Trying to divorce a narcissist? You are in for quite a journey. Divorcing a narcissist is not an easy task and will be emotionally, financially, and physically exhausting. However, if you use the proper strategies, you can in fact “win.”
How To Ask for a Divorce from a Narcissist?
You have to understand that you will have to be the one to file for divorce, and it's crucial that you don't back away from this decision. There are many reasons why a narcissist won’t divorce you, with the biggest one being that they will never want to let go of someone they think they have full control over.
So, when divorcing a narcissist, you have to be calculated, think logically, and have a solid divorce strategy. Get a lawyer, find a safe place to go, and secure enough finances if possible.
Narcissist Divorce Tactics
If you are divorcing a narcissist, I wish you the best of luck and strength. It’s going to be tough, but there are strategies and tips for divorcing a narcissist that I would like to share with you. First and foremost, stay calm. Do not let what the narcissist says about you get to you, and do not let them manipulate you into giving them “one more chance.”
When going through a divorce with a narcissist, you have to come prepared as they will lie, manipulate and try to take control. Here are 10 strategies on how to win against a narcissist.
1. Get Rid of All Illusions That Your Future Ex Will Behave Well
It is important to remember that you are not divorcing a healthy individual – you are, in fact, asking for a divorce from a narcissist. A person is considered narcissistic if they portray the following traits:
- excessive need for admiration
- disregard for others' feelings
- an inability to handle any criticism
- sense of entitlement.
- lack of empathy
With these personality traits, it will be hard for the narcissist to behave well and to make divorce easy. They are a toxic spouse that will not have any regard as to who they hurt or what lies they say and won’t care what destruction they leave in their trail.
Make no mistake that they will use your children against you, make you out to be the hateful spouse for wanting the divorce, and blame you for all the wrong in the marriage. If you recognize now that this is how they will act, you can remind yourself in time of need that you are not a bad person for ending your marriage. Even more than that – a divorce is necessary to keep you and your kids, if any, healthy and happy.
2. Set Clear Boundaries
Setting boundaries during separation will be one of your best moves. If you set clear-cut, strong boundaries from the time you separate, it will make the divorce process a lot easier. I am not saying this will be easy, as divorcing a narcissistic personality never is, but it will allow you to maintain some sort of order in your life during this trying time.
Boundaries are important as they let the narcissist know what they can and cannot get away with. It will be hard, and they will test and push, but stand your ground, even when they throw tantrums and start acting out. Remember that people that get mad about your boundaries are the ones that used to take advantage of you when you lacked to have any.
3. Don’t Show Genuine Emotion to Your Spouse
A narcissist lacks emotional intelligence in relationships, as their goals revolve only around their own needs. They may shut down all their feelings in a relationship when they feel that they are no longer in control and look for any sign of weakness, confusion, fear, or sympathy from you.
If you show any genuine emotion, the narcissist will take this as a challenge and continue with the abusive behaviors. They will make you look like the crazy one while you are trying to battle against accusations and slander, trying to protect your children, and fighting to save your assets.
That is why the best way to deal with a narcissist trying to control your emotions during a divorce is to show none. Stand your ground, protect the boundaries you set, and recognize when they try to manipulate you. The harsher they act, the more desperate they actually are.
4. Find an Emotional Support
Divorcing a narcissist is a marathon and requires a lot of stamina. Doing this alone is hard, and you might need help getting through a divorce. Do not be afraid to ask for it – it will only make you stronger and more prepared as the challenges come.
You can find emotional support while dealing with a narcissist and divorce by:
- Finding a licensed therapist
- Enlisting the help of a supportive, non-judgmental friend
- Joining divorce support groups
5. Focus on Children
Most of us have heard about divorce and its effects on a child, but the emotional toll a narcissist divorce can take on kids is usually far worse. Thus, it is super important that you focus on your children during this time. Do not be afraid to tell them the truth, but do refrain from calling the other parent names or saying derogatory things. Stick to the facts and let them know that it is neither your nor their fault that this is happening, even if the narcissistic parent is saying otherwise.
Some strategies to deal with the narcissist in front of your children:
- Do not react or respond when the spouse is name-calling or spewing out lies. This will throw the narcissist off, and you will be seen as the sane one
- Remove yourself and your children from the situation stating a clear boundary
- Get professional help to minimize the divorce impact on children and help them deal with their emotions in a healthy way
- Explain your side to the children once you have had time to calm down and get your facts together.
Remember that this too shall pass, and your children will see who the real problem is in the long run, so do not stoop down to the level of the narcissist and take the higher road, even if it is super hard at this time.
6. Don’t Believe Everything Other People Tell You About Their Divorce
You might have a great urge to tell everyone about your situation and seek advice for divorce from friends/family that have already been through it. If you do so, remember that not all divorces are created equal, and what worked for one situation might not work for another. Friend’s advice that goes against what you know about your spouse may cause more harm than good.
Moreover, be careful who you listen to. Not every person has your best interest at heart or knows your situation well enough to give sound advice. A licensed therapist or a lawyer would be more qualified to tell you about the best course of action going forward.
7. Organize Your Documents as Soon as Possible
There is a lot of paperwork for divorce that you will need when filling out the forms or working with your lawyer. When leaving a narcissist, you will want to get these all ready ASAP. Doing so prevents them from hiding assets, manipulating you, or shifting ownerships. Remember – the narcissist wants the control, and they don't care if they destroy you emotionally or financially.
Here is some of the information and documents needed for divorce:
- marriage certificate
- income tax returns
- proof of income related to marital debt
- list of assets
- list of debts
- property valuations
- documents regarding joint financial accounts
- life insurance
8. Prepare Ahead of Time
Preparation for divorce, especially to a narcissist, is extremely important as they will always want to be two steps ahead of you. They want to win and continue to control you. Some things to do to prepare for divorce:
- Get legal advice or representation and create a step-by-step plan
- Document everything, especially your interactions with your spouse
- Get your emotional team ready
By being prepared and having a strong game plan developed with some legal help, you will be able to stay calm and factual and not give in to the distorted reality of the narcissist.
9. Treat the Situation Always as a Challenge
As I said before, divorcing a narcissist will be hard, emotional, and sometimes devastating, but do not give up. Divorce challenges are a part of the process, and at this point, you are ready and equipped to do this. Just do not let your guard down until all is signed, sealed, and delivered, and treat this situation as a challenge, always.
10. Plan For the Future
I know that you can’t even start to imagine rebuilding after divorce, but I am here to tell you that this is possible. There will be times of sorrow, sadness, loneliness, and reflection, but do not let that take over. Life after divorce can be beautiful and fulfilling if you want it to be.
As you move on after a divorce, you can create a new life where you are in control and happy. Take this time to do the things you like, spend time with your children and friends and even find a new hobby.