Divorcing a narcissist can be extremely stressful. The person who made your marriage so difficult will increase their manipulative behaviour during separation and divorce. Narcissists thrive on conflict and will likely try to drag out the divorce process.
How do you separate from a narcissist? How do you divorce a narcissist? Family lawyers deal with narcissists and other difficult personality types on a regular basis. There are effective ways to manage the situation and reduce conflict. Here are tips from our experienced family lawyer to get you through your divorce from a narcissist.
Stages of divorcing a narcissist
Think of separation and divorce as a process to go through in stages. You will get through divorce from a narcissist if you are prepared, organized and stay calm at each stage along the way.
Gather financial information and other important records
Narcissists will often lie to serve their own interests, including hiding assets and income. For that reason, it is essential to have financial records and other important documents to back up your family law claims and disprove your spouse’s untruths. Ideally, you will gather these documents before you separate so that your spouse does not have the opportunity to destroy records, hide property, or conceal income.
Get financially ready
Separation and divorce can be tough from a financial perspective. Two households are more expensive to maintain than one. To safeguard your financial stability post- separation, it is recommended that you save up as much as you can before separating so that you can afford your own living expenses and legal fees, if necessary. You should also establish good credit in your own name. While this is a wise strategy for any separating spouse, it is even more important if you are divorcing a narcissist who may use finances to manipulate you or to attempt to control the situation. As mentioned, a narcissistic spouse is likely to try to drag out the divorce process and is also likely to refuse to cooperate or to negotiate.
These files typically have numerous interim court applications and/or an expensive multi-day trial. Your narcissistic spouse may threaten to “drown you in legal fees” or to “ruin you” financially. If you have prepared yourself financially, you will be better able to withstand these tactics.
Once you have separated, document as much as you can. If you need to communicate with your ex directly, do so by text or email whenever possible so there is a record of the communication exchange. Keep written notes on how much time each of you spends with the children if parenting time is an issue. Narcissists are convincing liars who will often bend the truth to suit themselves. They also tend to be very charming. They may lie about your conversations, their assets or debt or their level of involvement with the children. They may make up wild accusations about you or your marriage. You will be better able to challenge their credibility when you have written documentary proof to the contrary.
Don’t let a narcissist use your children as pawns
Narcissists tend to view people as objects that can be used to further their personal agenda. This includes their own children. Often, the narcissist will see the children as an extension of themselves. They will often try to draw the children into the conflict or go out of their way to ask for the children as much as possible in order to make you pay emotionally for leaving them and challenging them. It is preferable to not stoop to their level.
Set boundaries as early as possible in the legal process by getting a written parenting plan in place or a detailed interim parenting order. Stand firm if your ex pushes boundaries with the children’s schedules or tries to withhold the children. Typically, a narcissist who gets an inch will take a mile.
Adjust your expectations
It may be the case that you tried to appease your spouse throughout your marriage as you never wanted to rock the boat or upset your spouse. You may have realized that how hard you tried to keep the peace, your efforts were never good enough in the eyes of your narcissistic spouse.
You do not need to engage in this behaviour anymore. You can not change a narcissist or their behaviour but you can change how you react to them. Stop expecting them to be nice or to play fair by the rules. Be firm but reasonable. Refuse to engage if your ex is trying to pick a fight or rile you up. Keep direct communication to a minimum and consider waiting before responding if they are being aggressive. If your ex continues to be abusive and manipulative when you have to interact with them, consider communicating only through lawyers.
This increases legal expenses but it is worth every penny as it may provide a buffer from their toxic behaviour. It may also discourage your narcissistic ex. It may discourage them from a financial perspective as their legal costs will also be increasing if lawyers alone are communicating for the two of you. It may possibly also make them more restrained when they know others are reading their emails and text messages.
Strategize with an experienced lawyer
It is so important to have a supportive family lawyer on your side. A “pit-bull” lawyer will antagonize your narcissist ex and increase the level of conflict you are going through. When you divorce a narcissist, you want a lawyer on your side who is tough and firm but also strategic and reasonable.
A supportive family lawyer will help you develop a short-term strategy to achieve your long-term goals. You may decide it is best to use an aggressive approach when necessary while still maintaining a professional demeanor and without being fazed by their theatrics, hostility and incessant needs.
An experienced family lawyer can help you divorce a narcissist
If you need to divorce a narcissist, do not go through this process alone. Consult Valerie M. Little Law Corporation at your first opportunity to make sure your rights and those of your children are protected. At Valerie M. Little Family Law Corporation, you will receive up to date legal advice and rofessional support during stressful times.
Throughout her legal career Ms. Little has effectively dealt with narcissists and other challenging personality traits such as those with borderline personality disorder, histrionic traits, passive aggressive tendencies , antisocial behaviour and paranoid personality types. When you need legal support during your divorce and other family law issues, reach out to our trustworthy and experienced lawyer, Valerie M. Little. She listens. She cares. She will help. Call today: 604-526-3333.