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Divorcing From a Narcissist: What You Need to Know

The process of a divorce is never easy. Not on you, not on your spouse, and of course, not on your children. This is true even with the simplest of situations, such as an uncontested divorce where the former spouses remain on the same page throughout the process. With that said, sometimes divorce is indeed the only option. And when your spouse is a narcissist, the entire process can be even more stressful. Here is what you need to know about narcissism and divorce.

Narcissism is a personality disorder and can often be linked back to other personality disorders. A narcissist or someone who exhibits narcissistic behaviour has one thing at the forefront of their minds: themselves. The attention that they crave is such that no person will ever be able to satisfy that craving. They create divisions between friends and family members, manipulate your feelings and day-to-day situations to serve their egos, and of course, they lie uncontrollably. Removing yourself from a home life that had you engulfed in someone else’s narcissism is one of the hardest things anyone can do. And everything that we just listed can make the divorce process even more complex and emotionally taxing. However, there are ways that you can protect yourself and ensure that you are in the best possible position throughout the divorce process.  

When you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’re taking a firm stand against the unacceptable and abusive behaviour that has been directed at you. You are putting yourself first and rejecting all the wrongdoings that your spouse has initiated. It is a show of self-respect. If you share children with your spouse, you must do your best to shield your children from any behaviour that can cause them continued distress. There will most likely be difficult conversations that have to take place, and it is important to remember that you do not need to face these conversations alone. Your lawyer can offer strategies to help you legally protect yourself in such circumstances, and you can seek the support of a counsellor or therapist that specializes in behavioural and personality disorders. Either way, know that there are people out there who can help. Therapists or counsellors can also help you talk to your children about your divorce and assess them mentally and emotionally after living in a household under the rule of a narcissist. Remember, your children’s health, happiness, and well-being are always of the utmost importance. There is no shame in seeking the support and help you both may need.

The most important tip, by far, is to surround yourself with a support system of loving familiar faces. Often in a narcissistic relationship, your spouse can successfully extricate you from your previous social circle, including even the closest of friends and family. When you’re deep in the dynamics and abusive cycle of a narcissistic partner’s behaviour, you will most likely not see the full effect of the changes in those relationships, and it may mean that some outreach will need to take place. Taking that first step can be daunting, but it is one of the most beneficial and vital steps you can take in the divorce process. Everyone needs a support system that they trust and can count on.

It can be emotionally taxing and exceptionally daunting to undergo the potentially lengthy and very involved divorce process. Remember, this is not your fault. Blaming yourself helps no one. All you can do now is move forward and protect yourself and your family as you work to heal. Parting ways and severing ties are among the healthiest and best decisions you can make for yourself in the long run. Not to mention, now that you have seen the signs of narcissistic behaviour, you will be more well-versed on what to look for as you begin to meet new people down the road. Therefore, you can better protect yourself.  

If you need a trusted and experienced legal representative, the team at Gelman & Associates is here for you. Contact us today via our website, and one of our seasoned lawyers will be in touch with you.

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