Divorce is always stressful and painful. However, it can be made easier when both parties are able to set aside their differences and work cooperatively towards a solution. That usually does not happen when one of the spouses is a narcissist, however.
Narcissism is an extreme obsession with one’s self. It is the need to put one’s self above everything and everyone else. Because narcissists are only concerned with themselves and their own well-being, they are often perceived as being successful, charming and charismatic individuals. However, spouses of narcissists usually come to realize that all of that success comes at the expense of those closest to the narcissist. Narcissism can express itself in ugly ways, including hurting friends and family and trying to exercise and unreasonable amount of control over others’ lives.
Divorcing a narcissist
In divorce, narcissism can be even more pronounced. A narcissist may view the divorce as a threat to his or her control. He or she may view at is an insult to their own image, which they have carefully crafted. The narcissist could respond by attempting to assert more control through manipulation and intimidation. He or she may try to confuse the other spouse in order to get what he or she wants.
For a narcissist’s former partner, divorce can be made even more trying and complex. They may lose focus of their priorities in trying to react to the narcissist’s actions. Furthermore, that person could spend lots of time and money fighting battles that are solely driven by the narcissist’s need to assert control. However, they can make it through the divorce process by being disciplined and by focusing on their priorities.
Steps that may make divorce easier
First, it can be important to set one’s priorities. Before the divorce even starts, a person should consider the assets, ideas and terms that are most important to them. The narcissist may try to bring up many issues as a way to manipulate or confuse the spouse, so it is critical that the spouse maintain focus on the most important matters. Next, establishing independence can be beneficial. A narcissist may have a deep need to always be in control. The sooner a former partner can free themselves from the narcissist’s control, the sooner that person can make independent decisions. The spouse should open their own bank account, apply for credit cards and take other steps to start their own life as a single person.
A willingness to compromise can also be important in some situations. In many cases, the narcissist may be the breadwinner in the family. That means they may be able to fight heavily on issues that could cost a significant amount of money. A former partner may be best served by being reasonable and willing to compromise on some issues. That will leave that person with more resources to fight for more important items.
A person may wish to simply be free of the narcissist as soon as possible. Often, fighting a narcissist will only cause them to dig their heels in further. Sometimes the best adversary for a narcissist is one who is dedicated to finding a solution. A professional may be able to focus on outcomes that can benefit a former partner. Furthermore, a narcissist will not care about anyone else’s feelings, including those of his or her former spouse. A former partner may have to endure difficult and hurtful language and manipulative tactics. It is crucial for that person to have a strong support network of family and friends to help them through the process. Those who a person leans upon for support may make a big difference in the outcome of a case.