12 Best Tips on How to Divorce a Narcissist
Divorcing someone with a narcissistic personality or narcissistic features can be difficult to successfully make your way through. As love fades, the anger and bitterness that sometimes follows combined with narcissism is a combination that can result in an unnecessarily mean divorce process.
A narcissist lacks empathy and they accept no responsibility. Just because someone is mean-spirited, ego-driven, or arrogant, these don’t inherently mean they are narcissistic. If your ex-partner demonstrates no empathy or struggles with accountability, they may be a classic narcissist.
A narcissist in a divorce will not consider your feelings and will not want to discuss why you’re divorcing. They won’t want to work with you on co-parenting agreements. They may blame you, even if the divorce stems from something like them cheating. A narcissist will play the part of ‘victim’ and will do everything to ‘win’.
Here is how to divorce a narcissist with as little damage as possible:
1. Hire A Narcissistic-Familiar Divorce Lawyer
Your divorce lawyer should have sufficient knowledge in the tactics narcissists use. Everyone is different. Some family lawyers are excellent negotiators, while others are loud and aggressive. Dealing with a narcissist takes a special kind of lawyer. You’ll be thankful to have them as you move through the legal process of separation.
2. Control Your Own Behaviours
It can be tempting to return the behavior you receive with similar behavior. It’s best not to. If they’re extraordinary difficult to deal with, kill them with kindness and reason. Do fight for your given rights and for your stake in the divorce but don’t do so with insults or any sort of mean-spiritedness. You will regret it.
3. Document Everything
It’s easy today to edit a text, email, or even a voicemail to use as evidence. Save everything. Document everything. Every text, email, voice memo, video, or any evidence like this. This is the only way to counter incorrect claims made by edited texts or documents.
In all future communications, try not to interact with your ex-spouse verbally. So that it can be documented, keep it to text-based messaging.
4. Separate Your Own Emotions
A narcissist’s conduct is more about them and hardly about you. They can be kind to you one minute and abusive the next, if it serves them. Separate yourself from the dynamic.
Take your emotions out of it. Approach the divorce like you’re putting together a legal agreement for moving forward. Don’t allow the other person to have an impact, positive or negative, on emotions.
5. Speak Rationally Through Your Lawyer
A narcissist doesn’t want to hear rational thoughts. They’re going to want to bait you into an emotional discussion that frames you negatively.
Don’t take the bait. Don’t argue. Instead, employ your lawyer to speak on your behalf. Speak calmly and rationally to them, and an experienced divorce lawyer will do the rest. This will keep the back-and-forth to a minimum.
6. Know What You’re Willing to Give Up
Have a plan. For a narcissist, it’s win or lose, all or none. They will want to hurt you by taking everything or as close to everything as they can. In a divorce, you’ve got to have a plan. Know what you’re willing to part with. Demand dividing everything up equally at the start.
This way, giving up something you don’t actually want won’t feel like a total loss for you, and will make a narcissist feel like they’ve won and denied you something you wanted.
7. Don’t Expect the Closure You Want
A lot of people like to have some sort of closure in a divorce. Don’t expect it with a narcissist. Throughout the divorce process, they may outright lie, smear you, recruit others to emotionally abuse you, want to hurt you emotionally, and accuse you of doing all sorts of horrific things.
Unfortunately, with people like this, closure is not on their mind. They just want to hurt the other person. This isn’t to say you definitely won’t get any closure but don’t expect it.
8. Talk to Others
A narcissist very well may attempt to turn people against you, from your children to friends and even family. Surround yourself with close family and friends. A typical divorce is a time of need, further complicated when a narcissist is involved. You’ll be thankful to have others there with you.
Alternatively, connecting with a therapist or counselor can help you get your thoughts and emotions out, and provide some peace of mind in a difficult time.
9. Be Ready to Prove Yourself
If there are children involved, you have to prove that you are the person better equipped to successfully care for them. A narcissist will try to make you appear unbalanced, incompetent, and/or a threat to your children.
Don’t give into it. Don’t respond directly, unless asked, and certainly don’t respond emotionally.
10. Co-Parenting With A Narcissist
If there are kids involved, chances are a co-parenting agreement will be a part of the divorce. Unfortunately, the behaviour of a narcissist makes it very difficult to co-parent.
For this reason, come up with a plan. Communicate it in writing. Always communicate in writing, email or text. Instead of co-parenting, look up ‘parallel parenting’ which is a creation of two separate family units.