Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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Divorcing a spouse with a narcissistic personality?

Divorce can be tough, but usually there is a good reason why you want to end your marriage. For example, if your spouse is a bit narcissistic. Living with a self-involved spouse isn't easy, and walking away might be the best decision for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, divorcing a narcissist can make the process highly contentious and harder to get through. If you are in this situation, you may want to hire an attorney who has experience with the "tough" cases, so the proceedings don't get out of control. An attorney who knows how to "play the game" with difficult personalities can help make sure your divorce goes through the legal system as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here are some specifics to consider when divorcing a narcissist.

Remember that it's always going to be about them

Keep in mind that all those things they say to show they are "concerned" might not be based in actual concern. It's often a ploy to manipulate you. For example, they may say they are worried about:

  • Your well-being or your ability to care for yourself without them
  • The children and the lack of parenting time they will have after divorce
  • How you will "look" to the community, when you leave someone everyone else seems to love

Narcissistic personalities may also extend an olive branch and say that they want peace and that they will make agreements and amends. You will generally find that they only want those things on their terms, and that they won't work with you in a way that actually benefits both you and the children.

Recognizing what they are doing is the first step toward stopping it before it gets started.

You need advocates on your side

Your narcissistic spouse will do everything they can to make you look like the bad guy, and paint themselves to be the victim. Don't get sucked into their drama, argue with them, or fall for their lies.

Instead, make sure you document everything you can. When it comes to communication, do so through your attorney. Your attorney might even suggest putting your communication in writing, where your spouse can't lie about what you really said.

Also consider:

  • Building a good support system with your friends and family or even a counselor
  • Understanding what the courts are really looking for in any decision
  • The most important bears repeating; talk to an attorney experience in litigating the tough cases

By making sure you are validated by yourself and others, and that you really do understand that this is not your fault, it can be easier for you to move forward with the divorce and get through it as well as possible.

There will be struggles, but the more prepared you are for them the better you will be able to handle them. Enter your attorney. The right attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, and in helping you make the right choices when presented with your spouse's narcissistic behavior.

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