You might have been willing to overlook your spouse’s narcissism during the early years of your relationship. Likely, you thought that you could help them become less self-absorbed. Or, you might have believed their drawbacks were a small price to pay for their charm. Yet, staying married to a narcissist is challenging, and you may have finally decided that you have had enough. Divorcing a narcissist, though, can be equally difficult. As you prepare for yours, you will want to keep the following tips in mind.
Plan for your spouse’s reaction
Narcissists feel threatened when they lose sources to validate them. By telling your spouse you want a divorce, they will likely hit the roof. To prepare for this possibility, you will want to set a plan in place to protect yourself and cut off contact with them immediately as needed. If you can afford a new home or apartment, you may want to have one ready. If you and your spouse have children, you may want a friend or relative help you with custody exchanges. And if your spouse’s narcissism is not only toxic, but dangerous, you may need to file a protective order against them.
Gather financial documents
To improve your odds of receiving a fair divorce settlement, you must be sure to have copies of important financial documents. Given your spouse’s narcissism, they may try to get out of any financial obligation they have to you. By having thorough records of your finances, you will have an easier time combatting their efforts.
You may have difficulty collecting the financial documents you need, especially if your spouse controls your household’s money. In this case, you will want to start the discovery process – where you and your spouse exchange financial and personal information – as soon as possible. By doing so, your spouse will have less time to come up with a plan to deny you your share of marital property.
Stay calm during divorce proceedings
Maintaining your composure while dealing with your spouse’s narcissism may seem like an impossible feat, especially during divorce proceedings. They may try all sorts of tactics to “win” your divorce and make your life difficult. No matter their efforts, you will want to avoid responding defensively. While you may worry that failing to play your spouse’s game will cause them to run roughshod over you during hearings, staying calm will ultimately give you the upper hand.
When divorcing your narcissistic spouse, you will want an experienced family law attorney by your side. With their help, you will likely have an easier time – and feel more confident – standing up to your spouse’s behavior, accusations and demands. Your attorney can also handle your communication with your spouse, which can protect you if you feel they could steamroll you or put your safety at risk.
Divorcing a narcissist can be a draining experience. Yet, with a plan in place and a team to help you out, you will have ways to achieve the relief you deserve.