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3 tips for effectively divorcing a narcissist

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2024 | Family Law

You’ve come to see your spouse with new eyes – and you’re now conscious of just how deeply narcissistic they are. You simply can’t spend the rest of your life catering to their endless needs, so you want out.

Unfortunately, divorcing a narcissist isn’t easy. Deep down, narcissist behavior comes from a place of deep insecurity. Leaving your spouse not only disrupts their world and makes them feel unstable, but it’s a personal rejection. Your announcement is likely to bring out the worst side of them.

How can you cope? Keeping the following in mind can help.

Anticipate an emotional barrage

Your spouse may “love bomb” you and shower you with attention and promises of change. Or, they may villainize you to everybody who will listen to try to destroy your social circle and support network. They may just throw tantrums and make threats. It is important to try to recognize false charm, deceit and coercion for what they are.

Have a plan before you make your break

It’s generally wisest to make sure you have your plans in place before you make your announcement. That will make it harder for your spouse to try to sabotage your efforts. Figure out your budget, where you intend to stay and what kinds of legal and emotional support you need – and then tell your spouse you want a divorce.

Document everything

Because narcissists can play loose and free with the truth, you want to keep records of everything. Institute a boundary that requires your spouse to contact you via email or text message and keep every single one. If your spouse leaves a voicemail, keep it. That will make it harder for them to gaslight you – and others – about their behavior.

While an uncontested divorce is always possible, you may want to start with the presumption that your divorce will have to be litigated. Even if you try to give the narcissist everything that they say they want, they may simply change their mind and demand something else. Thankfully, seeking experienced legal guidance can make this process easier overall, no matter what your ex decides to do moving forward.