What Is It Like to Divorce a Narcissist?
If your estranged spouse has an inflated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy, they might be part of the 1% of the population who has a narcissistic personality disorder. This condition makes it very hard to interact with others, so it can lead to all sorts of difficulties during a divorce.
Why Do Narcissists Often React Poorly to Divorce?
Narcissism is a type of personality disorder where a person feels they are superior to literally everyone else. They often are extremely entitled, have an obsessive need for admiration, disregard others’ feelings, and handle criticism very poorly. Even if a person does not have severe enough levels of narcissism to be diagnosed, they may still have significant narcissistic traits.
If you are married to a narcissistic person, your divorce can be a time of intense struggle. Many narcissists will have meltdowns at the idea of a spouse who no longer wishes to be with them. They often assume that every part of the divorce is supposed to go their way and that the other person, the lawyers, and the courts ought to always defer to their opinion. Since divorce challenges a narcissist’s worldview that they are the most desirable and important person in the world, it almost always leads to conflict.
Ways That Narcissism Can Impact the Divorce Process
What happens when you divorce a narcissist? The typical narcissist reacts extremely poorly to a spouse who requests a divorce. Since they cannot handle any criticism or any suggestion that they aren’t the most important person in the world, they often lash out. Some narcissists will become physically violent, stalk their partner, or engage in emotional abuse.
They may try to use the divorce process as a way of retaining control or even attempt to use the divorce court as a way of harming their partner. For example, a narcissist might demand custody out of spite even though they do not want to raise the children.
Even if your narcissistic spouse was the one who initiated the divorce and has no desire to be with you, it can be challenging. Because this condition causes so much entitlement, they tend to demand unreasonable things like keeping all communal assets. The typical narcissist will be willing to drag things out in court unless you agree with every single one of their demands.
How to Make Divorcing a Narcissist Easier
If your spouse has narcissistic traits, it’s essential to find a New Jersey family law attorney who has experience handling these types of divorces. Otherwise, your spouse may be able to manipulate the court and use the divorce process to harm you. You need to expect that your narcissistic spouse may turn every step of the divorce into a fight, so it’s important to be prepared and have a legal team who can support you.
Some tips for how to divorce a person with narcissism include:
- Document everything so that your spouse cannot try to gaslight you or lie about interactions.
- Refuse to communicate with them directly and let your divorce lawyer handle all discussion for you.
- Try to get documents and information from family members instead of asking the narcissist for help.
- Do not engage when your spouse tries to start fights or antagonize you.
- Advise your lawyer and the courts of your spouse’s narcissistic traits so that they can be aware of potential manipulation.
- Identify your priorities in the divorce, and don’t let petty disagreements distract you from your main goals.
At Morgenstern & Rochester, our team’s priority is to make our clients’ lives easier. We fully understand how difficult it can be to deal with a narcissist, but fortunately, our New Jersey family law attorneys have honed techniques that make it easier to manage. Cherry Hill residents can count on us to help them get through this challenging time. To learn more about our divorce services, call 856-6200 or fill out our online contact form.