10 tips to help you divorce a narcissist

No.1 in a series: The psychology of litigation and settlement

A narcissist walks into a bar. Of course, it’s the bar’s fault for being too low.

There’s a ton of humour out there around narcissism these days. Narcissism’s as trendy as craft gin and white cars. But if you’re divorcing a narcissist, it’s no joke.

Firstly, let’s clarify terms. Narcissism is a personality disorder characterised by lack of empathy for others and a need for admiration. Narcissists are often arrogant, self-centred and controlling.

The trouble with narcissists is that they love to win. If you’ve ever played Scrabble with one, you’ll agree. Everything to the narcissist is a game, including divorce. Compromise won’t be an option.

Narcissists react terribly to criticism, are self-righteous and defensive, become angry when faced with contrary viewpoints and love a bit of drama.

All of which means they’re going to thrive in court.

Getting a positive outcome when dealing with a narcissist, therefore, is going to be tricky. But here’s what we recommend.

1 Get yourself an experienced family lawyer

Firstly, don’t try this at home. Get yourself an experienced family lawyer. Here at Manders Law, we pride ourselves on our skills in the psychology of litigation and the psychology of settlement. Which makes us handy when dealing with narcissists. We know when to fight and when to back down.

2 Be prepared to skip mediation

You can safely assume your narcissistic ex-partner won’t be interested in mediation. Why would they be when they know they’re right, 100% of the time? Mediation might also put you back into the cycle of abuse you want to leave and bring back some unhappy memories.

3 Be prepared to go to court

Going to court can be costly. If finance is an issue, you could talk to us about unbundling our services and stepping in when you need us most. We could also keep a check on costs by appointing a counsellor who can help get you through the emotional distress.

4 Get a new email address

Get yourself a new email address for communicating with your family lawyer. Narcissists love hacking into emails to find out what you’re saying about them. On this subject, we’ll most likely email you on a Monday. Nobody wants their weekend ruined with potentially bad news.

5 Expect your lawyer to be child-focused

If your children are involved, find a lawyer who’s very child-focused. While divorce proceedings are going on, effective co-parenting can be a challenge. Especially when the other parent is a narcissist. Narcissists are incapable of anything but lip service where their kids are concerned, so you need an effective legal strategy to deal with this.

6 Get extensive documentation

Narcissists lie constantly. Even under oath. You might need to prove it, so keep documentary evidence of everything.

7 Don’t lose your cool

No matter how outrageous your ex’s demands or behaviour, if it causes you to blow your top, you’ll be the one who looks like a nutjob. Keep your cool.

8 Get ready for the long-haul

At first, your ex’s charm might convince the whole world that they’re the victim and you’re the monster. But they can’t keep that up forever. You’ll eventually be able to prove that they’re lying. But this could take some time. Be prepared for a marathon.

9 Make them feel like they won

Let’s face it, simply getting divorced from a narcissist is a win in itself. You get to move on with your life. Put your emotions to one side and look at your divorce with a business person’s head on.

No one’s advocating financial ruin, but if your win costs you more in cash, time and emotional distress than whatever you actually ‘won’, then you lost.

10 Get a great team behind you

Get all the support you can. That means friends and family (although not your ex’s family), a counsellor and a great family lawyer.

Here at Manders Law, we understand that costs can rise steeply when you have a narcissist on the other side. We can use our vast experience to help you get through that, ignore the ‘white noise’ and focus on the issues that matter.

For an initial FREE consultation, call us on 01245 895 105 or email us at enquiries@manderslaw.com

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