you set up.
- Limit communication to writing. NPD people can be very mean and manipulative. Therefore, on the phone, they will likely talk in circles or try to make you react. They feed off of that. Therefore, ensure that all communication is in writing and limit yourself to when you look at the messages. NPD people could send hundreds of texts or emails a week. So, let your ex know you will check messages twice a week (on such and such day) and will respond accordingly. This takes away their power and helps with the boundaries you set above.
- Take your power back. NPD people will do what they can to take your power and make you feel that you are the crazy one (gaslighting). Every time you react and/or blow up it gives them power and they are satisfied because that is exactly what they wanted. Therefore, don’t give them power. Pick your battles and do not react. They will eventually get tired of trying to get a reaction out of you and move on to someone else.
Hire the Bulldog Divorce Attorney
Divorcing someone with NPD can be so hard. But the most important thing you can do is hire a good attorney that understands NPD and knows how to protect you and your family with an NPD ex-spouse. Therefore, if this is you, contact Coillaw, whose attorneys are specifically trained to deal with exes that have NPD and can help navigate the process with you. Knowing you have an attorney on your side that fights for you are vitally important in getting through the divorce with an NPD party.