So, you’ve made up your mind. You’re finally divorcing your narcissistic spouse. But how can you get out of this disastrous mess alive when you know how manipulative your partner is?
If you think it’s time to divorce your narcissistic partner, then maybe it’s the right thing to do. You weren’t born in this world to be a martyr. Don’t sacrifice yourself for someone that’s so full of himself/herself.
However, do expect that divorcing a narcissist is no walk in the park. It won’t start and finish without a fight, so you’d better prepare yourself for what’s waiting on your path.
Here are 5 practical tips you need to know when divorcing a narcissist.
Be Ahead of The Game.
The only person that a narcissist cares about is himself/herself. You should have realized that in the first few months of you being together.
Unfortunately, you went on with your relationship, thinking that the way he/she treated you was still within the normal spectrum – only to find out that you were wrong.
So right now, you are doomed with the puzzle. How can you divorce your spouse without creating huge chaos in your lives?
Well, of course, divorce can always be messy. But not that messy if your partner isn’t a narcissist.
Hence, our first tip for you is to make sure that you are ahead of the game. Now, how do you do it?
Prepare. Prepare your emotional self, prepare the kids if you have them, prepare the paperwork and prepare your pocket. But you need to do all these things before you tell your spouse that you want a divorce.
By now, you already know that your narcissistic husband or wife is very controlling and manipulative. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
He or she surely won’t take it lightly once you say that it’s over between the two of you. As a narcissist, he/she would undoubtedly make things very difficult for you.
He/she might cut your access to everything that would be important in your case: your investments, bank accounts, and other assets. Don’t let him/her beat you on this.
In this battle, it is important that you don’t get sucked in. So, be ahead of the game and have everything prepared before you drop the “D” word.
Get The Best Attorney.
In our first tip, we mentioned that you need to prepare your pockets if you are divorcing a narcissist. Why? Simply because the best divorce attorneys ain’t cheap.
In the United States, it is estimated that 95 percent of divorces are done the uncontested way. This means that an agreement is made between the couples without the involvement of the court.
Some of them even didn’t employ the service of divorce attorneys. Can we say they are lucky? Probably.
But in your case, it is quite impossible to go the uncontested divorce route. Do you expect your narcissistic spouse to let you go just like that? I don’t think so. That is why, if you are divorcing a narcissist, you need the best attorney on your side.
A divorce attorney who can be of big help to your case is someone who can communicate very well and one who has successfully won a similar divorce case.
You can’t gamble your cards on a regular lawyer who has little experience with this. Need I remind you that you are serving a divorce case against a narcissist?This is a person who can’t handle defeat and someone who always plays the victim and throws blame on you.
You need someone who can help you deal with your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s emotional ploy. You need a lawyer who can effectively see through your partner’s manipulations and tweak the drama to your gain. Not all attorneys can do this, so you must make the best choice.
Don’t Lose Hope, No Matter How Long The Process Takes.
Because your narcissistic spouse will never willingly set you free, you should expect him/her to delay your divorce settlement as much as he/she can. That means you might encounter a lot of motions and requests during the whole process, which is really annoying and infuriating.
What’s more nerve-racking are court days when your spouse may not show up, adding more days or weeks or months of agony. But you have to remain calm and collected throughout the whole thing unless you want the judge to see you as the spouse who’s got some serious attitude and personality issues.
At this point, you might think that everything’s so messed up and maybe all you can do is give up. But you have to scratch that thought. You didn’t come here to let the narcissist win.
If your soon-to-be ex-husband or ex-wife is obviously holding up the divorce process, talk to your lawyer about it. Discuss the possible ways you can counteract his delaying tactics.
Never lose hope, no matter how long the process takes. Remember that your spouse is a narcissist who wants to control you in every possible way he/she can.
Delaying your divorce settlement could be his/her way to manipulate you again. If your spouse sees your weakness, he/she can easily pressure you into a negotiation that you might regret for the rest of your life. That leads us to our fourth tip.
Be Strong and Do Not Settle or Negotiate.
The spouse you want to divorce is a great game player. He/she was able to charm you and convince you to marry him/her in the first place. Don’t let him/her win over you again.
I know it would be so hard to go through a divorce with a narcissist. You will have moments of doubt. And at some point, you’ll break down because all you want is a life free from your narcissistic husband or wife.
But because he or she is the narcissistic jerk that you failed to realize before your marriage, he/she will put you through hell before you can have your old life back. It’s a trap.
You will be stressed, depressed and pressured. You want to finish everything in the quickest way possible to end your sleepless nights and nightmares. You need peace and freedom but they seem impossible to embrace.
So when your ex-spouse presents a bargain, you are tempted to accept it. However, you know that it is not what you deserve. You didn’t come a long way to accept a lowball offer.
That’s why you shouldn’t take it. Do not settle out of pressure.
Your narcissistic spouse is strategically making things difficult for you to weaken you, to break you. Because that way, he feels superior and powerful over you. And for the last time, he gets what he wants from you again.
You lose and come home with less or nothing. But this is not what you signed up for when you filed that divorce. So be strong and never settle and negotiate. Don’t let the narcissist break you.
Talk to a Therapist.
The battle of divorce with a narcissist is a horror. Your ex can play the victim and malign you in front of the court and many people. It’s emotional torture, watching him/her cry and play weak while you keep your mouth shut.
During this phase, you need to contain yourself even if your heart is exploding in anger. Because in this story, you have to be the character who takes calculated steps. One wrong move and you become the plot’s villain.
Therefore, you need a therapist to help you get through the psychological toll from your divorce. It won’t be easy for you to deal with all the crazy things happening to you alone.
A good counselor or therapist can help you stay on track and be proactive rather than reactive. Your therapy can also prepare you for more complicated situations that can arise from your divorce.
Additionally, you need to learn effective coping mechanisms because what’s waiting for you ahead could be daunting. A professional therapist should be a big help in that department.
But if you are a bit tight on the budget and you can no longer afford to pay for a therapist, then your close friends and family might be able to help. Just always remember to have someone at your side during this difficult time to keep your sanity intact. The whole ‘divorcing a narcissist thing’ can be crazy as hell.
No couple comes to divorce without anxiety, pressure, or stress. However, if you are divorcing a narcissist, you should expect an increased level of not just stress, pressure and anxiety, but also drama, emotional torture, and sometimes violence.
On that account, it is safe to say that divorcing a narcissist is the most challenging kind of divorce. But it’s not impossible.
The process is not as smooth and fast as you want it to be. It’s exhausting and consuming. It’s a crazy journey.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. With a sufficient amount of patience and support from your family, friends, lawyer and therapist, you’ll get there with your sanity intact.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare