It is important to be mindful that a person with NPD has a true disorder. They have developed this self-absorbed, dominating, controlling, and non-empathetic personality as a response to something traumatic in their childhood.
It is their only way they know how to deal with the world, which has a negative effect on their interpersonal relationship. The worst part, though, is that you cannot change that.
The only way you make up your mind for divorcing a narcissist partner is when you realize that changing is impossible.
However, divorcing a narcissist encompasses certain challenges that you must prepare yourself for. So let’s look at some ways you can heal yourself and your family and how to deal with a narcissist now that you are ready to say good-bye to the marriage.
Get ready for a paradigm shift
Your partner may have reeled you into the relationship using the typical lures of a narcissist: they were charming, they showered you with compliments, and made you feel loved as no one had ever done before.
But as time went on, you noticed that this normal, loving behavior gave way to a person who was controlling, did not listen nor value your opinions, made everything about themself, and frequently lied.
When you tried to address these relationship issues, they would promise you things would change. They never did. If you are wondering how to get through to a narcissist, then don’t bother looking for answers, because you won’t find them.
Now that you have come to realize that you cannot make them change, you need to prepare yourself for a shift in your dynamic.
Your narcissist soon-to-be-ex will not take easily to you showing strength. They will not accept that you have, in essence, turned your back on them.
Divorcing a narcissistic partner calls for some careful consideration of relevant factors. Let’s have a look at them:
How to divorce a narcissist partner?
You are going to need to gather a good team in order to stay strong and manage your divorce process. Trying to divorce a narcissist won’t be easy. When you are divorcing a narcissist partner, here are a few things that you will need to consider-
Firstly, enlist an expert attorney, one who is used to dealing with exes such as yours. They will know what to watch out for and how to avoid the traps your ex will set.
Secondly, work with a mental health professional who can provide you with a safe space in which to express your frustrations and anger when divorcing a narcissist.
You need to learn how to manage their reactions. It is best not to engage in long discussions with a narcissist, as they do not have the ability to participate in a normal, solution-oriented exchange. They always have to be right.
Keep your conversations to a minimum with your ex. “Please respect the custody agreement and pick up/drop off the children at the time we have agreed upon,” is more effective than saying
“I can’t believe you’ve done this again! It is totally unfair that you disrespect the time you are supposed to bring the kids back home. I’ve been waiting for two hours for them!”
This type of reaction will only give the narcissist pleasure, as one of their goals is to make sure you are miserable.
Don’t give them the satisfaction. The best way to divorce a narcissist is to keep in mind what they want from you and act in a manner that won’t give them any gratification.
A good way to deal with a narcissist is to ignore them. But if you have children in common, that will be impossible. So keep your verbal interactions with them short, emotion-free, and direct.
Be prepared for a long, drawn-out divorce
If you are wondering what to expect when divorcing a narcissist, then brace yourself.
Divorcing a narcissist is unlike divorcing someone that isn’t struggling from a mental health condition, in that the narcissist will never understand their part in the unhappiness equation.
Since narcissists lack introspection and self-awareness, they cannot see how they could be responsible for the failure of a marriage.
To punish you, they may use their lawyer to slow down the divorce proceedings as much as possible.
Each time you sense you might be reaching an agreement on an important point, your ex may do something to back up, cease the forward movement, and grind things to a halt.
This is not because they want to stay married to you (they really don’t feel love for anyone other than themselves), but because their instinct is to seek vengeance when anyone defies theirs. Unfortunately, that person is you.
When divorcing a narcissist, it is important to remain patient and make sure you keep moving forward towards your goal.
Keep your eye on the goal
Your divorce will come through eventually, and you will be free of this negative force.
But be prepared that your divorce will not be as smooth and quick as a divorce between people who are not affected by one of the partner’s NPD. But it will be worth it.
Staying in a marriage with a narcissist is not only exhausting and debilitating for you, but harmful for children who are witness to this unbalanced and unhappy interaction between parents.
Divorcing a narcissist with children will, however, pose a few other challenges.
Dealing with a narcissist over child custody if they have more financial resources than you do, could work in favor of them and may also make you lose their custody.
In the aftermath of divorcing a narcissist man or woman, there may be a couple of hiccups.
If you are in a relationship with one, you must have an idea about how a narcissist reacts to divorce. Narcissists have gigantic egos, and their partners trying to get rid of them don’t really go down well with them.
If you think your partner is capable of violence or abuse, make sure to gather information about getting a restraining order in advance.
When you find yourself wondering if all this strife is worth it, visualize the happy, calm household you will have with your children. You are doing this for yourself, and as importantly, for them.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.