Divorcing A Narcissist: Tips, Tools, and What To Expect

Hossein Berenji, May 12, 2021

Going through a divorce is never easy, even when the parties agree to an uncontested divorce. However, when your spouse is a narcissist, the divorce process can be even more traumatic.

A narcissist does not like to lose. Therefore, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who knows what to expect from a narcissistic spouse. You will need the support and guidance of someone who can force a narcissist to expose their true nature in court.

It is possible to divorce a narcissist on your terms, but you want to seek legal advice before you begin the divorce process.

What Can You Expect From a Narcissistic Spouse When You File for Divorce?

You can expect your spouse to fight you each step of the way. In a narcissist’s mind, they do not fail; they do not make mistakes.

Therefore, your spouse will place the blame for the divorce squarely on your shoulders. A narcissist will use whatever resources they can to protect their self-inflated ego. That means you can expect your spouse to use your children, friends, and family against you, as well as your property and assets.

Never underestimate a narcissistic spouse. If you let your guard down, your spouse will strike. Therefore, the first tip for divorcing a narcissist is to hire a divorce lawyer.

What About Mediation?

Mediation is probably not going to be an option when divorcing a narcissist. Someone with narcissistic traits cannot see things from another person’s perspective. A narcissist does not believe they can do anything wrong, so they do not see the value of negotiating. They view compromise as a defeat.

Another trait that hinders mediation is a narcissist’s lack of sympathy or empathy for another person. Your spouse will have a difficult time acknowledging your needs. They view everything as your fault, so you should be the one to suffer the consequences of your actions.

You Need to Protect Your Children

A narcissist must win at all costs. A narcissistic spouse will not hesitate to use children as pawns during a divorce. Someone with a narcissistic personality disorder puts their interests above everyone else.

Since narcissists are charming and master manipulators, they can often fool children, as they do many adults. Your spouse may try to turn your children against you. Parental alienation is a common tactic of a narcissistic parent during a divorce.

Tips and Tools for Divorcing a Narcissist

Your attorney will devise a strategy for dealing with your narcissistic spouse.

However, there are some things you can do right now to prepare for the battle ahead:

  • Document every encounter with your spouse. If possible, communicate with your spouse in writing. If not, keep a log of every telephone conversation and encounter, including the date, time, subject, and who was present for the conversation.
  • Be prepared for a lengthy and expensive divorce. Your spouse may be willing to spend anything to “win” the divorce. Discuss costs with your lawyer.
  • Keep logs of the time you and your spouse spend with your children. Your spouse may boast about how much time they spend with the children, even though they miss most visitations and important events. Your attorney can use the log when cross-examining your spouse in court to discount their testimony.
  • If your spouse has primary custody, make sure you note every time you are denied access to your children. This information is vital if your spouse attempts to alienate your children.
  • Do not allow yourself to be baited into arguments. In court, remain calm and serene, regardless of what your spouse says. Let your divorce lawyer defend you.
  • Create a list of witnesses for your lawyer. Describe what each witness knows, including any witnesses your spouse might call.

Divorcing a narcissist may not be easy, but staying in a toxic marriage could do more harm. Seeking legal advice is one of the best ways you can prepare to divorce a narcissistic spouse.

A narcissist can wear you down emotionally and mentally. Therefore, it is good to remember to take care of your mental health and physical well-being during and after the divorce proceeding. A narcissist does not like to lose, so you could have future battles to fight as your ex-spouse continues to try and show they are “better” than you.