Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Rules for Divorcing a Narcissist

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Dating a narcissist can be fun because they are confident and have many friends. Marrying a narcissist can feel right because they are often successful and have a fulfilling life. Divorcing a narcissist, however, is akin to walking on a bed of nails, according to people who have done it.

Narcissism Defined 

When you meet somebody who seems overconfident or just full of themselves, that is not necessarily a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. When someone has the clinical disorder called NPD, not only are they egocentric, they are unable to tune into the needs of their marriage partner or even their children. 

The Mayo Clinic defines people with narcissistic personality disorder as having the following characteristics: 

  • A feeling of superiority 
  • Lack of empathy 
  • Inflated self esteem
  • Attention-seeking behavior 
  • Extreme jealousy toward other people 
  • Being over critical of others 

In the most basic sense, these people lack compassion. It is no wonder then that so many marriages with a narcissistic partner end in divorce. 

Facing the Trauma of Divorce 

Narcissistic personalities tend to put a positive spin on everything in public, but are very negative to people close to them. Those with NPD may use social media to give the appearance of a perfect marriage, but that is seldom the case. 

Their need to paint a rosy picture and have everything appear as if it is completely normal sometimes puts a narcissist over the edge in anger when they are going through divorce proceedings. Most people get over it and move on. Not so with the narcissist. 

There will be constant blame and attempts at harming the partner for months or even years after the separation. 

Facing Down a Narcissist in Court 

People with an inflated sense of self have a hard time playing fair, and may unintentionally exhibit bad behavior in court. The slow and meticulous legal process may frustrate the narcissist, because they want everything done their way on their own timeline. 

They have been known to become unreasonable even in front of a judge that has very little patience for outrageous personalities in divorce court. There is a chance your ex will do themselves in by voicing their own delusions of grandeur and deception. 

Finding a good divorce law firm is crucial, since hard evidence is the only way to beat them. Your lawyer will advise you to focus on keeping records and documenting every instance of bad behavior. 

Fighting for Child Custody 

Spouses of people with NPD often seek custody of the children because the narcissist has their own best interests in mind, even at the expense of the minor children. It's hard to believe that self-absorption would go this far, but kids are at real risk of neglect, emotional or otherwise. 

The narcissistic parent may also convince the child that the other partner is at fault for everything. When a partner with NPD tries to instill hatred in children toward the other parent, it is called parental alienation, and the harm done to the family relationship can be irreversible. 

Establishing a legal strategy to minimize damage for everyone involved is advised. 

Deciding to Leave 

It is not uncommon for the kids to be the catalyst that pushes the partner of the narcissist to file for divorce. It is exhausting, and you may feel like you can't do anything to stop it. Remember there are professional therapists and attorneys who specialize in complex divorce cases, and the team you put together can work in tandem toward a positive outcome for everyone involved.

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