The divorce process is never easy — it can be a painful and stressful time. Divorce can bring out the worst in even the best people.
While divorce is not an easy process, divorcing a narcissist is even worse. Their strong personalities can get in the way and make your divorce much more difficult.
If you’re considering divorcing your narcissistic spouse, a qualified divorce lawyer can help ease you into the process and provide exceptional legal representation.
Are You Married to a Narcissist?
You’ve probably heard the word “narcissist” over and over again, but what is a narcissist? Are you married to one?
First and foremost, the label “narcissist” is not a one-size-fits-all. Narcissism comes in many shapes and sizes.
The term narcissist is not just a mean name to call someone — it’s actually a personality disorder, formally called narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It is often linked to other types of personality disorders, including bipolar and borderline personality disorder.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides nine criteria used to diagnose narcissism. Usually, if a person meets at least five, they are clinically a narcissist. Among the nine, the manual lists a grandiose sense of importance, a sense of entitlement, and a demonstration of arrogant behavior.
When you’re married to a narcissist, you’re in a unique position. If your spouse is a narcissist, they probably:
- Lack empathy
- Pick on you
- Gaslight you
- Believe they’re always right
- Never apologize
Narcissists have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships for a reason.
Tips for Divorcing a Narcissist
If you’re considering divorcing your narcissistic spouse, the thought alone can make you feel scared, nervous, and unsure. Even if the process intimidates you, following these tips can help you prepare and put you in a favorable position.
Know What to Expect
First and foremost, you should try to go into your divorce with an idea of what you can expect. You know your spouse best, so you know their personality. Because narcissism varies, their reactions and attitude during the divorce process will be unique to them.
Usually, a divorce involving a narcissist is not an amicable one. Because narcissists always want their way and tend to lash out, there is a possibility it could get contentious.
As long as you know what to expect from your spouse, you can go into the divorce better prepared for what they might do.
Set Boundaries from the Beginning
When divorcing a narcissist, it’s essential to set boundaries for yourself.
While boundaries are usually one of the foundations of a healthy relationship, they’re more challenging to maintain when dealing with a narcissist. However, you should try to make your boundaries clear from the beginning to avoid being taken advantage of or putting up with things you shouldn’t.
Setting clear boundaries can help your spouse understand what you will and won’t put up with. Most importantly, it can also start setting the tone for your post-divorce relationship, which is especially critical if you have children and must co-parent.
Know How to Choose Your Battles
Unfortunately, you can expect many battles during your divorce from a narcissist. Narcissists love to argue, particularly when the situation isn’t to their advantage.
If you engage in every single battle, you’ll burn out mentally and emotionally. Your spouse will wear you down, which is what they want.
Choosing your battles goes hand in hand with setting boundaries. If you need to walk away from a battle — do it.
Hire a Highly Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Having an experienced divorce attorney on your side is a critical necessity.
A divorce lawyer with extensive experience has seen it all. They know how to deal with different personalities and how to tailor their approach depending on who they’re dealing with.
Because divorce from a narcissist requires plenty of patience and a strong backbone, a divorce lawyer can fiercely represent you from beginning to end, protecting your rights and fighting for your best interests.
Take Care of Yourself Throughout the Process
Divorce is usually difficult in any case. Divorce from a narcissistic spouse is even tougher.
The divorce process can take a toll on your overall well-being, so it’s vital you actively try to take care of yourself throughout the process.
Speak to a therapist regularly, engage in activities that make you happy, and spend time with supportive friends and family. Protect your health and your peace.
Taking care of yourself is so important to us at Johnson Turner Legal, that our team includes Matthew Tuttle, an experienced Life Coach who helps our clients become the person they want to be after the divorce process.
Before Beginning the Divorce Process, Speak to a Skilled Divorce Lawyer
At Johnson/Turner Legal, we’ve seen and heard it all. We use our knowledge, skills, and experience to aggressively represent you throughout your divorce process, never backing down from any fight.
We understand that every situation and client is unique, and we provide the care and compassion you need during a challenging time. If you’re considering divorce, contact our office today to schedule a quick guidance call or call us directly at (320) 299-4243.