In most cases, separating and getting divorced is hard, even under the best of circumstances. However, staying in a bad marriage can be even worse, particularly if your spouse is a narcissist. In psychological terms, narcissism refers to someone who is extremely selfish, who has a grandiose view of his/her own talents and a craving for admiration.
As you might imagine, living with a narcissist can be challenging, and deciding to leave one can be even more so. However, the good news is that it can be done, and I was interviewed for a recent article that asked several divorce and mental health experts for tips when divorcing a narcissist. The article included several great recommendations, including the quotes below from me:
Hire an attorney.
“One of the quickest ways to take the power away from a narcissist is to hire an attorney, particularly an experienced and well respected one. It's much easier for a narcissist to play games with his spouse than with her attorney because the attorney will not be affected by the emotional aspect of the case, which is where the narcissists thrive. Plus, the attorney will know how to keep the case moving toward a resolution, even if the other side attempts to drag their feet.”
Remember Your Attorney is Your Advocate.
“When a narcissist realizes that his spouse his hired an experienced attorney and that his “mind games” will no longer be effective, he will be much more likely stop playing them because they will not garner the desired effect. If the opposing party is actively attempting to delay the case, the attorney can get the Court involved to help move the case forward, as judges want cases to proceed and not linger. If the narcissist violates a Court Order, contempt actions are a great way to get his attention and make him realize that he is not in control of the case.”
Source: “Your 5 Step Plan for Breaking Free of a Narcissist” by Beth Cone Kramer, published atDivorcedMoms.com.