If your spouse is a narcissist, you already know how difficult it is to be married to one. It should come as no surprise that divorcing a narcissist can be even harder than being married to one. The good news is that you can get through it. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare is crucial to limiting the emotional and financial toll of the divorce. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains what to expect when divorcing a narcissist.
The Narcissist Divorce – How Will He or She react?
Although it is impossible to know with certainty how anyone will react during a divorce, it can be easier to predict how a narcissist will react given that narcissists share common traits. You can likely expect:
- Strong emotional reactions. Narcissists tend to have fragile egos and are sensitive to anything that threatens their self-esteem or that could be construed as criticism. They have a difficult time handling their emotional responses under the best of circumstances. When faced with a divorce, they typically react with over-the-top emotional reactions. It isn’t that they are sad about the marriage ending. Instead, they are worried about looking bad or “losing.”
- The blame game. You are likely already used to this so it may not come as a surprise; however, expect your spouse to immediately launch a full-blown “blame game” when divorce becomes inevitable. Narcissists cannot accept failure and have a very difficult time seeing their own faults and failings. Therefore, the divorce must be your fault. Not only will they express this sentiment to you directly, but a narcissist will often shout it from the rooftops to make sure everyone else thinks you are to blame as well. Your spouse may also try and turn your children, friends, and family against you.
- A contentious divorce. The odds of getting through the divorce process amicably and/or being able to work out an out-of-court settlement agreement before beginning the divorce process are slim if your spouse is a narcissist. Unfortunately, the odds are good that your spouse will make divorce an extremely adversarial process. A narcissist will often dispute things that he/she does not even care about just to try and make you miserable or “punish” you for leaving them. Mediation will likely fail because a narcissistic spouse cannot see things from another person’s perspective.
- The children to be used as pawns. Because a narcissist must win at all costs, the children are likely to be used as pawns when possible. In fact, narcissists are often guilty of intentionally causing parental alienation during or after a divorce. If your children are older, prepare them for what is likely to come. If they are young, do everything you can to shield them from the narcissistic parent’s influence.
- The unexpected. Do not make the mistake of turning your back on your narcissistic spouse during a divorce or of thinking that he/she has accepted the reality of the situation. A true narcissist lacks empathy, compassion, and the ability to let things go. A narcissistic spouse may go dormant during a divorce; however, he/she is most likely planning the next move aimed at making you look bad or causing you to suffer. Remain vigilant throughout the entire divorce process and always expect the unexpected.
How Can I Prepare for Divorcing My Narcissistic Spouse?
If divorcing your narcissist spouse sounds like it will be a nightmare, it’s because it probably will be. There are, however, some things you can do to protect yourself and your children during the process, such as:
- Consult with an experienced divorce attorney before initiating the divorce.
- Document every communication and encounter with your spouse leading up to, and during, the divorce.
- Accept that this will be a lengthy and probably costly divorce.
- Document attempts at alienation and/or times when you are denied access to your children.
- Avoid getting baited into arguing with your spouse.
- Do not give in or give up!
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about what to expect when divorcing a narcissist in Tennessee, contact a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to discuss your options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
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