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Special Problems With Divorcing a Narcissist

While any divorce case can pose difficulties, conflict can rise to a whole new level when one of the spouses is a narcissist — a person with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Narcissists often relish the fight, seeing divorce as an opportunity to come out on top. What’s more, they can become bitter and resentful when they don’t get all that they want. If you are divorcing someone with narcissistic personality disorder, you need to prepare yourself for a potentially rocky road ahead.

Narcissists tend to be very good manipulators. They think they are special and have no issues with exploiting other people. These and many other narcissistic traits manifest themselves in various ways during a divorce. Your narcissistic spouse is likely to exhibit certain disruptive behaviors such as:

  • Refusing to negotiate or settle because they would rather fight it out in court
  • Refusing to provide full financial disclosures
  • Hiding information from others, including yourself and the attorneys involved
  • Playing the victim and placing blame on you for the failed marriage
  • Trying to influence your children by lying to them or otherwise manipulating them
  • Driving up your expenses by failing to respond to discovery or by otherwise causing delays

Working with an experienced New York divorce lawyer, you can develop some strategies, both legal and personal, to help deal with the situation. These may include:

  • Timing your divorce filing — Your narcissistic spouse will probably be furious when you file for divorce and may try to kick you out of your home, take away your kids and/or cut off your finances. Before filing, discuss everything with your lawyer and create a plan for where you might move and how you can protect your financial independence. File for divorce only when you have everything ready.
  • Find support — It can be highly beneficial to consult with a therapist when going through a divorce. Also, if you have friends and family members you really trust, don’t be too afraid to talk to them. Consider a children’s therapist for your kids as well.
  • Create space — You’ll want to get away from your narcissistic spouse, both physically and emotionally, right after filing for divorce. This maximizes your safety and minimizes the opportunities for them to manipulate you.
  • Keep records of everything — Narcissists often lie to make themselves look better. They may also resort to destroying financial documents and other records. Make copies of important documents and records and make notes of every conversation with your spouse. Keep all emails and texts. When you have good documentation, it’s harder for the narcissist to get away with deception.
  • Assume you’re headed for trial and find the right lawyer — Because narcissists like conflict, you may expect them to fight about every aspect of the divorce. You need a lawyer who has significant trial experience, one who will not back down when facing a difficult opponent.

At my firm, Meth Law Offices, PC, I have decades of experience handling high-conflict New York divorces. I can help you end your marriage to a narcissistic spouse and move forward in life. For a free consultation, please call my Chester office at 845-610-6595 or contact me online today.