A narcissist is someone who is always putting themselves first in a marriage and as a parent. That person puts their own interests as the highest priority and they are difficult as it is, but it can be incredibly complicated and stressful during the time of a breakup and divorce. Narcissists are often very self-confident and aren’t sensitive.
First, here is when you MUST divorce a narcissist:
✔ You are in danger because you are being physically or sexually abused / coerced. Physical abuse is a likely cause for divorce, although it can be highly sensitive and difficult.
✔ They abuse the kids; in this case, keeping yourself or your children in their presence is dangerous and unsafe.
✔ They intimidate you and the kids. You should feel safe and protected in a marriage, as should your children in the home.
✔ You are depressed in this marriage and have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Marriage should lift you up, not break you down.
✔ You feel like they push you to abuse drugs and alcohol, and you oblige, to deal with their behavior.
Once you file for divorce, here are some pointers on how to deal with them.
1. In negotiating anything with a narcissist – sell your “ask” in a form that THEY will see as most benefiting THEM (and sadly, not the kids). They have to believe that the option you are offering will benefit them, make them look better than you, etc. It’s all in the framing of the situation.
2. Allow them opportunities to talk about themselves and praise them to get what you want (yes, it’s a bit manipulative, but you wanted practical advice, and they likely would/already have done the same).
3. Prepare a very detailed plan of what you need for parenting, custody and visitation. Keep it all written down. Stick to your plan, and do not let them bully you in the process.
4. Have your therapist and friends around you for support during the time of divorce. They will remind you and your kids deserve to be free of his/her bad influence and to have a piece of mind. Your spouse is no longer protecting or supporting you, find someone, or multiple/many people who will.
5. Mediation is worth it. Do try mediation. At least to give it a shot is worth it – with certain mediators, even a divorce with narcissists can be settled amicably as long as they feel their own selfish reasons are satisfied, so it’s possible to settle in a mediation. Mediation is a great tool and saves money and time to avoid litigation.
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