What is a Narcissist?
A personality disorder characterised by a pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration a diminished ability or unwillingness to empathise with others’ feelings, and interpersonally exploitative behaviour. (Source: Wikipedia)
Divorcing a Partner with Narcissistic Traits
Divorcing a partner with narcissistic traits can be a difficult and emotionally taxing process. Narcissists are known to prioritise their own needs above all else and lack empathy, which can make resolving conflicts and protecting your interests during a divorce challenging.
It’s crucial to be prepared and to set clear boundaries in order to navigate the process successfully. Recognising the nature of narcissistic personalities, and seeking guidance from professionals such as a therapist, divorce coach, lawyer can help you understand the battle ahead and create a plan to protect yourself and your children.
Some common characteristics of a Narcissist include
It’s important to note that not everyone with some of these traits is a narcissist. When going through a divorce with a narcissist, they tend to disregard your needs and the history of your relationship. While most people take into account the positive aspects of a shared past in divorce, narcissists have a tendency to erase it and act as though it never existed. This can make the process of divorce difficult and unbalanced. Narcissists may also engage in tactics such as undermining your relationships, manipulating your children, and stealing your assets, all while presenting themselves as the innocent party to others. It’s important to be aware of these tactics and to have a support system in place to counter them.
How to Protect Yourself When Divorcing a Narcissit
Dealing with a narcissist during a divorce can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience. Narcissists often struggle to accept the end of their control and influence in your life. They may attempt to maintain control over aspects of your relationship, such as child support, visitation, and co-parenting. They may not prioritise the needs of your children.
To protect yourself during a divorce with a narcissist, it’s important to be aware of the potential for emotional, financial, and even domestic abuse. Showing any signs of sympathy, fear, weakness or confusion may be exploited by a narcissist and prolong their abusive behaviour.
To safeguard yourself, it’s important to remain strong, not to engage with the narcissist’s manipulation, educate yourself about Narcissistic personality disorder and their tactics, have support in place such as a Divorce Coach who can coach and provide guidance on how to deal with their behaviour and help you navigate the process.
4 Tactics for Dealing with a Narcissist during Divorce
1. Evaluate your role in the ongoing conflict. Examine your emotional well-being and take responsibility for your actions. Narcissists are skilled at causing confusion and making you question yourself. Recognise that the narcissist’s behaviour is not about you, but about their own need to manipulate. Respond in a measured and calm manner and avoid giving in to their attempts to provoke a negative reaction.
2. Accept the reality of the situation. Understand that the narcissist’s world is based on fantasy and manipulation. Recognise that their behaviour is not about you, but about their own insecurities and need for control. Appreciate your own worth and refuse to be belittled or dismissed by their actions.
3. Establish firm boundaries. Narcissists lack an understanding of boundaries and respect for the needs of others. Be aware that they will not change and take control of what behaviours you will and will not tolerate. Set boundaries in a calm and assertive manner and refuse to engage in communication that is disrespectful or manipulative.
4. Build a supportive network. Surround yourself with people who understand the unique challenges of dealing with a narcissist during a divorce. Seek support networks that can provide guidance and help you navigate the process. Having a support system in place will greatly improve your chances of successfully navigating a divorce from a narcissist.