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narcissistic exes

Dealing with a Narcissistic Ex

Going through a break up through separation or divorce is never easy, and it’s even worse when an ex is a narcissist.  Because narcissists often initially come across as model citizens, often even charming, the spouse of a narcissist might not have even picked up on the narcissism.

Slowly, though, the façade melts away to reveal a person who believes the world revolves around them. They may accuse their spouse of preventing them from fulfilling their dreams or claim that they controlled and manipulated every aspect of their life.  While a divorce might have been the best thing, it likely only brought out the worst in a narcissistic ex.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people with narcissistic personality disorder almost always have a fragile sense of self-esteem. One of the symptoms of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their grandiose sense of self-importance, validation, and entitlement. 

Some of the notable narcissistic traits of a narc are excessive need for admiration and superficial and toxic relationships. They typically display a lack of empathy and might also use emotional abuse tactics like gaslighting, which can eventually lead to the spouses experiencing mental health problems of their own. 

At Gelman & Associates, we often help clients who find themselves in a challenging situation with a narcissistic ex or soon-to-be-ex. Our team of experienced and compassionate family lawyers who deal with narcissists has helped numerous clients who wish to leave difficult situations. We regularly provide forward-thinking legal advice. If necessary, we are not afraid to get tough in negotiations or in court.

Get some tips on how to deal with a narcissistic ex-partner by reading this post.

Learn How to Deal with a Narcissistic Ex

Get some tips on how to deal with a narcissistic ex by reading this post.

Learn How to Deal with a Narcissistic Ex

Some Tips for Dealing with a Narcissistic Ex

Understand Them

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is a commonly uttered phrase. The same approach applies to a narcissistic ex. Narcissists often like to portray themselves as the victim, which puts their spouse in the position of a villain, when they are the ones experiencing narcissistic abuse.

Spouses of narcissists must also know that logic holds no value for someone who will completely ignore reason to get their way.  It won’t matter how facts are presented if they don’t work for the narcissist’s agenda.

Don’t Stoop to Their Level

The narcissist may try to bait the spouse during necessary communications, such as discussions about their children’s schedules. They may be insulting, criticizing, or constantly trying to start an argument.

Spouses of narcissists should not try to defend themselves or negate what is being said. They should stay calm and unemotional and simply ignore anything that doesn’t have to do with the matter at hand.

Don’t Do Them Any Favours

Narcissists are toxic people who thrive on constantly taking from people who always give. Unfortunately, this means they usually don’t give back. If a person allows their narcissistic ex to think they are a pushover, the ex will only continue to take advantage.

Boundaries should be set, and spouses should be prepared to dig in their heels and stand their ground.  Setting clear boundaries can limit the extreme emotional disturbance that arises when dealing with a narcissist and can help provide some much-needed structure for children.

Know That You Can’t Change Them

A spouse may have tried to amend the behavior of their narcissistic partner when they were still in a relationship, and it didn’t work. Therefore, spouses should ask themselves whether their ex could possibly change after they are no longer together.

One of the red flags of narcissism is that they will never put other people before their own needs or play by the same rules that everyone else does and will therefore likely never amend their behaviour. This should be top of mind for anyone dealing with a narcissistic ex and should inform their strategy in moving forward.

  • Narcissists Always ...

    • Manipulate others to gain an advantage.
    • Hunger for affirmation.
    • See others as threats to their success or well-being.

  • Narcissists Never ...

    • Apologize or admit they’re wrong.
    • Allow themselves to be open-minded.
    • See beyond their own self-interests or desires.

Schedule Your Responses

A narcissist expects immediate responses to their text messages and phone calls. Instead of immediately replying, which can normalize their behaviour, wait before responding. 

After getting a text, start by waiting for 15 minutes before you answer and then work up to a 12 to 24 hour response time. Doing so can set more appropriate expectations.

Don’t Fall for Their Love Bombings

Love bombing is the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction. A narcissist uses flattery and attention to seemingly express they love you. Love bombing is part of their mind games.

After a divorce, your ex may send you these love bombs. These text messages or gifts can come when you least expect them, and if you are hoping for reconciliation, they can be dangerous. 

Ignore these types of messages and gifts, and don’t think that your narcissistic partner somehow had a sudden change of heart. They might only be sending such things because your ex feels lonely and, because you used to be a source of comfort, they are looking for attention from you. It might even be best to have no contact with your abusive partner at all.

  • Narcissists Always
    • Manipulate others to gain an advantage.
    • Hunger for affirmation.
    • See others as threats to their success or well-being.
  • Narcissists Never 
    • Apologize or admit they’re wrong.
    • Allow themselves to be open-minded.
    • See beyond their own self-interests or desires.

Gelman & Associates:  Compassionate Family Lawyers Advising Clients on How to Deal with Narcissistic Exes

Ending an abusive relationship is complicated. Going through a separation or divorce with a narcissistic ex can be downright exhausting.  That’s why, at Gelman & Associates, we offer a free consultation with a psychological professional if required.  We have the legal knowledge to ensure you are receiving sound legal advice, and we want you to have the same peace of mind when it comes to your well-being.  We are conveniently located in Aurora, Barrie, Downtown Toronto, Mississauga, North York, and Scarborough. Call us at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-736-0200 or contact us online.

FAQs on Narcissistic Exes

Encouraging a healthy way of communication between your narcissistic ex can make your separation more bearable and less stressful. Do not engage or respond to insulting jabs or other offensive comments. Be straightforward and reply with yes or no answers. Do not encourage unhealthy discussions by defending yourself or insulting him back.

If your children are visiting your narcissistic ex, no doubt they are being exposed to toxic and unhealthy beliefs and manners. The best way to counter this problem is by parallel parenting. Build a safe and healthy home for your kids. Do not make it so it looks confrontational in your child’s eye, like showing how things work in your home vs how things are in your ex’s. Just teach your kids empathy, appropriate boundaries, the safety of expressing real feelings, and vulnerability as a show of strength instead of a weakness.

Narcissists have trouble understanding boundaries. If you won’t do anything, they will take and take to people who have no problems about giving. Setting boundaries early on establishes that you are not someone they can manipulate into doing what they want. Stick to plans and do not tolerate any adjustments they are proposing if you are not on board with them.

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