The term narcissist is trendy and overused, but it is unfortunately the reality in a lot of divorce cases. If you are divorcing a narcissist, you need to be prepared to deal with the challenges.

The types of issues you had to put up with during the marriage are the same kind of problems you will have to deal with one last time in divorce for the sake of freedom.

How to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship with a Narcissist

Some people are uncertain whether they’re dealing with a narcissist. Some signs include:

  • Your spouse is mean and says hurtful things
  • There’s a lack of accountability
  • Frequent gaslighting
  • Your spouse is not supportive
  • Your spouse tries to keep their assets separate

Whether or not your spouse can be technically diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, if they exhibit bullying, self-centered behavior, you need to be prepared as you approach divorce.

Resolve the Emotional Issues Before Making Legal Moves

Things can get harsh and even violent in the process of ending a toxic relationship. The first step is to make sure you’re really ready to accept what is happening and why your spouse is the way they are. That includes taking responsibility for how you ended up in the relationship. You may have pictured yourself filling a void in your spouse’s life and finally have to realize that you cannot heal them.

Make certain you’re over it and ready to move on to a fresh start. Just to get to this point often requires a lot of support from family, friends, and spiritual advisers, and you will continue to need that support. The process of legally ending the relationship will not just simmer down to a simple exchange of documents.

Get Ready for a Fight

Your spouse probably still likes being in the relationship—to them, it’s a fine arrangement. Your rejection is going to trigger a very angry response that may manifest itself in surprising ways.

For instance, your spouse may not want to pay child support, so suddenly they’re going to become the best parent ever, changing their approach so they can get custody. They might try to hide assets so that you can’t gain access to them. Or they may demand alimony, claiming that they became accustomed to a lifestyle that you provided for them.

This delusional attitude makes it hard to negotiate a settlement because you need a rational being on the other side of the negotiation table. You need someone who can understand the legal rules the court would apply so you can use those rules to reach a decision. But a narcissist usually cannot take that rational approach (which saves time and money). Instead, they’re wrapped up in their own little emotional world. They will try to drag out the case for you, which makes it more expensive. Have your divorce money ready to go.

It’s always good to propose agreements to settle issues, but be prepared to fight if your spouse is only willing to take but not to give. Sometimes, when you have a spouse who is concerned about money, pointing out the legal fees that can be saved by settlement can encourage them to settle. You might point out that saving $20,000 in legal fees pays for a year of college for your child.

By knowing what to expect from the divorce process, you can save yourself a lot of grief.

Work with a Divorce Attorney Who Understands How to Handle a Narcissist

In the end, remember that this is all about your freedom. It’s not about their behavior. Once you are settled on your decision to move forward, it’s time to buckle up and get started.

At Carmiece Graves Law, we serve clients in Largo, Upper Marlboro, and beyond. We can develop a legal strategy that takes into account the gaslighting, the delusions, and the delays–a strategy that anticipates what’s likely to happen. If the process moves forward faster, that’s fantastic. But preparing yourself for a long and difficult battle can ease you down the road to victory. Contact us today to get started.