Divorcing a narcissist can be just as psychologically draining as living with one. The silver lining is that once the divorce is over, you no longer have to put up with their toxic nature. But trying to divorce a narcissist peacefully is a minefield as anything you say or do may trigger them.
Why Divorcing a Narcissist Is So Hard?
Divorcing a malignant narcissist is a huge blow to their overinflated ego. In their twisted mind, once you tied the knot, you belong to them to the bitter end. It doesn’t matter that they are abusive, manipulative, controlling, unfaithful. They are the star of the show, and you’re their audience. So, don’t you dare turn your back to their greatness or have something to say.
Narcissists don’t want you to divorce from them. They are too invested into a toxic relationship they’ve worked hard to build just like a spider weaves its web of lies and deceit. Any signs of independence or free thinking from their victims need to be stifled. So, expect all hell to break loose once you take the brave step of divorcing one.
Watch out for narcissists’ tactics. They’ll try to wear you down in a bid to make you give up. They have many arrows in their quiver, such as:
· Refusing to negotiate with you on critical divorce issues to avoid an ugly fight in court (There are minimal chances for you to get along in divorce mediation.)
· Hiding assets or blatantly refusing to offer financial information (This can be a hard blow especially if you used to be financially dependent on them)
· Defy a judge’s order
· Undermining their own case by refusing to listen to their own divorce attorney (Here, never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.)
· Manipulating your children against you.
· Turning people into flying monkeys to break you down (They may try to draw the mediator, family counselor, judge, or even your attorney to their side by playing the victim card. Stay alert and make sure that you have people around you that fully know the ins and outs of divorcing a narcissist.)
How to ‘Peacefully’ Divorce a Narcissist?
Don’t expect a narcissist to peacefully divorce on their own initiative. You need to give them a helping hand and a positive outcome is never guaranteed. Here are some simple tactics to keep yourself and your children safe:
· Be financially independent. This one may be easier said than done especially if you’ve been financially dependent on the narcissist for many years. Get your family’s and friends’ help. Ensure that you have enough cash on hand for a lengthy battle.
· Turn the other cheek. If they insult you, emotionally abuse you, or lie about you, don’t stoop to their level. You know the saying, “Never wallow with a pig in the mud because you get dirty and the pig likes it.” Keep your eyes on the road toward the final goal and never give them more ammunition to work with. This way you will also prevent narcissistic rage from setting in and you’ll keep your ex mostly peaceful.
· Constantly remind yourself why you want a divorce. The narcissist may try to sway your decision by either showing you that they are willing to change, by asking you to think about the children, or by blatantly gaslighting you and telling you that you are the one crazy or that you are simply wrong or entitled (Projection is their cup of tea.)
· Prepare in advance. Get copies of all financial documents and information BEFORE filing for divorce. Once the narcissist knows you plan to separate from them, they may try to hide the paperwork to prevent you from getting your fair share of matrimonial assets. You’ll need access to their personal property tax returns, income tax returns, evidence of extra income, business financial statements, loan applications, bank statements, insurance info, debts, personal property, and more. Consult with a lawyer for a full list of the documents you may need in court and store the paperwork to a trusted family member or friend.
· Get a professional divorce team to have your back. When divorcing a narcissist, to keep things civil, you’ll need a lawyer or two. An experienced lawyer knows what a divorce from a narcissist entails, can give you all the information for a successful battle in court, stands by your side, and can act as a buffer between you and your spouse which is an absolute must if your ex is abusive or emotionally manipulative. For instance, Farzad&Ochoa Family Law Attorneys operating in California have handled dozens of divorce cases involving narcissists, so they know first hand what they trigger buttons are and how to keep things civil for you and your children during the entire divorce proceedings. When dealing with a narcissist, you’ll need only professionals on your side.
To Wrap It Up
Divorcing from a narcissist can be done ‘mostly peacefully’ if you know how to play your cards right, have the right people to watch your back, and don’t give the narcissist ammunition to use against you. Malignant narcissism is a mental health disorder sometimes paired with a good dose of evilness. So, don’t try to outsmart the devil on your own. You will likely lose.