Filing for divorce is hard enough without having a spouse who has a narcissistic personality. However, when you’re divorcing someone you believe is a narcissist, you may find the divorce process involves significant conflict and stress. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to help you minimize the stress of dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner during divorce negotiations.
Ask an Experienced Divorce Attorney: How to Divorce Someone You Believe Is a Narcissist
The first thing you should know about divorcing a narcissist is that they will likely have extreme reactions to your separation. When you discuss your divorce case with Houston’s top family divorce lawyer, you will need to mention your partner’s past behaviors and actions. Communicating with your lawyer about a narcissistic personality can help your lawyer devise a strategy that will allow for a more peaceful resolution.
Have Realistic Expectations
If you have any expectations for peaceful divorce mediation, you may want to abandon these ideas if you believe you’re divorcing a narcissist. Narcissists react negatively to any changes that hold them accountable for their past behaviors and actions. By filing for divorce, your spouse may react with rage, abuse, or a petty attitude that will draw out your divorce negotiations......................................................
In fact, you may find that your spouse argues about every point in your divorce agreement, even if arguing damages their own divorce goals. Having realistic expectations will help you manage your reactions and keep your cool when you are divorcing a narcissist.
Reinforce Your Boundaries
Narcissists will try many strategies to get you to change your mind, but you will need to reinforce any boundaries you have set, such as maintaining your bottom line for your divorce goals. Even if your narcissistic ex-spouse is playing nice to try and get what they want, you must not break your boundaries. Reinforcing your boundaries is one of the best ways to cope with a narcissistic personality.
Start Going to Therapy
Many people who are going through divorce start seeing a therapist, and this may be a good idea if you believe you’re divorcing a narcissist. Narcissistic personalities can be manipulative and abusive, which can create emotional trauma that is difficult to recover from. By seeing a therapist, you can learn strategies to help you deal with your ex-spouse.
Collect Concrete Evidence
Finally, you need to collect concrete evidence about everything your ex-partner does or says. Narcissists are perpetual liars, and they will deny the truth of events to try to manipulate a situation in their favor. By collecting concrete evidence, such as texts and emails, you can hold a narcissistic personality accountable.
During a divorce, this can be essential for your divorce agreement, particularly if you are trying mediation first. Additionally, if you are receiving threats from your ex-partner, documenting the evidence can help you and your children be safe during the divorce process. All evidence against your spouse can be used in your favor to gain leverage in your divorce.
Why a Narcissist Won’t Want a Divorce
The worst thing to a narcissist is when they are no longer the center of your world. When narcissists can no longer control and possess you, they will have a negative reaction that may involve raging, verbal abuse, physical abuse, manipulation, and more. A narcissist will typically delay a divorce not because they value you as a person: they value only your perceived loyalty.
Should You Consider a Restraining Order?
It may be a wise idea to take out a temporary restraining order during a divorce. For example, if you received threatening texts, emails, or physical violence from your ex-partner, a temporary restraining order can protect you and your children. Furthermore, your divorce agreement may also include a clause to reinforce this restraining order.
How Does Family Violence Impact Your Divorce?
Emotional and physical violence can impact your divorce. A documented history of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse from a narcissist can speed along your divorce process and help you achieve all of your divorce goals. For example, acts of family violence are often cited in child custody arrangements to prevent an abusive parent from winning sole custody of a child.
In Texas, there’s typically a 60-day waiting period after filing initial divorce paperwork before your case will go to trial or mediation. However, in cases where there is documented evidence of family violence, the family court may waive the waiting period and allow you to finalize your divorce more quickly. Additionally, a history of family violence can also trigger Texas laws that will mandate spousal maintenance through wage garnishment.
Filing for divorce against a narcissist can be a difficult task, particularly because narcissistic personalities are resistant, manipulative, and resentful. Fortunately, with expert help from a divorce attorney, you will be able to make it through the divorce process with realistic expectations and meet all of your divorce goals.