Divorcing a Narcissist
It’s never easy to be in a relationship with a narcissist, and it is even harder to leave a relationship with a narcissist.
I’ve helped many clients divorce a narcissistic spouse, and it’s never the divorce “status-quo.” No way. While every divorce case is unique, when guiding a client out of this type of relationship, I am aware that it’s lingering resentment, control and power issues driving the train and if a narcissist has his way, he will keep fighting until the other person falls on the ground.
A recent New York Times blog on the subject (find it here) brought the nuances of ending narcissistic relationships to light.
Narcissism is a personality flaw that causes a person to behave in any given situation without empathy or emotion. It is extremely difficult to be in relationship with a narcissist because they do not look at life the way most people do. They are the center of everything, and it is their whimsy that drives scenarios.
One thing to understand is that a narcissist will want to keep the process going as long as possible, so make your decisions and guide your choices thinking about what will allow your narcissistic spouse to belabor the process vs. what will end the process efficiently and quickly. Visualize what your life will look like after the divorce, free from the constant control, to help you through the process.
In marriages with children, unfortunately you’ll still have to deal with a narcissistic ex, but try to keep any communication focused on logistical parenting issues and nothing more. It takes great strength to step away from your own emotions, but the reward to self is well worth it!
Narcissism is a sickness. Narcissistic individuals are only interested in winning, they will do whatever they can to continue to hurt you and put you down. Trust yourself and your attorney that the decisions you make for yourself and what will be best for you and your children will make you the winner.
Everything after that is completely up to you.
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The end of a calendar year is a good time to reflect on what matters to you. Whether you’re going through a divorce or not, checking in with your priorities and how they inform your life decisions is always time well spent.
November is often considered a month to focus on gratitude, and I believe gratitude and patience are important assets in divorce. First, you can’t be angry and appreciative at the same time. One must outweigh the other.
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