Tips for Divorcing a Narcissist

  • Post category:Divorce Tips
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Divorcing a narcissist is very different then divorcing someone who does not have a personality disorder. Narcissistic people are very manipulative, and it can be difficult to separate yourself from them. They also have difficulty regulating their emotions and reactions which can be exacerbated by an emotionally charged life change, such as divorce. Because divorcing a narcissist adds additional challenges to the process, having an experienced family law attorney is extremely important. At Citino Family Law, we do not want your divorce to be ugly, expensive or exhausting and will ensure that we support you throughout the process.

What is a Narcissist

According to the Mayo Clinic, “narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” In addition, they tend to be manipulative, prone to rage when their demands are not met, and often vindictive toward those who criticize them. They also can be charming and superficially engaging.

They can create havoc for other people but generally don’t think about the damage they do because it doesn’t matter much to them if someone has been hurt by their actions as long as their own needs were met. 

Protect Yourself 

In order for you to stay healthy when divorcing a narcissist, it’s important that you protect yourself first and foremost. This means taking the time to get an attorney on your side. You need someone who can stand up to someone with this type of personality. However, you also want that person to be calm and not engage in extra drama. At Citino Family Law we will make sure you don’t get pushed around by a narcissist while also taking a reasonable approach so the situation is not exacerbated.

You may need some additional support as well. Getting therapy, joining support groups, managing your finances, and protecting your children are extremely important and will help you cope with the divorce process. Remember, narcissists are master manipulators. They will use everything in their arsenal against you, including your own weaknesses, so having a support system in place for you and your children can be highly beneficial. 

Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino
Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino

Try to stay out of court

Negotiation or mediation will keep a narcissist out of the spotlight and prevent them from putting on such a show for the judge. If you and your attorney are able to move through the divorce process without going to court, it would be best.

Although it would be better for your emotional and mental health to stay out of court, you have to keep in mind that a narcissist will try to fight every issue because they want to win. Negotiations may break down more often when divorcing a narcissist because they want to be in control of the proceedings. They want to maintain their sense of power and agreeing to anything asks them to relinquish that power.

Narcissists rarely, if ever, do what you want. If your spouse won’t engage in good faith negotiation or if they force issues to court, a change in strategy is often needed. Narcissists often appear charming and intelligent – at first. If litigation is necessary, strategically paced litigation can work to your advantage. The more patient you are, the more opportunities the narcissist has to be in front of the judge, the more likely the narcissist is to show their true colors to the judge. To be clear, this strategy will require superhuman patience, but playing the long game, and letting the judge get to know the real version of your spouse is a highly effective strategy with narcissists. 

Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino
Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino

Let them feel like they’re winning 

It may be possible to negotiate from the perspective that the narcissist believes erroneously that they are winning in such negotiations. This takes very skilled and careful negotiation but can be achieved with the right lawyer. You and your attorney will need to work together to find ways to make the narcissist feel like they “won” without losing things that are truly important to you. It is not always easy, but this strategy can help move negotiations along because narcissists love to win and love it even more when you lose.   

In order to do this effectively, you will need to discuss what is really important to you with your attorney. You will not be able to fight every battle a narcissist tries to draw you into, so knowing ahead of time what is going to be worth your time will allow you to walk away from things that don’t matter. This will save you a lot of time and energy and allow you to put your efforts into the things you truly care about. In addition, your partner will get more “wins” and feel like they are coming out ahead. 

If you’re divorcing a narcissist, we can help

Divorcing a narcissist can feel like a daunting task. However, at Citino Family Law LLC, we have experience in cases involving narcissists. We have a variety of tools to help you protect yourself and your children against their manipulative tactics. We know how to balance the crazy demands of a narcissist with logic and the legal strategies that will help you get through the process. Contact us today for a consultation at 312-248-3849.

Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino
Divorcing a Narcissist | Citino Family Law LLC | Maria Citino