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Divorcing a Narcissist – Seven Dos and Don’ts

Divorcing a narcissist can be a whole different process – get these seven dos and don’ts for making this process a little less challenging.

Divorcing can be an emotionally and mentally draining experience. Divorcing a narcissist, with their manipulative tactics and self-centered focus, can make the process even more challenging. This article from today’s Divorce Squad Professional, Angelica Griegel, provides insights into what to expect when divorcing a narcissist and offers practical advice on protecting yourself.

Choose Your Advocate Wisely
Selecting the right attorney is crucial when dealing with a narcissistic ex-spouse. Look for an attorney who specializes in handling cases involving narcissists, someone who understands the complexities and is not easily intimidated. An effective advocate should prioritize your interests, maintain professionalism, and not be swayed by intimidation tactics. Avoid hiring an attorney who settles too easily or is overly adversarial, as this may exacerbate the situation. Interview several attorneys to find one with impeccable communication skills, integrity, and a proven track record of success. While it may be tempting to hire someone based on “good bedside manner” or how personable they are, having a true advocate is best.

Beware of the Charm Offensive
One of the key traits of a narcissist is their ability to switch between charm and manipulation effortlessly. If your narcissistic ex suddenly starts acting nice, be suspicious. This change in behavior is likely a strategic move to gain control and manipulate the situation in their favor. Rather than rejoicing in apparent happiness, maintain a sense of indifference. Avoid questioning them directly, as this can lead to escalation, gaslighting, and emotional manipulation. Trust your instincts and recognize the truth within yourself.

Be Cautious of Increased Involvement
If your narcissistic ex suddenly expresses a keen interest in your children’s lives, be cautious. Narcissists often manipulate situations to create a favorable image of themselves, especially in custody battles. Increased involvement may be a strategic move to gain an upper hand in court by portraying themselves as caring parents. Stay vigilant and prioritize your children’s best interests.

Beware of the “You’re Crazy” Card
A common tactic employed by narcissists during divorce proceedings is to label their partner as “crazy” or emotionally unstable. Dealing with a narcissist can be mind-boggling and frustrating, and their attempts to paint you as irrational or unstable are often strategic maneuvers to gain control. When accused of actions or behaviors you haven’t committed, it’s imperative not to react. If you engage in defending your character against their accusations, you enter a psychological battleground of manipulation and circular conversations. Most individuals find themselves exhausted from the constant need to prove their innocence and their relentless defense often leads to a breaking point where emotions erupt, and the narcissist succeeds in reinforcing their narrative that you are, indeed, “crazy.”

Overcome Guilt
It’s common for individuals divorcing narcissists to feel guilt, especially if the ex-spouse is struggling with personal issues. However, it’s crucial to recognize that your ex’s problems are not your responsibility. Resist the urge to be their emotional support person or doing things in their best interest at the expense of yourself. Instead, focus on your well-being and seek professional help to help you stay strong in your boundaries. Send positive energy from a distance, but prioritize your own mental and emotional health. Boundaries are loving you and them at the same time.

Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
Navigating the challenging journey of divorcing a narcissist may tempt you to halt proceedings due to the exhausting drama and fear of the unknown. Even when enticed by promises of change or therapy from the narcissist, it’s crucial to recognize that history often repeats itself, leading back to chaos and unhappiness. Instead, stay committed to the process and follow these steps diligently. In doing so, you pave the way for lasting relief and a brighter future.

Don’t Repeat The Pattern
It’s essential to recognize that the work doesn’t end with the divorce decree. While freedom may be a welcomed feeling, ongoing internal work remains imperative to stay strong in the co-parenting relationship and prevent the recurrence of detrimental patterns in future relationships. True healing encompasses addressing issues like feelings of inadequacy, dependence on others for fulfillment, struggles with confidence, healing from abandonment wounds, and breaking the cycles of generational trauma.

Thanks, Angelica! With her experience as an expert in navigating divorce within a toxic relationship, divorcing a narcissist is something Angelica sees often. For personalized guidance in navigating divorce from a narcissist and overcoming unhealthy relationship patterns, schedule a consultation with Angelica today!