A spouse’s narcissism can be a major factor leading to an individual’s decision to file for divorce. Loosely defined as a person whose behavior demonstrates extreme self-centeredness and need for constant admiration, a narcissist can be extremely difficult to reason with. Living with such a person can take a heavy emotional toll on an individual. When divorcing a narcissist, there are several important things to keep in mind during this difficult time.
Recognize Their Need for the Spotlight
While most divorcing couples wish to avoid publishing intimate marriage details and specifics of their divorce settlement, the opposite is often true in the case of narcissists. With their intense need for attention, a narcissist may relish the idea of publicly airing all of the sordid details of the divorce. This can cause significant trauma for the entire family, especially when children are involved. Try not to feed into the narcissist’s need by entering into confidentiality agreements and “gag orders” when necessary.
Counter the Sense of Entitlement
Many of the exploitative actions of a narcissist are related to their sense of entitlement. It is not uncommon for a narcissist to believe they are entitled to more than their fair share of the marital assets. Be sure to follow the marital property distribution laws of your state when entering into any financial agreement with a narcissistic spouse, regardless of their bullying. They are only entitled to their legal share of the marital property, regardless of their beliefs.
Beware of Manipulation
The divorce process presents another opportunity for narcissists to manipulate and exert power. With a noticeable lack of empathy, narcissists often focus on “winning”, regardless of the cost. In the case of divorce, this can become especially true. Many innocent parties to a divorce, particularly children, can suffer severe trauma when this occurs. By being aware of the likelihood of manipulation, an individual can refuse to engage in any gamesmanship and seek to protect the children from this type of destructive behavior.
Take the Higher Ground
Most narcissists will use whatever means necessary to make themselves appear to be the victim during the divorce proceedings. Expect mud to be slung in every direction during the divorce process with the goal to make others look as guilty, incompetent, and untrustworthy as possible. As difficult as it may be, individuals should take the higher ground by controlling their emotions and anger at the narcissistic spouse, especially around the children. This often means avoiding direct contact with the narcissist until the divorce is finalized.
Obtain Legal Assistance
Navigating divorce proceedings against a narcissist can be difficult. By obtaining the legal assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer, an individual can insulate themselves from dealing directly with the ex-spouse. Having an advocate on their behalf can provide protection from continuing infliction of harassment, guilt, and pain inflicted by the narcissist.
Bucks County Divorce Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Handle Pennsylvania Divorce Proceedings
If you have made the decision to divorce a narcissistic spouse, you are not alone. At Freedman & Lorry, P.C. our experienced family law attorneys will aggressively work on your behalf to ensure financial and emotional protection during this difficult time. Our family law practice handles a wide range of legal matters relating to divorce, property settlement, child custody and visitation, alimony, and child support. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina and we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania. To schedule a free initial consultation today with an experienced Bucks County divorce lawyer, call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online.