Divorce is a challenging and emotionally draining experience for anyone, especially when dealing with a narcissistic partner. In this article, we aim to provide practical guidance on navigating the games narcissists play during divorce, helping you achieve your desired outcomes.
Dating a narcissist comes with many issues like untrustworthiness, lack of care, emotional blackmail, selfishness, and ego. You might feel relieved when you finally summon the courage to get a divorce. Finally! You can have the freedom and peace of mind you’ve been denied all this while.
Unfortunately, you might not be off the hook with a narcissist, even with a divorce. There are some mind games narcissists play when they know they won’t have access to you again. These narcissists’ games are vindictive and pressuring.
You may already be aware of the challenges you face, but there is no cause for alarm. You must buckle and brave up rather than cower and hide under the shell.
In this article, we will reveal different games narcissists play during divorce and how you can use them to your advantage.
Understanding the narcissist’s mindset during divorce
When it comes to narcissists’ games, you might ask yourself, “Why do narcissists play games?” To answer this question accurately, it’s important to understand their mindset during this process.
When someone with narcissistic traits goes through a divorce, they often have a mindset focused on themselves and their needs. Some characteristics of a narcissist include grandiosity, the need to dominate, lack of empathy, sense of entitlement, amongst others.
A narcissist’s main goal might be to “win” the divorce and make the other person look bad rather than trying to find fair solutions or compromise. It’s like they have a big spotlight shining only on themselves, and they may try to control or manipulate the situation too.
Sadly, as the other partner, it’s often challenging to have a healthy and cooperative divorce with someone with a narcissistic mindset because their primary concern is often their interests and not the well-being of others involved. Understanding this point can help you devise a new plan that favors you.
All you look forward to is an amicable separation, healthy co-parenting, and getting along well with your narcissist ex. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way with a narcissist. For them, it’s all about winning, and they won’t stop until they satisfy themselves.
To prepare for such behavior, here are some games narcissists play during divorce:
Narcissists often use gaslighting by manipulating facts, distorting events or stories, and denying their behavior. Also, they may confuse the other person, doubt their perceptions, and question their sanity.
Learn more about gaslighting in this informative video:
2. Blame shifting
One of the popular narcissists’ games is not accepting their faults. Narcissists deflect blame onto the other person rather than taking responsibility for their actions. They may sometimes exaggerate or fabricate the other person’s shortcomings and wrongdoings to avoid accountability.
You are already familiar with their games if you have lived with a narcissist for years. Narcissists are adept at portraying themselves as the victims, even when they have been the ones causing the other person harm.
Also, they may seek sympathy and support from others, trying to paint themselves as innocent or unfairly treated. In this case, you might wonder what to do when the narcissist plays the victim. It’s simple – be assertive and stand firm by your decision to avoid being the wrong one.
A narcissistic triangulation game is a tactic narcissists use to change an event in their favor. It involves the narcissist introducing a third party into the dynamic to create division and manipulate the situation.
For example, they may use a new romantic partner, family member, or friend to disrupt the divorce process or gain an advantage.
One of the games narcissists play during divorce is hoovering. This means an attempt to draw the other person back into the relationship or maintain control. They may use love affirmations, love bombing, false promises of change, or manipulation to reignite the connection.
6. Manipulative bargaining
One of the most common mind games narcissists play is manipulation. Narcissists use manipulative tactics during negotiations to gain an advantage. They may threaten, use emotional blackmail, or exploit vulnerabilities to achieve their desired outcome regarding the divorce settlement, finances, or custody arrangements.
7. Financial abuse
Narcissists may use economic abuse to their advantage if they are not financially stable. They do this by hiding assets, depleting joint accounts, or using money to exert control and gain power over the other person. Imagine this scenario: Sarah, a divorcing spouse, discovers that her narcissistic partner has been secretly siphoning money from their joint bank account throughout their marriage. Not only has he been depleting their shared funds, but he has also been hiding assets and investments that Sarah was unaware of.
As a result, Sarah finds herself in a financially vulnerable position, struggling to support herself and secure her future post-divorce. This financial abuse leaves her feeling trapped and dependent while her narcissistic partner maintains control and power over their financial situation.
Such scenarios are common when you’re dealing with a narcissistic partner during a divorce.
This game involves the narcissist attempting to undermine the relationship between you and your children. They can lie, make false accusations, manipulate the children’s perception, or engage in behaviors that may lead to parental alienation or make the children choose their side.
9. Legal bullying
Narcissists often engage in excessive litigation for control and intimidation. They may use the legal system to harass you, prolong divorce, and drain your emotional and financial resources. This is an attempt to make you tired and lose the strength to fight for your freedom.
10. Smear campaigns
Narcissists may engage in smear campaigns by spreading false information, rumors, or defamatory statements about you to friends and family. Their goal is to damage your reputation and credibility, thus gaining an advantage during the divorce proceedings.
11. Power and control
Nothing rubs a narcissist’s ego more than the ability to have power over others and control them. They often do this by making unreasonable demands, refusing to cooperate, or using threats and intimidation to get what they want.
Despite not loving you, they will try to frustrate your effort to leave through different means.
12. Boundary violation
One of the ways to get ahead of a narcissist is to establish clear boundaries. However, this isn’t always a walk in the park. Narcissists disregard limits set by the other person, invading personal space, accessing private information, or attempting to control their actions and decisions.
How do the narcissists’ games impact the other spouse?
The games played by narcissists during divorce can profoundly impact the other spouse. These manipulative tactics are designed to assert control, undermine the other person’s sense of self, and gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. Here are some ways in which the narcissists’ games can impact the other spouse:
1. Emotional distress
The constant manipulation, gaslighting, blame-shifting, and emotional manipulation employed in the games narcissists play during divorce can cause significant emotional pain. The other spouse may feel confused, invalidated, and emotionally drained as they try to make sense of the distorted reality created by the narcissist.
2. Self-doubt and guilt
Narcissists excel at making the other spouse doubt their perceptions and reality. For instance, gaslighting can lead to self-doubt, making the other spouse question their judgment and feel guilty about things they may not be responsible for. Also, narcissists’ blame-shifting can make you internalize unwarranted guilt.
3. Financial strain
Financial manipulation is one of the familiar mind games narcissists play during a divorce. They may hide assets, destroy joint accounts, or refuse to meet financial obligations. Also, they can leave the other spouse financially vulnerable, struggling to support themselves and potentially affecting their ability to secure their future.
4. Legal battles and stress
Another impact of narcissists’ games is the stress from legal actions. Narcissists often engage in excessive litigation, using the legal system as a tool for control and harassment. This can result in long and costly legal battles, causing immense stress and anxiety for the other spouse.
Dealing with the narcissist’s manipulative tactics during court proceedings can be emotionally and mentally draining.
Narcissists may launch smear campaigns, spreading false information and defamatory statements about the other spouse. Actions like these can damage their personal and professional reputation, leading to isolation, loss of support systems, and potentially affecting future relationships and career opportunities.
6. Delayed healing and closure
The narcissist’s games can prolong divorce, making it difficult for the other spouse to heal and move forward. The constant manipulation and power plays can hinder the closure process, extending the divorce’s emotional impact. As such, it’s crucial to see a therapist or marriage counselor.
Commonly asked questions
Dealing with a narcissistic partner during divorce can be challenging. Following are some suggestions and answers to the questions you may have during this process.
What may happen when I divorce my narcissistic spouse?
Divorcing a narcissistic spouse can result in a high-conflict process, emotional rollercoaster, financial complications, co-parenting challenges, and potential social and reputation impact.
How do you outsmart a narcissist in a divorce?
Outsmarting the games narcissists play during divorce involves strategic and careful actions:
Gather evidence of their behavior to support your case.
Work closely with a skilled attorney with experience dealing with high-conflict personalities, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.
Establish firm boundaries, prioritize self-care, and seek support from trusted individuals.
How does a narcissist react when you divorce them?
When faced with divorce, a narcissist may react with intense anger, hostility, and attempts to regain control. Also, they may employ manipulation tactics or launch smear campaigns to protect their ego and undermine the other spouse.
Managing divorce and a narcissist together!
Navigating divorce and coping with the games narcissists play during divorce can be arduous and emotionally challenging. Narcissists often employ manipulative games such as gaslighting, blame-shifting, and financial manipulation to assert control and undermine the other spouse.
If you’re currently navigating a divorce with a narcissistic partner, remember that you don’t have to face it alone. Reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals who can provide support and guidance during this challenging time.
Regardless of your feeling, seeking professional support and prioritizing self-care is crucial. Remember, with proper guidance, resilience, and a strong support network, it is possible to get ahead of the mind games narcissists play during divorce and move towards a healthier and brighter future.
Kaida Hollister is a passionate relationship writer, renowned for her ability to shed light on the intricacies of love and human connection. With a deep understanding of psychology and personal growth, she has become known for her Read more insightful and engaging writing on these subjects. When she’s not busy crafting thought-provoking articles, Kaida can often be found pursuing her love of dance. She is also an avid foodie and enjoys exploring new flavors and cuisines. With a curious and open-minded approach to life, Kaida is committed to helping readers deepen their understanding of themselves and their relationships.
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