Are you divorcing a narcissist? Many a toxic relationship can be found to have a narcissistic partner at its root cause for unhappiness. Let’s explore divorcing a narcissist and how to carefully sever the ties between you and your narcissistic partner during divorce without creating unnecessary stress or possibly even narcissistic rage in your partner.
Are You Divorcing a Narcissist?
Divorce is not easy at the best of times. This life altering event is not rated as the second most traumatic life experience after death for no reason.
So if you are walking this road right now, know this. Every individual who has ever experienced the devastation of a divorce or even a breakup knows what you are experiencing.
To add insult to injury, if you are now dealing with a narcissist, you will be experiencing untold levels of added stress and aggravation. Although circumstances vary in every divorce, a narcissist feeling any form of rejection will undoubtedly turn up the volume of his or her narcissistic behavior when stress levels increase and things don’t go their way.
One of the most impossible realities for a narcissist to accept is that someone is rejecting them. Regardless of their behavior or what they have done to others, they need to be loved and admired. They will create any number of reasons to not be responsible for the situation. For example, if they have neglected, cheated, abused, victimized or abandoned their spouse, expect to hear those exact things of yourself regardless of how absurd or untrue it may be.
There is no quick and easy way to make this go away and there is no 5 step program that can put them into “sleep mode”. But, there is hope. There are proven ways to lessen their impact on your sanity. Through my own experience and those of many in your exact shoes, here are some key points to help you weather the storm.
1. Brace Yourself For The Lies
Regardless of the facts or clear cut reasons for your divorce, you will soon hear some fantastical stories and possibly even get the cold shoulder from friends and family for your unbelievably despicable behavior.
Confused? Don’t be. This is your heads up! If you fall apart and through your toys, you are falling straight into the trap.
Do not react, retaliate or try to convince a narcissist of the truth, no amount of reasoning or proof will sway their view. A seemingly strange phenomenon is they will ultimately begin to believe any lies they themselves have created. Don’t allow yourself to be convinced. You will be told of your inadequacies and if you allow it, self doubt will set in. This is one of the hardest aspects of a narcissistic attack to weather but by knowing it, you can identify it for exactly what it is… narcissistic hot air.
Fighting any fabricated stories to save your pride or even reputation will be futile. You are dealing with a professional liar so expect them to be very good at what they do. Unless you stoop to equally low levels, you will not gain ground here.
This master manipulator plays the game of building allies and part of this game is getting as many supporters as possible on their team. Take the high road. Yes, you may lose some friends who believe the accusations. If they can believe you are capable of obvious untruths and don’t take the care to hear your side, they are better off with the opposition.
2. Be Patient
Whether you have been together for months or years, divorcing a narcissist will most likely be a drawn out affair. A narcissist loves being the victim, and this brings them loads of additional attention. There are cases of divorcing a narcissist being drawn out for years. Out of spite, a narcissist can draw out the process indefinitely.
I totally understand the need to distance yourself and cut all unnecessary ties to this person but let’s add some perspective. A divorce by definition is a separation. As long as you are able to separate yourself and get into a positive space, you are officially free. A piece of paperwork with a stamp on it is simply admin. Putting a deadline on this tumultuous event will only leave your further frustrated.
3. Become Self Sufficient
Relying on a narcissist for financial support leaves you in a vulnerable position. Take charge of your finances and independence as soon as possible.
There are understandably circumstances which complicate this ideal scenario like maintenance for children. Get sound and trusted advice from a professional with regards to what finances you are due from the divorce. It should to be an officially signed agreement with obligations that need to be met and honored on specific dates.
Your heart and mind needs to be focused on creating a new and financially independent future.
4. Find Something Positive To Focus Your Attention On
Wonderful and unexpected surprises are a natural part of life when your mind is open to them so keep focused on these exciting new possibilities. The amount of good that is lost by focusing on stress and negativity is immeasurable. There will undoubtedly be challenges that arise but how you handle it will make all the difference. Confront each challenge with grace and you will sail through them. Positive distractions can come in many forms. Be it a book, pets, a brand new hobby, travel or friends and family. This is your time to heal, grow and re-discover yourself and the things you love.
5. While Divorcing a Narcissist, Stay As Far Away From Them As Possible
Being married to a narcissist, you will instinctively know this to be true. Simply having this person in your environment causes uneasiness and the potential for more drama. Keep your distance wherever possible. If you have to share a house, make a safe space where you can escape to. If you have shared custody of children, keep the interaction brief. Limit communication to text messages where possible and don’t take unexpected phone calls.
They are masters at creating distress and know how to manipulate words, leave you feeling deflated. If you have to deal with them in any way, keep it to a minimum.
6. Don’t Take Things Personally
When divorcing a narcissist, you need to develop a thick skin. For most of us, if we are accused of a wrong or insulted, feeling hurt is a natural human reaction. This is where you have to separate constructive criticism from hurtful abuse. With a narcissist, you are not dealing with a rational individual. They have the cunning to turn a compliment into an attack. Do not bite. Expect an attack, big or small with every interaction, this will prepare you. If you know what is about to come your way, you will not be caught off guard.
If you allow them to push your buttons and work you up, any retaliation will be a narcissist’s victory. Don’t go there. Find a happy place and zone out. Even the worst narcissistic attack will one day be only a memory and your lack of reaction will totally deflate their intentions to rattle you. You should respond with boredom to whatever drama or issues are invented by the narcissist.
7. Don’t Trust Hopeful Promises
A common occurrence while divorcing a narcissist is the pity plea is a complete u-turn and promise to mend their narcissistic ways. This is usually accompanied by an impressive display of waterworks.
Know this… by definition, a narcissist cannot change who they are. It is a deep seated inadequacy that drives their very core. No matter how much they appeal, hold your ground.
If you find yourself in any doubt and wanting to succumb to their pleading, make sure you have read the section called The Narcissism Test and ask yourself if you can live with this for the rest of your life!?
Familiarize yourself with these points on Divorcing a Narcissist and you will be wearing a bulletproof vest. You’ll still feel the knocks but they don’t need to take you down. The narcissist plays a clever game of manipulation, misinformation and blame.
Navigate the games with indifference and find comfort in the universal rule that all things eventually come to an end. Eventually, it will all be a distant memory.