Divorcing a narcissist can mean months or even years of turmoil. The process can be shattering if you are not prepared.
Working with an aggressive divorce lawyer who will stand up to the narcissist’s tactics is critical, but there are other ways you can protect yourself. Below are some tips to get through a divorce with a narcissist.
Thorough preparation makes everything easier, including divorce. Knowing what to expect can help you keep your cool when the narcissist acts out.
Read books and online material about narcissism. Understanding a narcissist’s needs and compulsions can help you when they behave outrageously or hurtfully. You can also find resources like support groups or online communities.
You should get very familiar with the divorce proceedings in your jurisdiction. Speak frankly with your attorney about how the process works in your local court, including the frequency of status conferences and hearings. Proceedings where you must interact with the narcissist face-to-face can be triggering and spur abusive or unruly behavior.
A narcissist will use any means at their disposal to manipulate you and show that they are in control. If they control the money, they will use it to try to control you.
If possible, start putting money aside before you file for divorce to cover your needs while the divorce is pending. Even when the court orders a narcissist to pay support during the proceedings, the narcissist might resist the order or find excuses not to pay on time. It can be a lifesaver to have some funds available if the narcissist decides to employ these tactics.
It is equally important to compile copies of financial documents like tax returns, investment account statements, mortgage records, etc., before you file for divorce. You and your spouse must each make financial disclosures during the divorce, but a narcissist might employ delaying tactics like submitting incomplete records or even falsifying documents. Having good records can help expose your spouse’s deceit.
Narcissists are excellent manipulators. Your spouse knows you very well and will not hesitate to push your buttons. You need to protect yourself from situations where they might instigate an emotional response which they will exploit to their benefit.
The most effective way to do this is to set firm boundaries and do not deviate from them. For example, if the narcissist calls or texts at times they know are inconvenient, set a time when you will respond to messages. Do not respond to them at any other time. They might keep calling anyway, but if you do not respond until it is convenient for you, you will have gained some agency over your time.
Boundary setting can be difficult, but it is a critical skill when dealing with a narcissist. Work with a therapist or divorce coach if you need help. Once you have established clear boundaries and learned to enforce them, your dealings with the narcissist will have less disruptive power.
A divorce involving a narcissist is likely to be confrontational and infuriating. They are prone to create drama and be uncooperative whenever they can, just to show that they are in charge. They might do this even though it runs counter to their best interests.
It is important to not get caught up in the drama but keep your focus on your goals in the divorce. Hiring a strong and aggressive attorney is the best tip to get through a divorce with a narcissist. Call the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today.