The experienced divorce attorneys at West Family Law Group can protect your rights and your peace of mind during the process so you emerge ready to move forward. We know how to anticipate tactics narcissistic spouses use during divorce, and we develop strategies to overcome the misconduct and advance your interests.
Experts believe that over 5% of adults in America have a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. Many more exhibit many narcissistic traits. A high percentage of these people who marry will not make ideal partners, so it is not surprising that divorce lawyers have to deal with narcissists regularly.
While narcissists usually give the appearance of being very confident as they manipulate people, their behavior often masks a fragile ego. Anything they perceive as criticism can send them into a rage and trigger a power struggle. Their total lack of empathy for others can make them dangerous opponents.
One of the biggest problems when dealing with a narcissist in divorce is that they often feel no need to resolve conflicts. Many of them thrive on conflict. This can make it challenging to resolve key issues such as property division and child custody.
However, it is often possible to find some solutions through collaborative means or mediation. A skilled attorney can convince a narcissistic spouse that a compromise solution was their idea. Many narcissists want to be seen as the good or right person in a dispute, so strategies that play to that need can often produce agreements in a divorce settlement.
When you tell a narcissist you want a divorce, you destroy their vision of the perfect world they have built for themselves. They often respond to rejection and implied criticism by lashing out. They can become nasty and critical—which you may be used to—but they could potentially threaten violence. If that happens, you need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others in the family. Contact the police. Your lawyer can help you get a restraining order if that’s necessary.
If your narcissistic spouse makes threats about other matters, such as threatening to destroy all your belongings or take away the children, keep records and tell your attorney. These threats will backfire when the evidence of them is presented in court.
The first step is to seek guidance from a legal advisor who has experience succeeding in narcissist divorce situations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns at any time during the process. Safety is paramount.
To protect your financial interests, make copies of all documents relating to all your assets. You may have an interest in the property even if it is titled in your spouse’s name, so get copies of everything if you can. If possible, collect information and change passwords on accounts before bringing up the divorce. Your spouse may try to cut you off from everything once they feel threatened.
Another way to protect your interests and your family is to use all your efforts to remain calm and reasonable, even when your spouse goes berserk. Avoid angry language verbally and in print. Your spouse will try to make you as angry as they are, but you will win by refusing to rise to the bait.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries or limit communication. If necessary, keep all communications confined to words exchanged through your attorneys. Last, but certainly not least, surround yourself with support. It is easy to berate yourself for getting involved in the situation or feel like you’re making a mistake and things will get better if you just give your spouse another chance. Speaking with others who have suffered through a similar relationship can provide tremendous support.
At the end of the day, you must remember that divorce is necessary if you want a better future away from your narcissistic spouse’s domineering, negative control. The difficulty will be worth it.
At West Family Law Group, we will work with you at every step in the process to protect your rights and interests when you are divorcing a narcissist. We know what to watch for and how to manage potentially problematic situations to your advantage. Contact us for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we could assist in your situation.