It’s estimated that anywhere between 0.5% and 5% of the US population are narcissists. These individuals have inflated egos and often manipulate those around them to get what they want. Unfortunately, this often leads to marriage problems. Getting a divorce from a narcissist comes with many potential issues. It’s essential to safeguard yourself during the divorce process. We’ve put together a brief guide on how to protect yourself when divorcing a narcissist.
Let’s dive in.
Understand What to Expect
This is one of the most important steps to consider when getting a divorce. Put simply, divorcing a narcissist will be a stressful process.
They will likely attempt to bully and manipulate you while the divorce is ongoing. Narcissists are also prone to exhibiting cruel behavior.
They’ll do whatever they can to make your life more difficult. For example, they might tell your children that you’re filing for divorce because you don’t love them in an attempt to turn them against you.
There are few limits to how malicious narcissists can be. You should also anticipate their refusal to cooperate.
They do this to maintain at least some semblance of control over the situation. As long as you expect these scenarios, they’ll be easier to deal with when they arise.
Narcissists typically encroach on boundaries for the sake of it. Unfortunately, they won’t stop this behavior until concrete limits are set.
Be clear about what you won’t tolerate. Once you establish a boundary, it’s essential to stick to it. If you show them that they can sway your opinion, they’ll take advantage of every chance they get.
Create a Support System
Even brief encounters with a narcissist can be draining. If you communicate with a narcissistic ex-spouse on a regular basis, you might find it difficult to function. This could cause you to fall behind at work, miss out on social opportunities, etc.
Establish a solid support system made up of friends and family members. Speak with them about your situation and the experiences you’ve been dealing with. These conversations can also help you identify other forms of manipulative behavior.
If this doesn’t seem to do the trick, get in touch with a therapist. There are many who specialize in helping patients deal with the aftermath of a divorce.
Get Everything in Writing
Narcissists are well-known for their tendency to lie. They often change their stories, and they have no qualms about using deception to get what they want.
At times, they can be so convincing that you begin doubting your own beliefs. For instance, you may have had an in-person conversation with them about the trajectory of the divorce. At the end of the talk, you felt as though they understood the situation.
The next time you saw them, they denied everything they said and attempted to blame you for misconstruing their words. By keeping a written record of everything they say, they can’t rewrite history.
To streamline this process, only communicate with them over email or text. This allows you to easily archive your conversations.
If you need to meet with them in person, bring multiple witnesses with you. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have someone record the interaction, as well.
Whatever you do, don’t speak with them alone. A brief interaction like this could be all they need to turn the tides in their favor.
Don’t Blame Yourself
When divorcing a narcissist, people often begin to feel like the situation is their fault. With enough input from their former partner, they might truly believe they’re the cause of the problems. Avoid entertaining thoughts like these, because they’re exactly what the narcissist wants.
While it’s true that divorces can have blame on both sides, a narcissist will always deflect their share of accountability. Watch out for this behavior, as it can help you recognize manipulation.
A common example could involve someone speaking calmly and respectfully while simultaneously saying that you’re to blame. Keep in mind that their behavior stems from you damaging their ego by filing for divorce. So, it’s a form of retribution.
If possible, you should keep all contact to a minimum. The less you interact with them, the better.
Don’t Give In
Narcissists thrive on knowing their tactics work. They prey upon signs of weakness and will continue their behavior until you reach a breaking point.
In contrast, getting no reaction infuriates them. Although this will make them try harder to manipulate you, it will also convey their behavior is ineffective. Once they realize they can’t control you, they’ll be less likely to try.
This is because narcissists hate when their negative traits are illuminated. Someone exposed for attempted manipulation will typically retreat. From here, they’ll minimize communication with the other person.
Work with a Reputable Lawyer
Hiring the right attorney is essential when it comes to protecting yourself from a narcissist. They have the tools and resources to help you navigate your divorce appropriately.
When searching for an attorney, look at their past reputation. This will provide insight into their level of experience. There should be no shortage of positive reviews.
Pay close attention to their pricing structure, as well. The last thing you want is to deal with financial surprises after a stressful divorce.
Do they seem interested in helping you meet your goals? Continue your search until you find a lawyer who’s passionate about achieving a favorable outcome. If you do your due diligence, you shouldn’t have problems finding the right option.
Don’t Overlook How to Protect Yourself When Divorcing a Narcissist
Narcissists will often do almost anything to get what they want. This is especially true if they feel infringed upon.
Divorcing a narcissist will likely trigger them and could lead to erratic behavior. As long as you understand how to protect yourself when divorcing a narcissist, you can navigate this process smoothly and put your problems behind you.
Ready to get started? Reach out to a representative today at Blake & Schanbacher Law. Our professional team is ready to assess your needs and connect you with the best solutions.