Are You Divorcing a Narcissist?

Mar 11, 2024

If you spend any time on social media, you may be under the impression that narcissists are hiding around every corner and ready to clobber your life. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, divorcing a narcissist is no walk in the park. You need a playbook to help you get through what might feel more like a cold war than a divorce. 

Check out my Divorcing a Narcissist guide.

Why Divorcing a Narcissist is Different

While divorce rarely brings out the best in anyone, divorcing a narcissist can make you wonder if you ever knew your spouse at all. Narcissists don't view people as individuals, but more as objects... and once an object isn't of use to them, they discard it. If you're the spouse who wakes up one day to find your husband has already started a brand new life (as if you never existed), it can be devastating.. 

What Can You Expect

So what can you expect when you're divorcing a narcissist (or someone who just has some narcissistic traits)? While the behavior of a narcissist can baffle even the most stable person, there are behaviors you can expect during your divorce. You likely have already seen some of these qualities, but expect them to get worse. 

  • Manipulation: Narcissists are master manipulators, and you can expect them not only to manipulate you, but anyone in your orbit. They are very good at crafting a narrative for those around them. 
  • Delusions of grandeur: Your husband likely has an overinflated view of his success, his looks, and how "special" he is. Narcissists think they are exceptions to rules. They are better than everyone so why should they be treated like everyone else? Bring on the special treatment reserved just for him!
  • Lack of responsibility: Do not expect your ex to take responsibility for anything. If you're a normal person getting a divorce, you might use this time to reflect on yourself, your life, and how you can improve. But since a narcissist considers everyone else the problem (even if he blatantly created the problem), there is no reason to look inward or take any responsibility for his actions.

For a full list of behaviors a typical narcissist will display, click here.

How to Respond

What can you do when you are dealing with a narcissist? If you are finding yourself questioning your own memory and sanity and you feel like there is no winning with your ex, this may be a sign that you are dealing with a narcissist. There are ways you can respond to him to get out of the crazy-making cycle. 

Minimizing contact with your ex can be one of the biggest tools at your disposal. Narcissists love attention, even if it is negative. You can try the "gray rock" method with your husband. Basically you give him very little input, either positive or negative. Use a very businesslike tone when you communicate, and only communicate about the absolute essentials. Don't have any unnecessary conversations or prolong any essential communications. This can be very difficult initially, but does get easier over time. 

Get Help

If you find yourself divorcing a narcissist, you must have a broad network of support. From friends, family, and your community, you will need all the extra help, guidance, and support you can get. You also need expert help. Check out my Divorcing a Narcissist guide today for your next right step.

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