Are you married to a narcissist?
If you are, chances are you are emotionally drained. You feel beaten, you feel defeated. Most of the time you’re tired, emotionally worn out. If you’re going to divorce a narcissist and survive, there are four things that you need to do.
The first and probably the most important is you have to separate. You cannot live in the same home while you quote unquote work things out. There’s no working things out with a narcissist. It’s simply the narcissist wins and you lose. If you are in a relationship and your spouse is a narcissist, you may know exactly what we are talking about.
So the first thing you need to do when you embark or when you’ve decided you’re going to divorce, is you need to separate either your spouse leaves or you leave. You need to be as strong as you can be as clearheaded as you can be, and as distant as possible from your spouse. It’s going to be a brutal fight. A narcissist fights to the end and they’re ruthless. You need to separate. You need your strength. You need to take care of yourself. That’s the first, and probably the most important piece of advice – separate before you start the process.
The second is don’t engage. Don’t say This can be easy. All we need to do is this. When you do that, what you’ve done is you’ve informed the spouse of what it is that you want. So since winning actually means you losing to a narcissist, you’ve put your goals at risk and at jeopardy, because that is exactly what your spouse is not going to want to give you. You cannot engage. You need to let that negotiation be handled by the attorneys.
If you try to negotiate with your spouse, if you engage your spouse in the negotiation, your spouse is going to manipulate you. If you allow yourself to be manipulated, then you are going to get good treatment from your spouse. If you push back and you hold your ground, then you are going to unleash the ruthlessness of the narcissist. You don’t want to expose yourself to that. Winning is all that counts, and a lot of times what happens is part of that winning is hurting you and destroying you. With the narcissist the win becomes all about you losing, and not so much about a fair division of property, assets, etc. Don’t engage the narcissist. Don’t engage your spouse. Let that go through the attorneys. A narcissist is so hellbent on winning they would rather burn the house to the ground, spend every single penny figuring that they’re hurting you because this litigation is now more important and more expensive than it ever had to be. Don’t engage. Let that go through the attorneys.
Make a Plan
The third thing is that you need to make a plan. Understand where your goal posts are. If it’s with the children, maybe you want equal access, maybe a 50/50 schedule, or if your spouse is really just not a good parent and emotionally abuses your children, maybe you want full custody and just access for the spouse.
Understand what the plan includes. Is alimony involved? Is child support involved? Whatever it is, define that and understand this is what you are going to go for. So if you want more access with your children, you stay involved. You do what you need to do to effectuate the plan from your side of the chess board. The rest of it will more likely than not unfold in court. Be prepared to do a trial. Be prepared for mediation and negotiation to be unsuccessful. Your best chance at success in terms of mediation or negotiation will be through the attorneys and perhaps a mediator in a one-on-one where the spouse, the narcissistic spouse, is working with an attorney and any discussion is a lot more objective.
The discussion will include the, the spouse’s goals and what and what they plan to achieve, and that’s going to be tempered with rules. And what happens in case law, the results that are likely to happen in court, your spouse’s attorney is the best one to get your spouse to behave reasonably.
Understanding the Narcissistic Personality
The fourth thing that you need to do is make sure that whatever attorney you select, they’re sensitive to the fact that you are married to a narcissist. If an attorney is familiar with a narcissistic personality, what they will try to do is expose that personality in court – including the manipulations, the lack of reason, the refusal to compromise, etc.
This gives you the best opportunity for you to posture yourself successfully through the trial process. You need to have an attorney that credits your understanding, your belief that you are married to a narcissist and will anticipate engage what you’re going to do the next step and the step after that. Factoring in that this person is going to manipulate and abuse and look to win.