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Divorcing a narcissist: Understanding the road ahead

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Divorce

The divorce rate is fairly low in New Jersey, just 2.2 per 1,000 people, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Even so, going through a divorce is tough. It gets even more complex when you’re divorcing someone with narcissistic traits.

Dealing with a person who exhibits narcissistic traits often makes negotiations and agreements very difficult. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to know what you might be up against.

The unique challenges of divorcing a narcissist

Divorcing a narcissist comes with its own set of difficulties that test your emotions and patience. Here are some of the common challenges you face when going through divorce with a narcissist:

  • Tricky control tactics. Narcissists often use tricky tactics to stay in charge, especially during a divorce. They might try to control negotiations, spread lies or emotionally manipulate things to go their way.
  • Lots of drama. Divorcing a narcissist often means there is a lot of fighting and drama. They might like causing confusion and problems, which makes it hard to talk and agree on things calmly.
  • Not much empathy or cooperation. Narcissists usually struggle with understanding others and cooperating, which makes divorcing them difficult. Their self-centered attitude makes it hard to discuss property division, child custody and financial arrangements.

Co-parenting with a narcissist is often quite challenging. They might prioritize their own interests over the well-being of the children, potentially leading to disputes over custody arrangements and parenting decisions.

Strategies for handling divorce with a narcissist

Even though divorcing a narcissist is a big challenge, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your feelings during this time. Keep good notes about all the things you both say and agree on. Establish clear boundaries and maintain them. Try to keep your focus on the divorce’s practical aspects, such as financial settlements and custody arrangements. It is especially important to minimize emotional engagement in unnecessary conflicts. Remember to lean on friends, family, therapists or support groups for help.

Divorcing a narcissist may be an uphill battle, but staying calm and not engaging in arguments will go a long way toward helping you maintain your well-being along the way. Don’t bring up narcissism in the courtroom, as you are not a psychologist and cannot diagnose the issue, but stay aware and work to head off the problems that are likely to arise.


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