Narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD, has become quite a trendy way for people to label their exes that were just too difficult to handle. However, we so often forget that narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder that people suffer from. Simply labeling everyone we don’t like, or cannot find a way to get along with as NPD, is stigmatizing and harmful to those who are suffering from NPD. A lot of people with NPD feel lonely, inadequate, and depressed. Unfortunately, many people suffering with NPD have self-destructive tendencies that cause interpersonal conflict. Therefore, it is important to remember that people with NPD are human beings who have a mental disorder that they’re suffering from.
What Is a Personality Disorder?
There are lots of things that contribute to a person’s personality. Personalities include thought patterns, emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and more. A person may have a personality disorder when their behavior, thought patterns, and beliefs not only deviate from what’s considered normal but do so in a self-destructive manner. A person with a personality disorder may not necessarily seek out help because they don’t believe that their way of thinking is any different from others’ way of thinking. However, personality disorders can inhibit a person’s ability to function in key areas of life. Some may make relationships impossible, other personality disorders may make it difficult to hold down a job, some personality disorders can make both difficult. In the case of NPD, those who are suffering from it may experience significant struggles in their interpersonal relationships.
They Didn’t Necessarily Choose to Be this Way
People who have NPD are likely suffering quite a bit. Though psychologists still aren’t certain what causes NPD, it’s theorized that both genetic and environmental factors play a part in determining whether or not a person develops NPD. Some people with NPD have parents who also have narcissistic personality disorder. Some people who developed NPD had a tumultuous childhood. There will even be some cases where the root cause is difficult to determine. When empathizing with those who have a narcissistic personality disorder, it’s important to remember that they didn’t choose to be this way. Instead, they simply don’t know how else to be. A person with a narcissistic personality disorder may not be selfish for a malicious reason; they may just be selfish because they aren’t in the practice of putting others first. Though this behavior isn’t excusable, it is important to understand that they often don’t know how to change their behavior, and they fail to recognize the importance of changing their behavior.
Should You Divorce Your Spouse If They Have NPD?
There are many people who have narcissistic personality disorder who also have long-term marriages. For the best chances of a successful marriage, narcissistic personality disorder needs to be officially diagnosed by a person with the qualifications to do so, and the person with NPD needs specialized treatment. If your spouse has NPD, you cannot cure them, or make them change. But their symptoms could improve with the right treatment. Though not every person with a narcissistic personality disorder is abusive, some are. If your partner has any abusive tendencies, it may be in your best interest to contemplate leaving the relationship.
How Can NPD Affect Your Divorce?
If you’re going through a divorce, and you know your spouse has NPD, there’s a much higher chance that you will have a high-conflict divorce. If this is the case, your divorce may be longer and more expensive than a divorce with no conflict. Other than that, divorcing a spouse with NPD will not affect the legal proceedings of your divorce. A person with NPD still has the same rights as a person without NPD. If you and your spouse have children, your spouse still has the same rights when it comes to custody. Just because someone is a bad spouse doesn’t mean they are a bad parent.
If you have loved ones with narcissistic personality disorder, the best way to cope in the relationship is to know what they’re capable of and set boundaries based on that. If your spouse has NPD and thus has a diminished capacity for empathy, it isn’t that they are hoarding their empathy for others. Instead, they actually cannot empathize with you or your struggles. This can make for an exhausting divorce. You may need to set boundaries such as only responding to texts at certain hours, or limiting all communication entirely. In relationships with those who have narcissistic personality disorders, it’s important to manage the relationship in a way where you can be loving, but also stay safe from the other party’s destructive behaviors. Boundaries are not to be negotiated upon. Boundaries are something you set for yourself. If the person does not respect your boundaries, you may have to limit your contact with them.
Get an Attorney Who Specializes in High-Conflict Divorces
If you’re going through a divorce, and your spouse has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, there’s an increased chance that you’ll have a high conflict divorce. If you’re concerned about having a high conflict divorce, you need an experienced attorney who can help you through it. At CoilLaw, our attorneys are experts in high-conflict divorce. If you’re ready to file for divorce, contact CoilLaw today.