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Six Excellent Tips for Divorcing a Narcissist

A couple in conflict before an official - use our tips for divorcing a narcissist if you are in this situation.

If you are in this situation, you MUST see these tips for divorcing a narcissist!

Today we are getting six essential tips for divorcing a narcissist from one of our Divorce Squad Experts, Jolee Vacchi. Jolee is an experienced divorce attorney with an aptitude for navigating high conflict situations. With many of those caused by a narcissistic partner, it is absolutely paramount to know and follow her tips for how to get through this process with less stress and less contention. Let’s hear what Jolee has to say….

Divorce is an inherently stressful and emotional process because the issues in dispute are so personal and high stakes. Adding a narcissistic ex into this equation can catapult this base level of stress into the stratosphere. Narcissists are master manipulators and they can successfully dupe the court into believing that they are the actual victims in the case. A covert narcissist can also be very charming and present well in court making their tactics more difficult to prove and taken seriously. If not managed appropriately, divorce litigation can continue to traumatize survivors of narcissistic abuse as they are gaslit by not only their ex, but also by the family court system.

Narcissists crave admiration and control, and they lack empathy. Narcissistic abuse can take many forms (emotional, psychological, verbal, and/or financial), and can be expressed as extreme control of a partner, gaslighting, manipulation, censorship, isolation, lack of boundaries and invasions of privacy, belittling or devaluing, intimidation, emotional blackmail, and more. Wounds inflicted by narcissists are often “invisible” as they are non-physical, but that doesn’t make them any less damaging to the survivors of narcissistic abuse. Survivors describe constantly having to walk on eggshells during their relationship so as to not upset or trigger their partners, and recovering from this form of abuse can take years to unravel the deep psychological harm inflicted upon survivors. Let’s be clear—narcissistic abuse is a form of abuse. Full stop.

Here are 6 tips for navigating a divorce with elements of narcissistic abuse:

1. Retain an attorney who has a full understanding of narcissistic abuse and coercive control. There is an education gap from the typical domestic violence training that judges and divorce attorneys may have received, which usually focuses on physical abuse, versus acknowledging the complexities and nuances of narcissistic abuse and appreciating its devastating effects on survivors. Having an attorney who knows about and can recognize the patterns of narcissistic abuse, communicate that effectively to the court, and help to create a personalized strategy to your unique circumstances is crucial to a successful outcome.

2. Don’t diagnose your ex; instead, focus on patterns of behavior. Generally speaking, judges do not appreciate it and they will be less likely to take you seriously if you self-diagnose your ex with any kind of mental health disorder. Leave any diagnostic labels to the professionals. Alternatively, focus your efforts on highlighting your ex’s patterns of behaviors against you that can be demonstrated through facts and evidence.

3. Communicate with your ex through a co-parenting app such as Our Family Wizard or AppClose. Advocates for narcissistic abuse recovery often recommend that survivors go “no-contact” with their abuser after separating. However, that isn’t possible if you have children together. It is extremely important to put limits and boundaries on how, when, and where a narcissistic ex can communicate with you. A parenting app also keeps all communications organized and some platforms allow you to grant access to your attorney and other professionals involved in your case.

4. Consider hiring your own consultant or expert. Family court lawyer and judges often have a knee-jerk response to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) in high-conflict cases. If a GAL is appointed in your case, you’ll want to ensure that it is a Category E psychologist, social worker, or other mental health professional who has experience with narcissistic behaviors and abuse. If you don’t have a GAL, or if your GAL doesn’t appreciate the nuances of narcissistic abuse, you may want to consider hiring your own consultant or expert who can review your communications with your ex (this is where a co-parenting app becomes very helpful!), identify their patterns of behavior, and offer testimony to the court on your behalf.

5. Document everything. Keep a written or electronic record of all interactions and conflicts with your ex. Write down details as soon as possible when they are fresh in your mind. By keeping “contemporaneous records” you should be able to use them in court to refresh your memory. If you are still residing with your ex, be sure to keep these records secure so your abuser cannot access them and pose a risk to your safety.

6. Get support. It is critical for you to obtain support for your emotional and psychological well-being before, during, and after the divorce process as you separate from your abuser. Engage with qualified professionals such as a therapist or certified narcissistic abuse recovery coach. Join a support group with other women who are going through a similar experience as you or who have made it to the other side. Prioritize self-care and seek out alternative healing modalities like meditation, hypnotherapy, sound healing, or somatic practices. Offer yourself the gift of healing and support throughout this process—you deserve it.

For additional information on this topic you can visit Jane Does Well here and the Mass Family Advocacy Coalition here.

Wow – thank you, Jolee Vacchi, for that terrific information and tips for divorcing a narcissist. Clearly this is a situation where you will want someone who has experience in this area and if that is your case, you can contact Attorney Jolee Vacchi today and get started on bringing you closer to a comfortable conclusion.