If being married to a narcissist is miserable, divorcing one can be even worse, if you don’t know how to manage it.
Narcissists are all about controlling everyone around them and projecting a carefully maintained image as the perfect spouse. When their spouse challenges that image by filing for divorce, the narcissist tends to go straight to victim mode. Often, they will lash out against their ex by spreading lies. They might falsely claim their spouse cheated on them, is a bad or abusive parent, or has a drug addiction. They may also twist the divorce process to “punish” you by demanding an unreasonable share of the marital property or an unfair child custody plan.
Taking power away from a narcissist ex-spouse
You don’t have to accept this abusive behavior or give your ex everything they claim to want in your divorce. Here are strategies for dealing with a divorce from a narcissist, as discussed in Psychology Today.
- Don’t engage. Avoid the urge to refute your ex’s claims or fire back at them. It will only escalate the lies. Stay on the high road and stick to the truth.
- Focus on what you can deal with. Keep notes about every lie your ex tells. Let your divorce attorney know what is going on. Your lawyer will adjust strategy accordingly.
- Don’t dwell on the past, at least for now. The time to reflect on how you ended up in a marriage with a narcissist is later, when the divorce is final. Right now, focus on maintaining your mental health and getting the best possible settlement or court decision.
- Find support. Turn to your loved ones and friends who know your ex is spouting lies. A therapist can also help you process your feelings.
Divorce is never easy, but divorcing someone with a personality disorder like narcissism can make it even more difficult. But you can get through it with the help of an experienced attorney.