What's harder than being married to a narcissist? Divorcing one. If you find yourself in this situation, prepare for a long, arduous affair. Getting through the process won't be easy, but if you plan accordingly and have an experienced divorce attorney, you have a better chance of surviving the divorce process and thriving afterward.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissism can vary in degree depending on the person. On the extreme end of the spectrum, narcissism is a disorder because of the toxic levels of vanity, entitlement, and exploitativeness. Although each narcissist will exhibit different traits, the disorder's underlying theme is that these people have a distorted self-view. They believe that they are more important than those around them while disregarding their flaws.
According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V), to be diagnosed with NPD, a patient must display at least five of the following behaviors over a period of time:
- has an exaggerated sense of self-importance—has feelings of entitlement and self-centeredness and exaggerates achievements and talents
- preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal romance
- believes they're special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
- requires constant attention and admiration from others
- has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
- exploitive—takes advantage of others to meet their own needs/reach their own goals
- lacks empathy—cannot recognize others' feelings and needs
- often envious of others or believes other people are envious of them
- grandiosity—shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes
Only a medical professional can diagnose NPD, but your spouse may still have narcissistic tendencies. In either case, this can make the divorce battle ahead an extremely difficult one.
Narcissists During Divorce
The divorce itself will be an uphill battle because a narcissist always needs to be right. More likely than not, a narcissist will fight you on child support, property division, and alimony. It's not uncommon for them to try and hide assets and income, too. Keep the tips below in mind as you go through this journey.
Hire a Quality Lawyer
Hire the best attorney you can if you're ending a marriage with a narcissist. You need a Fort Worth divorce lawyer who is accustomed to dealing with narcissists and high-conflict divorces. When interviewing attorneys, inform them of your spouse's diagnosis or narcissistic behavior, and ask if they have experience dealing with them. Continue searching until you find the right fit.
If you can afford to do so, ask your attorney to take over most or all of the important communications with your spouse to reduce some of the emotional burdens associated with your ex.
Begin Gathering Evidence
Start collecting evidence that will make your case stronger. Bank statements, mortgage documents, and any proof that your spouse has been abusive or unfaithful can work in your favor if you want a reasonable alimony payment or need an order or protection. Narcissists will often try to hide this information, and you need to know what you're entitled to.
Do Not Go Through the Divorce Alone
A support system is critical. Lean on your friends and family, but do not be shy about getting help from professionals. Speak to a therapist or someone in the mental health field that can provide guidance on how to deal with a narcissist and avoid becoming unnerved during your divorce.
Helping to Make Your Family Matters Less Stressful
Divorcing someone who is a narcissist can be incredibly challenging and emotionally draining. A qualified Fort Worth divorce attorney can help you navigate through the process while taking on the legal burdens so that you can focus on yourself and your family. Contact Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress to set up a consultation, and rest easy knowing you'll have the resources to take the next steps in your divorce.