December 5

10 Tips for How You Can “Win” When Divorcing A Narcissist

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dealing with divorce, divorce and emotional health, divorce blog, high conflict divorce


Narcissists love to win. Divorce, to them, is a game. That makes divorcing them in any reasonable kind of way extremely challenging. Their expectations are usually unrealistic. They don’t feel a need to compromise. Even if you don’t think of your divorce as a game, at some point you can’t help but wonder how you can win when divorcing a narcissist?

Narcissistic man combing his hair and gazing into a mirror. How to win when divorcing a narcissist?Understanding Your Narcissistic Spouse

Before you can even think of resolving your divorce with a narcissist you first have to understand who you’re dealing with.  That means you need to know a little bit about narcissism itself.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Narcissistic personality disorder … is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

According to the DSM, narcissists often display these symptoms, among others:

  • They have a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  • They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  • Narcissists believe that they are “special” and that normal rules don’t apply to them.
  • They require excessive admiration.
  • They have a very strong sense of entitlement and unreasonable expectations.
  • Narcissists have no problem exploiting others.
  • They lack empathy (even for their own children).
  • They are often arrogant.

Narcissists are also highly reactive to criticism, can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive, react to contrary viewpoints with anger and rage, and project onto others the negative traits they can’t accept in themselves. 

They also love drama.

All of these qualities make your typical narcissist a nightmare in court.

Ace of Hearts with a Broken heart on top of King and Queen of SpadesHow You Can “Win” When Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a narcissist is usually expensive, ugly, and exhausting. Narcissists are usually high maintenance and high conflict spouses. If you want to know how you can “win” when divorcing a narcissist, it starts with redefining what “winning” is.

In a normal divorce, most reasonable people would define “winning” as reaching an amicable and reasonably fair settlement as quickly and inexpensively as possible. When you’re divorcing a narcissist, however, “winning” often means simply coming out of your divorce alive!

Narcissists define the word “fair” only as what’s fair to them. They don’t care whether a settlement is fair to you. As a matter of fact, if a settlement is fair to you, then, by definition, they believe it is unfair to them!

Narcissists also typically don’t care how long their divorce takes, or how much it costs. As a matter of fact, the more expensive and time consuming it is, the easier it is for them to play the victim. Often, the longer your divorce takes, the more your narcissistic spouse feels s/he is winning.

Even though “winning” in the normal sense of the word may be impossible when you’re divorcing a narcissist, if you define “winning” as getting the best resolution possible without spending your life’s savings and destroying your kids, then winning your divorce becomes achievable.

 

 10 Crucial Steps You Need To Take When Divorcing a Narcissist

 1. Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney.

Do NOT try to get divorced without an attorney! No matter what your spouse says in the beginning, your divorce is not going to be easy or amicable. You need your own lawyer to guide you through this!

You also need to get an attorney who knows what s/he is doing! Hiring a lawyer who just graduated from law school three months ago simply because s/he will cut you a break on price is a bad idea!

Hiring a shark attorney is also a bad idea! While you may think you need a super aggressive attorney to put your narcissistic spouse in his/her place, the truth is the opposite. Narcissists love conflict! They love to fight. An aggressive lawyer will just fan the flames of the fire – at an enormous cost to you!

What you need is a reasonable, realistic divorce attorney who can fight when s/he needs to and back down when doing that makes more sense. You need someone who will help you create a solid strategy, and then will help you execute that strategy step by step, one step at a time.

defendant with lawyer speaking to a judge in the courtroom2. Assume the Best but Prepare for the Worst.

Don’t assume that the judge will see through your narcissistic spouse just because you do. Narcissists are charming. Your narcissist is GOING to charm the judge! (… at least at first. .) Remember, you were drawn in by your narcissistic spouse’s behavior, too!

You also want to be careful not to let yourself get sucked into blindly trusting your spouse, either in or out of court. While you don’t want to make your divorce harder by refusing to believe anything your spouse says, you also don’t want to get taken to the cleaners either.

How do you walk the line between being paranoid and being careful? You start small, and you keep your eyes and ears open. Make a small agreement with your spouse. See if s/he keeps his/her end of the deal. Meanwhile, pay attention to what’s happening around you. Don’t just listen to what your spouse says. Watch what your spouse does. That will tell you much more.

(HINT: Just so you know, everyone blows this step at first. Everyone slammed by their narcissistic spouse at least once, and usually a couple of times. The goal here is not to be perfect. It’s to minimize your damage. Getting taken a couple of times sucks. Getting taken a hundred times not only sucks, but it can end up costing you everything you’ve got.)

3. Document EVERYTHING!

Narcissists lie. All. The. Time. Do NOT assume that your narcissistic spouse is going to tell the truth in court just because s/he swore to do so under oath! Also do not assume that if your spouse lies s/he is going to get caught, charged with perjury, and go to prison for the rest of his/her life. In the real world, that hardly ever happens. This is not T.V.

If you want to show that your narcissistic spouse is lying, you need to prove it!  That means that you’ve got to document everything.

Put all of your conversations with your spouse in writing. Use email and text messaging as much as possible. Both of those forms of communication leave trails behind. They will save you from getting mired in a “he said/she said” battle in court.

Not only do you have to document your conversations, but you have to organize them as well. All the documentation in the world is unless if you can’t find the documents when you need when you need them.

Finally, do yourself a favor. Do NOT give all of your documentation to your lawyer all of the time. Unless you want to pay your lawyer thousands of dollars to review documents that ultimately may not matter, only give him/her the documents s/he needs or asks you to produce.

4. Make a Plan. 

Part of what makes a narcissist’s tactics so successful is that s/he purposely does things to throw you off balance and make you question yourself.  Divorce itself also throws you off balance and makes you question yourself. When you put those two things together, it’s often hard to keep your feet on the floor and stop your head from spinning.

Setting your goals and making a plan to achieve them can keep you grounded. It points you in the right direction from the start.

If you can make a plan for your divorce BEFORE you are up to your ears in craziness, you have a much greater chance of getting through your divorce in some kind of rational way.

(Of course, divorcing a narcissist rarely goes as planned. Even still, just starting with a plan puts you way ahead of the game!)

Close up of dart in a bulls eye: how you can win when you're divorcing a narcissist5. Act, Don’t React.

If you want to know how you can win when divorcing a narcissist, you start by keeping your own emotions under control. The more you react to your spouse’s craziness, the more your spouse wins.

When your narcissistic spouse does something outrageous, if you react by screaming, crying, raging or acting like an emotional basket case, YOU become the one who looks crazy. Don’t let yourself lose your cool in court, or go crazy in front of your kids.

If you are having trouble controlling your emotions on your own, get a therapist! Not only can you vent to your therapist, but s/he can also provide you with valuable insight into your spouse’s behavior as well. That, alone, can be worth millions.

Another way to get yourself out of reaction mode is to start by having a clear plan of action with your spouse from the start.  Take the time to set goals. Decide on a plan of action. To the best of your ability, follow your plan. Sure, plans change. You will probably have to change your plan multiple times. But at least if you have a plan, you have some chance of being in the driver’s seat in your divorce.

 

6. Prepare Yourself for a Marathon.

Divorcing a narcissist usually takes a long, long time. Believe it or not, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

When you first start your divorce, things may not go well for you. (Sorry!)Your spouse may charm the judge, the lawyers, your friends and maybe even your family. S/he may convince everyone that s/he has been abused, victimized and totally taken advantage of. Meanwhile, your spouse will paint you as a monster.

But it’s hard to keep up that kind of an act forever. Eventually, your spouse’s stories will start to crack. If you have been documenting everything properly, you will be able to prove that your spouse is lying. When that happens, the tide may start to shift. Those who thought you were crazy may start to change their opinion.

At the same time, staying the course for years can take a huge toll on you.  That’s why you have to start with the idea that your divorce will probably be a marathon. Play the long game. Take care of yourself! You need to eat right, exercise, and try to get some sleep. Most of all, be kind to yourself.  What you’re going through is really rough! Don’t make it worse by beating yourself up for not being perfect.

White figures holding up letters that spell "Support" - Divorce Support Groups.7. Put Together a Strong Support Team.

When you’re going through a difficult, high-conflict divorce, you need all the support you can get. To get that support, you need to put together a strong team. You need people who will listen to you, support you, and help keep you sane.

So, who should be on your support team? Start with good friends and family. (NOTE: You probably shouldn’t include your spouse’s family on your support team. It doesn’t matter whether  they like you better. Blood is thicker than water. You don’t have to dump them. Just don’t count on them to be in your “inner circle” of support.)

A good support team should also include good divorce professionals. You already know that you need a good divorce lawyer. You also need a good therapist. But you may need other professionals as well.

Your kids may need their own therapist. Depending upon your circumstances, you may also want to enlist help for your kids from their teachers or counselors. If you have financial issues, you will probably benefit from having a financial planner. All of these people and more can help you get through your divorce in the best way possible. Remember, it takes a village.

8. Create Ways For The Narcissist To “Win.”

 Yes, I know this one sounds crazy! It also can be hard to do. It takes a lot of creativity and planning to create situations that meet your needs, while still allowing your narcissistic spouse to feel like s/he “won.”  But doing that can be one of the most effective ways to put your divorce behind you – and maybe even on terms that are sort of reasonable!

Remember, narcissists need to win. If you can get your own ego out of the way and let them win, you win too. (Don’t forget: getting divorced from a narcissist can be a “win” itself. You end the craziness. You get to move on with your life.)

Obviously, this strategy has its limits. You can’t become a doormat or put yourself into financial ruin just to get divorced. (Okay, you can. But it’s not a great idea.)

But, if you get your own emotions out of the way, you can analyze your divorce from a business perspective. If “winning” costs you more in time, money, and heartache than whatever it was that you won, then you lost. If “winning” your divorce messes up your kids so badly that they need to be in therapy for the rest of their lives, then you lost.

Sometimes, keeping the big picture in mind will allow you to let your narcissistic spouse “win” so that really, you do, too.

9. Minimize Contact Between You and Your Spouse.

The less you have to see and deal with your spouse, the easier your divorce will be. The trouble is that your narcissistic spouse isn’t likely to waltz quietly into the sunset so you can have some peace.

S/he will refuse to move out of the house. If you have kids together s/he will call and text you incessantly about your kids. S/he will also make every visitation exchange a challenge.

To minimize the drama in your divorce you need to separate from your spouse as quickly as possible. Once you do, eliminate as much face-to-face and telephone contact as you can. Do everything via email and text.

Also, keep a record of every email and text. (See #3, above!) You never know when the documentation you’re keeping will come in handy. (If your spouse starts claiming that you falsified his/her emails, start using a parenting app like Our Family Wizard or CoParently.

10. Make (and Enforce) Strong Boundaries.

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that identify the ways that people must treat you.

Narcissists usually have a problem respecting other people’s boundaries. That’s because their own sense of self (and of self-worth) is so shaky that they often see others (i.e. YOU!) as nothing more than an extension of themselves. If you’ve been married to a narcissist for any length of time, chances are that the boundaries between you have started to blur in many ways.

Establishing and enforcing strong boundaries with your narcissistic spouse during your divorce will start to separate you from your spouse. It will also help you save both your sanity and your dignity.

The more you allow your narcissistic spouse to treat you badly during your divorce, the more painful your divorce will be. What’s more, if you continue to allow yourself to be treated like dirt, eventually the judge (and even your lawyer!) will start to lose respect for you. That makes it even less likely that you will get what you want and need out of your divorce.

Divorcing a Narcissist Isn’t Easy

Trying to win when divorcing a narcissist is challenging. It often makes you redefine what “winning” really means to you.

“Winning” may end up being just getting through your divorce without going crazy. Or, it may mean doing your best to protect your kids so that you can raise them in a more positive environment.

Whatever “winning” means to you, know that it is possible to get through your divorce from a narcissist with your dignity and your sanity intact. It won’t be easy – and you certainly won’t end up getting everything you want. But, with enough time, patience, and support, you can do it.

______________

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        • Hi everyone
          Im sorry for all your pain been there did that !
          I going to tell you the conclusion I came to as far as winning in divorce a nark
          I was married over 30 years
          I had kids when I entered that so called marriage I found out during divorce he was gay seeking men and many other things although I had proff my lawyer didn’t bring 1paper to mediation so I knew then I was wasting my time trying to get a far deal he was over 60 years old and brought his daddy to do his talking for him but resented when I bought my kids the ice cream flavor they like but wait more news I got ssi on my kids cuz there dad died he paid nothing for my kids but yet managed to spend all the money while he made $6. Hr in the beginning of our life
          I wasn’t looking for dollar signs just a kind loving man he had me so fooled my kids really think I knew what he was doing but I can’t seem to prove it to them
          I moved where he wanted with promises from his family they would help me with our handicapped child not to mention when he was a couple of months old we went to bd party and I had his arms showing outside his blanket my husband quickly covered his arms up so I got mad and thru the blanket away to make a point that was the child god blessed me with not an embarrassment !!
          Then I also find out during divorce he’s a bigamist I’m number 10
          That made not difference to any lawyers they turned it into a joke !!
          So I threw some papers on there desk where it showed he was seeking men and agreed to their offer knowing I was going to get nothing but to my way of looking at it
          “ I DID WIN “
          Keep that in mind life is not always about money
          I won because I’m rid of him his ugly violence lying ugly comments and using us to hurt to feel better about his self the clam and peace I have now took time to get use to and yes he still stocks us no matter how many restraints orders I filed I don’t react because that’s what he wants he wants to see me in court to see my reaction there is none all I have is indifference while his dad and sister run his life tell him where to live and give him allowance really at over 60 years old
          I told him every step of this journey to make agreement for both of us to get half he did but on the last day his daddy had lawyers recall it I expected it
          He’s not a man will never be a man he is only a shell that the devil has him wondering the earth in
          I really wanted to believe after helping him built a empire mostly me and my kids doing the work while he stayed drunk popped zanex and smoked pot all day in his office
          I got nothing no alimony after 30 years no part of worth of business building land and much more that he stole deleting tickets and pocketing the money lying in tax returns misreporting everything unknown by me
          Thank god I never signed a loan paper or Corp tax report because his three lawyers tried to stick me with those debts didn’t work
          I did call fbi it’s and various places to report crimes and no one cared
          It was a nite mare my kids
          we’re verbally and mental abused anytime I wasn’t around to hear it
          I also had a child with him who died young and I had to call and make threats to get to hospital before his son died he could have cared less that’s a fact
          But I still won in my book
          Don’t you think !!

          • Married to my narcissist 42 years, she had no income, I had a good pension and savings. She got half of everything from me, I got nothing from her. She didn’t know until after divorce that if I died before her that she would no longer get any pension. Now she wants to get back together, we were together for a long time. I still love her and wounder did she just divorce me to get half the pension and savings. Sever times she want power of attorney while we were married in case something happened to me, she couldn’t touch it. We owed no one so there was really no need for this.

            A lot more to the story than this.

      • Hello Karen im living in the same house with my soon to be x huband.He is now comming up with a crazy stategy. He wants paternity test on one of our child.i have changed attorneys 1 time already. Im feel unsafe and my attorney tells me to stay in control.i fear for my safety i think he might snap. He has made my kids belive i have destroyed our family. I WANT TO LEAVE but afraid he will use that againt me. WHAT do i do.

        • I can’t give you legal advice online. Since you have a lawyer, and you are paying for that lawyer’s advice, it makes sense to follow it. Or, if you don’t trust your lawyer’s advice, then it might be time to get a new divorce lawyer.

          If you feel unsafe in your home, then you need to take steps to protect yourself. I strongly recommend that you speak with a domestic violence organization in your area to get some tips on what you can do. If your husband has physically abused you, you may be able to get an Order of Protection. But if he hasn’t done anything to you physically, then that’s probably not an option for you.

          I wish you the best.

      • This is one of the most balanced and realistic articles I’ve read regarding divorcing a narcissist. It is EXTREMELY difficult to stay focused on the long term, when they’re threatening and doing everything they can to absolutely shut down any reasonable resolution. Once they truly realize you’re not coming back or not going to grovel to them, they have NO use for you, in any manner. There is no ROI and they will not give an inch unless they’re forced by law. If you think they’re coming forward with a reasonable offering, with no ulterior motive, beware, because that’s just not going to happen.
        Good Luck, God bless anyone who has to go through this, and don’t forget to look to a brighter future.
        Being abused by a narcissistic controller is not living. I tried. It didn’t work for me.

        • I thought with the divorce decree being signed off on my nightmare was over with my narcissistic ex husband. My alimony is incorrect so there is arrears that he will not pay me, it ends in six years and I will get a small amount from his pension if he would sign off on it. Since he’s not complying and I am getting more Legal fees is there a way to have him pay them?

          • I’m afraid that’s a legal question. You have to ask your attorney that one. Sorry.

            Karen

            PS I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but when you were married to a narcissist the nightmare can go on even long after your divorce is over! (Again, sorry.)

          • I wish that I had seen all of your recommendations sooner! It has been almost 4 years and hopefully this year will be a start of a new me, after almost 54 years of being married., 2 years of being stalked, plus 2 years of dating ; half were of being engaged.

      • I need help. I am
        Divorcing the KING of the narcissists – he is trying to bury me. I need counsel and I need this to be over so the kids and I can breathe! Five years now!

        • You’re absolutely right, you do need counsel! I only work in the Chicagoland area of Illinois, and I’m not even taking any new litigated cases right now. But I strongly suggest you start asking around and find yourself a good divorce attorney asap!

        • Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do that. The best way is through a word of mouth referral. If you know someone who divorced a narcissist and had a good divorce lawyer, that would be the best. You can also try Googling “divorce attorney near me” and “narcissism.” Then check out the attorneys’ websites to see if they mention anything about narcissism. If you can’t find anyone that way, you may simply have to interview a bunch of attorneys. It’s time-consuming but well worth the effort.

          Best,

          Karen

    • I have been married to my narcissist for 1 1/2 years now. Luckily I was able to acknowledge the red flags earlier than most. However, I am now 5 months pregnant with his first child (a daughter) and I’m terribly frightened of what might happen to her if it’s anything like what I have been dealing with. I first noticed that he was exceptionally jealous, which at first was endearing, but now I am accused on a daily basis of cheating on him (as if I’m out there slumming it my with huge pregnant belly). He constantly snoops through my phone and internet history (it was clear he did not trust me). He was/is very concerned about his “performance” in the bedroom and often wants me to refer to my ex’s, most especially how they were in bed and how his penis size compares to them. Then he started breaking things around our home/ my things (numerous doors, a baby gate, he threw a large yankee candle into my mirror that attaches to my dresser, knocked over both of my favorite lamps on purpose, stabbed my new car’s tire with a knife so I couldn’t leave, even ran his car into my new car). I also thought the lengths of our arguments were extended far beyond that of the norm (hours upon hours and sometimes through the night, not allowing me to sleep). We would get so close to what I thought would be a resolution when he’d say, “Just tell me X and we can be good”, and then start a whole other argument about something unrelated to the first argument just to keep going. No matter what I’d say, I seemed to always fall short. Excessive reassurance and constant questioning (much like that of the Spanish Inquisition) became the norm and left me feeling emotionally bankrupt when it came to my own self care.

      I made a plan to move all of my things out of our apartment and did so successfully one day while he was at work. Of course, at the time, he still had a hold on me and I ended up returning for a little over a month before things turned physical. He had shoved my before in the past and threatened to hit me, but now I am pregnant, and the fact that he knows that, and threw me to the ground twice causing numerous bruises, a laceration on my knee, and a possible mild concussion tells me he has no problem doing it again to myself, and our unborn child. The bruises were documented at the doctor’s office and hospital two days later. I made the decision to move into a shelter for battered women and children after failing to keep him from following me to my parents house and actually breaking in one night last week while I was sleeping (I woke up and he was standing over me and would not leave until I recanted my statement that it was over between us and I wanted a divorce). I have refrained from seeking an order of protection for harassment and stalking, as I am afraid of his retaliation, but at this point I see no other option. He’s always wanting rent money even though I no longer live there, but he refuses to take my name off the lease agreement because it’s based on both of our incomes and he needs mine in order to stay there. Suddenly it’s my problem that he went and bought himself a brand new vehicle and can no longer afford to pay for anything, even though it was against my advice (I myself drive a 20 year old vehicle which I bought and maintain myself without any help from him). I feel like I can’t get away from him. If I don’t answer my phone/ try to go no contact, I am contacted by one of his family members, or I’ll receive email from him, or he’ll show up at my parent’s house where I go when I’m not in the shelter. He will follow me in his car and beg me to come home, promising me that he’s a changed man (ya right) and things will be different.

      Now that I’m gearing up for divorce, I need to know what else I can do to keep my unborn daughter safe as I fight him in a custody battle. I’m so worried what will happen to her once she is born and if I’m not there to protect her during visits with him. His mother is no safer to be around than him so I don’t trust anyone in his family either.

      Any advice would be appreciated,
      Melissa

      • Melissa,

        I’m so sorry to hear what you’re dealing with! Unfortunately, the road you’re facing is a long and hard one. (Sorry!)

        If I were you, I would start right now by consulting with a good divorce lawyer (or two!) in your area. Make sure you hire a lawyer who understands, and has worked with, people who are divorcing narcissists. Learn everything you can about divorce and about narcissism. (If you want, you can check out my online divorce program, The Divorce Road Map 2.0.)

        Start working with a therapist who specializes in working with those in relationships with narcissists. You also might want to check out Tracy Malone’s videos on YouTube. She specializes in working with those who are divorcing, or have divorced, narcissists.

        You might also want to read: High Conflict People in Legal Disputes. Bill Eddy is the founder of the High Conflict Institute. His books are among the most helpful resources I’ve found for people dealing with narcissists.

        The more you can prepare yourself for divorcing a narcissist, the better off you will be. Make sure you document everything. Get all the support you can get.

        No matter what you do, the next 18 years are not going to be easy. But you WILL get through them!

        Good luck!

        Karen

    • wow, I’ve felt his vengance and cost before! tried to divorce me and challenge was so much, it was easier to stay with him, but i lost in ther long run.

  • Hi Karen,
    My wife of 20 plus years suddenly left me this year- blind sided. Many terrible false accusations and irrational behavior. As I have been going through this- I have came across the material you have spoke about referring to narcissism. Learning more about it. Somewhat shocked and bewildered over the symptoms and the very real possibility this is what I have been dealing with when I thought I just had a spouse that was high maintenance. Egg shell living and coping, constant state of self introspection- after all “I am the one with problems, anger, inconsistency, dishonesty and selfishness.” Wears you out. Granted, I am sure I had my part in unhappiness, but…. My question to you, have you ever seen a marriage reconciled when a spouse had narcissism disorder? See- for me, I take my vows pretty seriously- its a covenant and I still love her. The problem is that people with this disorder do not even seem to know what love is. Complicating matters- we have several children (she has them) that are affected negatively. My wife seems dead set on divorce, no counseling (never really had) and wants pretty much to keep the house. If I have no options- it’s best not to keep my name on any mortgage when a house is not awarded to me? Thank you for what you do.

    • You’ve packed a lot of questions in here. I’ll do my best to answer what I can.

      Your most important question seems to be whether a marriage with a narcissist can be reconciled. The answer is: it depends.

      First off, no marriage can be reconciled if one person is dead set on getting a divorce. It doesn’t matter whether your wife is a narcissist or not. If she refuses to work on the marriage and insists on getting a divorce, you can make it take longer or cost more. But you’re not going to stop her. (Sorry!)

      Second, even if she did change her mind and decide to stay married to you, she’s not going to have a personality transplant. You will still be living with the same woman you married. You will still be living on eggshells with a very high maintenance spouse. As a matter of fact, your situation could even get worse. (Again, sorry!)

      If your wife believes she “did you a favor” by staying married to you, she’s likely to expect you to be eternally grateful to her. In that case, she is likely to treat you even more harshly than ever.

      Of course, if she is able to do a little introspection herself, life could get enormously better, too. But narcissists are not able to look critically at themselves. So, if she is truly a narcissist, don’t hold your breath waiting for the heavens to open and your marriage to magically morph into the perfect relationship.

      It’s awesome that you take your vows seriously. I can tell that you still love your wife. But it takes two to tango. If both of you are willing to stay together, then you’ve got a shot at saving your marriage. But, if one of you is determined to get a divorce, you’re probably going to get a divorce.

      I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear. Sorry.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

    • Narcissism will never leave her…she will never change. You become dysfunctional by association eventually. Look up Sam Vaknin who authored best book out there on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  • It’s sad how many articles I read that paint the woman as the victim. I appreciate your neutral approach.
    It’s truly unbelievable that the lying, both coached by the lawyers and simply by their own nature. For me the lies are catching up. After my wife drained all 6 back accounts, two months prior to my petition for dissolution of marriage. She gave accounting for one account only. The judge implicated her to pay my attorney’s fees for dragging this on and on.

    Looking forward to more articles. I wish I could hire you. I’d be willing to do meditation. I only want what’s fair and just. Her lawyer was even able to get affidavits from witnesses that seen her hit my 4 year old in the head, knocking him down. Being my family it was thrown out when she replied saying it was a lie. She’s already taken everything, guns and disposed of property. With zero accountability.

    If the court would allow testimonies from my children, things would be different.

    I want to say this isn’t the person I married 18 years ago; yet I seen it coming for years. I was hoping to make it through until the children were much older or out of the house. The misery they are being forced to endure is disgusting.

    Jason

    • Jason,

      I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. I know this will be hard, but the more you can do to protect your kids from the craziness, now and in the future, the better off all of you will be. What’s positive is that the judge is catching on to her shenanigans. So many people don’t realize that your credibility is a huge part of your divorce. Once the judge realizes you’re lying, s/he will also stop believing whatever you say in the future, too.

      Hang in there! One way or another, you’re going to get through this!

      Karen

      • Karen PLEASE HELP!!!!! My step-sister divorced a narcissist in Wayne County, MI. She has had a HORRIBLE time there as the arbitrators have fallen for his charm and lies thus ruling in his favor the majority of the time. The most tragic part about this is that there are two boys who are caught in the middle and are suffering. We are desperate for support and guidance as we all feel helpless. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

        • I can understand how desperate you are.

          Here are a list of articles I’ve written on narcissism:

          21 Tips for Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

          Divorcing a Narcissist? 10 Survival Tips You’re Going to Need

          … and, of course, there’s the article you’re on: 10 Tips for How You Can “Win” When Divorcing a Narcissist.

          If you would like to get a copy of my FREE E-Book: 10 Rules for Managing a High Conflict or Narcissistic Spouse in Your Divorce CLICK HERE

          If your step-sister would like to work with me as a divorce coach, CLICK HERE.

          Best,

          Karen

          • I too am in Wayne County, MI Divorce Court and it’s been 4 years of trying to come up with another PLAN to settle the divorce case with the ex who is an extreme Narcissist. (Remember there are 26 letters in the Alphabet so if Plan A isn’t a go— keep trying. FAITH and HOPE are key in keeping your sanity.) The Judge assigned to my case has accepted all of his FALSE ALLEGATIONS and has been charmed by him and his Attorney. I have faced multiple belittling sound-offs from Attorneys and Law enforcement individuals degrading my self-worth and kindheartedness. I was booby-trapped with a False Domestic Violence claim and processed through the federal court system (finger-prints and mugshot taken) when trying to collect my personal belongings. I now face a new dog that has been bought to prevent me from going into my home (court ordered I could go to my home anytime during the day but not allowed to sleep in my house or have sole residency) and cars being stacked in the driveway preventing entry into the garage where some of my belongings were placed when all the locks were illegally changed on my home. The court appointed APPRAISER/REALTOR recused himself from the Divorce decreed SALE of the HOME almost 2 years ago citing the game-playing and downright refusal to abide by appointments falsely made to appraise the home was something he would no longer tolerate by the DEFENDANT (he did this before during the failed Mediation attempt). My last Attorney sat on the motions to identify this and present to the honorable Judge and further declined to represent me by falsely claiming I refused to pay them the additional fees above the $6,000 retainer fee, when in fact I simply asked if they could please file a secondary and tertiary motion to advance what was adjudged within the divorce decree – i.e., “either party responsible for barring the advancement of the Divorce decree will be responsible for their Attorney fees as well as the other party’s legal counsel fees.” The Honorable Judge has outlined that all parties in their courtroom must be represented by Legal Counsel. I have yet to find an Attorney who will litigate my case without an upfront retainer fee or payment upon Sale of the Home, as I am still paying on $10k+ in attorney’s fees from the 4 unsuccessful Attorneys hired to advocate for me and uphold the Judgement included in the Divorce Decree. Beware, the narc does continue his/her control by further financial abuse – post divorce. Three of my four adult children have been alienated against me – they have not spoken to me or care to see me during these past 4 + years and are being used as PAWNS to prevent the SALE of the home. Narc is claiming they are in dire financial straits and he still has to provide for them, that’s why he was able to still reside in the home and not me. However, they all have new cars; 2020 Lincoln MKS, 2016 Ford Focus, 2019 Ford 150, 2019 Jeep and an old model Ford Ranger to keep the insurance cost down for the 25 year-old– DIRE STRAITS, I think not. For all who have to endure such turmoil from a narc in their lives…..please know that you are LOVED and your LIFE does matter!

  • Such a fantastic article Ms. Covy. Divorce itself is such a painful process and when it comes to dealing with complicated spouses, one indeed feels lucky, just to be alive. I liked the fact that you mentioned the need for documenting things, a thing easier said than done, but very vital. It should in fact be a rule to follow for every kind of divorce, involving a difficult spouse or not. The need for an experienced attorney is also very important; a good attorney can absolutely make things easier.

  • Wow! What an insightful article, thank you!
    I wish I had come across it last year when I was going through my divorce. My now-ex is most definitely a narcissist and unfortunately my divorce attorney and the mediator never put timelines on the agreement. So still, I wait.
    But I agree with you 100%, redetermining what “winning” is, is key!
    Thank you for the great article.

  • I’m going thru a divorce now and my husband is a narcissist. I found your article describing him to a “T”. He refuses to sign divorce papers and he doesn’t even respond (nor does his Attorney) to my Attorneys paperwork. There is also a PFA where he was evicted for 3 years. I’m worried that he is just waiting for the PFA to expire then he plans on just moving back into my home.

    • I’m so sorry to hear all this. As for moving back into your home, don’t wait for him to try. Talk to your attorney now and see if there is anything you can do to be proactive.

  • Karen,
    August 2018 will be 1 year since divorce from narcissistic ex. We were married 33 years but separated for the last 10. The judge in my case saw through all the crazyness and ruled TOTALLY in my favor(awarded me half of his military retirement pay, spousal support for 5 years, and $4000 in attorney fees)! GOD IS GOOD!
    My question is this: with regard to attorney fees, he has not made one payment on time which is due on/by the 15th of each month. I’ll usually get it the LAST day of the month which leaves me wondering for 15 days whether or not I’ll receive it at all. This has happened for the first two months payments were due and I’m wondering if this is another attempt to aggravate the hell out of me. The judge already told him that he will be incarcerated (already found in contempt) if he’s brought before her again. I NEED the money but if he goes to jail, more than likely the spousal support will stop because he will not be working and may even lose his job. Not sure what to do. My attorney said if it happens a 3rd time to let her know and she can send him a warning letter of sorts before the judge is notified to take further action. Am I being unreasonable? I endured 33 looong years of living hell and feel this just another way for him to control things!!

    • Are you being unreasonable? No. Is your ex still trying to control things? Of course!

      The problem, as you’ve already figured out, is that, if you get your spouse thrown in jail, the payments stop. So you’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.

      It sounds like your attorney has a good handle on what’s going on. Definitely keep her apprised of the situation. What you might want to ask is whether there is any way that you can get your payments withheld directly from his paycheck. Then you won’t have to wait for him to pay you. (This is generally possible for alimony payments, but not necessarily for other payments. Check with your attorney on this.)

      Another option is to see if your attorney can get your husband to pay the entire $4000 now. If he got all the cash he may have the funds to just pay this off.

      I know none of this seems fair. When you got divorced, you probably thought you were done with him. But, when you divorce a narcissist, you’re almost never done! (Sorry!) Until he no longer has to pay you anything, he will do his best to make you crazy as long as he can.

      At least now you are divorced! (And, your judge saw through him! That doesn’t always happen!)

      Hope this helps!

      Karen

  • hi Karen,
    i am dealing with narcissist husband and it took me 6yrs to understand that i cannot continue with him. since last year (jan 2017) i came to know that he is a narcissist…his extreme behaviour is increasing day by day. i have lived a very peaceful life before marriage, evrybody used to envy my life..good family, friends,profeesion. and i am a very shy person, not extrovert etc. Husband have always taken advantage of my nature and displayed my wrong image in society, relatives, evrywhere. i want my peaceful life back.
    divorcing him will b very distressing and i know it already.. is mutual divorce a good option rather then fighting (contested divorce)? we dont hve any children but yes i have lost most of my productive years because of him, his interference in my job and salary. i am in financial crunch but planning to rise up and survive (dont know how much of it i will b able to do) on my own rather than fighting with him in court for money..(also he thinks i m behind his money). i am confused. mutual divorce will give him more chance to defame me that it was my fault so i accepted mutual. on the other hand fighting with hm will make me more sick! what should i do.

    • You asked what you should do, but it sounds like you’ve already decided. The truth is, only you can decide what is best for you.

      If you and your husband can come to terms and agree on your divorce, that will save you money. It will also save you emotional energy.

      Divorce is never easy. You also can’t control what your husband tells other people about you, whether your divorce is amicable or not. In the end, you can just do what you can do.

      I hope you find your peaceful life again.

      Karen

  • Karen, I really like your article. So true!
    At first I didn’t realize that my Ex was a Narc, but as time goes by, I saw the symptoms on him. I have divorce for a few months, and custody of my daughter was on me. But still my Ex can’t accept this, and try as many as possible way to makes me angry by not following the court’s rules. He wants the same time with my daughter (a week with me, and a week with him, vice versa), which I’m aware he did all this just to make me angry and then get conflict. As you said, Narcs loves drama. After he fail to make my financially broke, now he using another way by using my daughter as pawns. Could you please help me? What should I do? Should I agree with what he wants, or I should be strict with the custody? Because narcs can’t follow the rules. No matter how many times I tried to discuss about schedule to visit my daughter, he always ignore it. He even don’t want to pay for child support (as court’s decision). If I make a conflict with him by withholding my daughter, he will be very angry, and perhaps will stalking me to my office, create some drama in purpose to looks like a victim, I’m the bad one. Even he can threatening me to get what he want.
    What can I do about it? I just want to live peacefully without him around me.

    • It sounds like you are really struggling. I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but the more time passes, the more likely it is that things will settle down. While that doesn’t always happen, especially with a narcissist, often it does. So, hang on. In time, things will get better.

      Of course, the bigger question is, what do you do in the meantime. There are no easy answers. It’s not for me to tell you what to do. It also wouldn’t matter anyway. As you noted, narcissists can’t follow rules. That’s what makes dealing with them so difficult. Trying to manage them is like trying to pin jello to the wall.

      So, knowing that you can’t control them, that only leaves one person you can control: you. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Be the best parent you can to your daughters. Don’t be afraid to get help. A good therapist may be able to give you advice and information about what you can do to keep the peace, and help yourself and your daughters.

      As for living peacefully, know that you will have to deal with your ex until your daughters are grown. So, the best thing you can do is stop expecting to find peace without him. Focus instead of limiting your contact with him and finding peace within yourself.

      Hope that helps.

      Karen

  • I know for a fact my husband is a narcissistic person. I just did research about it and for 13 years could not place a name on his crazy behavior. Two years ago his abuse went from verbal to physical. I went to a lawyer got divorce papers. Lived in the same house as him but communicated mostly through emails(for proof of what was being said). He tried a lot of manipulated tactics to get me not to divorce him or try and get me crazy mad, but I held firm to my plans and wasn’t phased. But one day he went to anger management(least that is what he told me) but I could see a change in his anger and see him practicing “1, 2, 3…” deep breathes, so I decided to stay and try reconciliation. Six months later he was back to being mad all the time and super critical and verbally abusive. I kept thinking its a small set back he will grow. But he has not grown but become worse. I want a divorce but I want to make it as smooth as possible for my kids, how do I “let him win” in going through with this divorce? It is not an option for him to have any form of custody of our children and I can get a therapist statement to why.

    • I wish there was an easy answer that I could give you, but, unfortunately, there’s not. “Winning” and what winning means to any given person depends on that person, and all of the facts and circumstances involved.

      What would probably be the most helpful is for you to work closely with your own therapist in order to get through this. (If you don’t have a therapist, you’re going to want to get one!) Not only will a good therapist be instrumental in helping you deal with your own emotions as you go through your divorce, but s/he will also be able to share insights with you about your husband’s behavior and what you can do to manage that behavior in the best way possible for you and your kids.

      It will also be important to get a divorce lawyer who doesn’t throw gasoline on the fire. If you go to court and fight, your husband WILL fight back. Courts are cauldrons of anger and the perfect showcase for a narcissist. So, while you need a lawyer who will be strong, getting one who is aggressive can be counterproductive. What you need is someone who is firm, yet calm and rational. If you get a lawyer who is as much of a bully as your husband, they will butt heads. While you may think that’s what you want, it can be a very, very expensive battle.

      Finally, you may want to consider using a divorce process that keeps you out of court. While no divorce process can insure that your divorce will be amicable, particularly if you are divorcing a narcissist, using a skilled mediator, or choosing a Collaborative Divorce, may help keep things at least a little less ugly.

      Best,

      Karen

  • my narcissitic husband quit his well paying job when i moved out and filed for divorce. he now had temporary custody of our 14 year old daughter and i am ordered to pay child support till our final hearing. it is 3 months and i cannot afford it and still maintain my place etc. i almost feel like giving him evetything he wants. the house, his retirement, our daughter. all of this is driving me insane. i think it will kill him that i no longer need him or his money.i plan on moving out of state soon after. would that be winni g for him or losing? because i am no longer engaging with his games.

    • I can understand your frustration.

      I wonder if you’re asking the right question, though? Instead of asking whether it would be winning or losing for your husband if you moved out of state, what if you asked yourself what YOU want out of this divorce? Giving him everything may be tempting, but is that really what you want to do?

      I can hear how frustrated you are, but I urge you to do your best to think rationally and make your decisions from that place.

      Karen

      PS Dealing with a narcissist is really hard. If you don’t have a therapist, you might want to get one. A good therapist can give you insights into your husband that you might not otherwise have.

  • I just separated from my husband of 16 years. Although he is not diagnosed I believe he has a covert narcissist personality. I have been a stay home mom to our 3 children 15, 14, and 10 years old who. I didn’t realize he was a narcissist until I couldn’t take his anger issues silent treatments and controlling behavior any longer. My children have also experienced his narcissist tantrums and do not want to see him. He is demanding time with them but they are refusing to go. I believe we have been emotionally abused. My husband is coming with the lies gaslighting and intimidation. Accusing me of alienating him from our children. I am not. I have asked them if they wanted to go with him and assured them that it would be ok even though I am not sure. My question is how do I “win” when there are children involved. I don’t want my kids to suffer any more. How do I “win” when I have been emotionally abuses and don’t know the first thing about what to do about how to protect my children or what I am entitled to in the divorce. We are currently staying with my parents and he wants sole use of the house. I am driving 30 miles one way to take my kids to school I don’t have child or spousal support. I don’t know what to do.

    • You asked, “How do I ‘Win’?” In your case, a good answer would be to start with #1 in the article: Get an attorney!

      I am not a big fan of fighting in court, but there is a huge difference between fighting in court and getting the legal help you need to deal with what you are facing. Given what you have written, you absolutely need to talk to an attorney in your area as soon as possible.

      It is not okay that you are driving 30 miles each way to get your kids to school and back. It’s not okay for you OR for your kids! It’s also not okay that your husband isn’t paying support.

      But, here’s the deal: it is not just your husband’s responsibility to try to make life better and more manageable for your kids. It’s your responsibility as well. (Sorry! I don’t mean to be harsh, but, better that you hear this from me now than from others later.)

      What does “being responsible” mean? It means that, if your husband is not paying child support, you need to take steps to make him do that. #1 Ask him for a support. #2 If he refuses to pay, go get an attorney and file a motion in court to require him to pay.

      Will either of those things be easy? No. Will either of them work? Hopefully at least #2 will work. But it will take time, energy and perseverance. Everything you do with a narcissist takes time, energy and perseverance. (Again, sorry!) But NOT putting in the time or energy and NOT sticking to your guns pretty much guarantees that you will never get what you want. In fact, you may not get anything at all.

      Divorcing anyone is challenging. Divorcing a narcissist is doubly so. Thankfully, you don’t have to get through your divorce all by yourself. You can and should get help. Get an attorney. Get a therapist. Take the time and put in the effort to learn about what you are facing and what your options are.

      I know it may seem overwhelming at first. But, you owe it to yourself and your kids to keep moving forward.

      Best,

      Karen

  • Karen, I’ve yet to find anything quite like my friends situation. I first spotted his spouse to be narcissistic, he wasn’t familiar with the term. He is a popular country music singer of many years. Many years ago she chased until wearing him down. Immediately took over business end of his career, at first he was grateful as he needed the help. Kept from family and friends. Kept out of the loop. Extremely jealous, he gets accused of things for no reason. Controls about everything. Not allowed to go anywhere without her. Don’t know when but any beginning affection for him quit long ago. I don’t think he has any real love for her now, I believe it’s all old habit. He’s not very strong, I think it would take something major for him to walk out. She’s not about to leave. He’s a major player in our country music world and the oldest. They travel in an old bus, they dress average, obviously he doesn’t spend much on wardrobe. I’ve always had a gut instinct she’s been rat-holing money. I know folks who have known them from their early days, they have have low opinion of her. Others, unaware, think she’s a lovely lady…I use the term loosely. BTW, she hated me up until sometime last year when to my surprise, she was very friendly and chatty. I’m on the fence about my friend right now as to his leaving, I think it could go either way.

    • It sounds like you care about your friend a lot. That’s awesome! Unfortunately, the only one who can decide whether to leave your friend’s marriage is your friend. Not you. (Sorry!)

      I can tell you want to help your friend. But it doesn’t sound like he even wants to make a decision. He seems to be fine with where he’s at in his marriage. That may be a bad thing from what you see, but unfortunately, you don’t get to decide what’s good or bad for your friend. Only he can do that for himself.

      Sorry. I wish I could be more help. But until your friend wants help, there’s not much you (or I) can do.

      Karen

  • Married to a narc going on 35 years. Physical, financial, emotional and spiritual abused. Wcb with MS for 25 yrs and on 24/7 O2 for COPD from the my time in the USMC. He has had more affairs as my health worsens — owes me Thousands in which he admits but says divorcing him cancels what he owes me. I’ve paid for all the cars, house repairs and maintenance, etc and in the last 2 yrs spent Thousands for my son to get cancer treatment which is now stage 4 in his brain and liver. The husband has gotten the adult children on his side for now while family and friends with me know the truth. Hoping to find an attorney soon and move on. Thanks for this article. Blessings.

    • That sounds awful! I’m so sorry to hear about what’s happened to you. I wish I could give you some advice that would make everything better, but, unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of super power.

      I hope you find a good attorney.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

  • I’m going thru a divorce 18+ months now.
    I’ve married to him for 23 yrs, we have 4 children ( 2 are minors) and I’m unemployed.
    He fired his second attorney today because both of his lawyers kept telling him the reality!!!
    He refuses to accept the law, he makes his own laws on our settlement, he lied once to the court regarding monies, he doesn’t sign the settlement that the magistrate already signed, and 2 days from now we have a trial hearing!!
    He controlled me all these past yrs 100%. I don’t even had any keys from our house!!! He is a lunatic.
    works for the government, and claims that has no money to afford a lawyer at this point.
    awful situation!!! I’ve been emotional exhausted!!

    • I can understand why you’re exhausted! But, you’re in the home stretch. If you have a trial date soon, you should be finalizing your divorce in the near future. (That is, hopefully it happens soon!)

      I know you’re tired. But, hang in there! You’ll make it.

      Best,

      Karen

  • Hello ms. Karen.. your article was very helpful. I’ve enabled his behavior for 20 plus years and my problem is how do I even tell him. We are a military family living in 2 separate homes he lives with one girl full time and one comes and stays with them both occasionally. He has displayed this recklessness in front of our 4 teenage girls and lives with my stepson. I’m up struggling with how and when to tell him. That’s the hard part for me. I’m totally prepared for the name calling shaming and him playing the victim he has done that for years. Any advice

    • Telling your husband that you want a divorce, especially when he is a narcissist, is hard. You are wise to be careful about how and when to tell him. There is a lot of planning that needs to go into that discussion. Unfortunately, I’d need to know a LOT more about your situation in order to give you any kind of useful advice. It’s just not something I can write online.

      What will probably be best for you is to get a therapist or a coach who can help you think through your options. You need to plan what you will say, and when you will say it. You also need to plan for the aftermath. (It sounds like you are already preparing yourself for that.)

      Working with a professional, and practicing what you will say, will help you move forward in the most productive way. (If money is a concern, you could try doing this with a trusted friend, but, honestly, a professional will be a better choice. Since most therapists are covered by insurance, you might want to go with a therapist.)

      Of course, no matter how much you prepare yourself, there is still no guarantee that everything will go well. But if you DON’T prepare yourself, the chances that things WON’T go well increase dramatically!

      Best,

      Karen

  • Hi Karen, I wish if there is a way you could fight my divorce case. Every word and situation you have stated applies word to word to my so called husband. Loves drama, creates high drama out of nothing, weaves stories, unbelievable lies, considers our toddler and me as liability. He beats me then doesn’t remember the incident ever happened. When I told him I will record him for every word he speaks he started saying ‘yes you beat me up tell that to the world’ astonishingly smart cunning shameless liar. I called 911 the police were charmed by him, everyone is charmed by him. He wears a mask in the public eye. It’s impossible for me to record evidence with his inflated conniving mind games. Instead he captured my reactions and is threatening every single day that he will prove me a mentally unstable person and I will lose custody if I take legal help. The very thought I will lose child custody makes me stick with this madman. Financial control, emotional pain, belittling, verbal sweaing and beating. I have no proof and I don’t know how to gather proof. Friends suggest going to shelters but he doesn’t batter me into medical condition it’s just beating and kicking and there is no evident eye witness to all that. How can I gather some proof so that I can file divorce and run with my child far far away from this narcissist.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your sitution. I understand it is incredibly difficult. But, just because your husband doesn’t beat you so badly that you end up in the hospital does not mean you have to stay with him.

      At the same time, you are wise to take things step by step.

      I strongly suggest you contact a domestic violence organization in your area. You don’t have to go to a shelter necessarily. But you do need to get some help from people who understand what you’re going through and can give you some specific advice for your situation. Even if you don’t act on the advice right away, what’s important is that you’re DOING SOMETHING by learning your options. That will start to give you a small amount of control back.

      Because your husband is so charming, you will need to be very careful and plan your actions before you leave. Getting proof of what no one sees is hard. It will take time. But starting to gather proof now is better than waiting and doing nothing. (Btw, without knowing a whole lot more about the specifics of your situation – which would not be appropriate to share on a website – I couldn’t even begin to give you any specific ideas about how to gather proof of your beatings. Sorry!)

      I also suggest that you get a therapist, preferably one who is well-versed in domestic violence. You are going to need as much support as you can get, especially if you get to the point that you do divorce your husband.

      I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Honestly, in your situation, you need to be in touch with domestic violence experts in your area.

      Karen

  • Great article. I as the husband filed in May 2017. 2nd day of trial has happened this month. She tried to get my dads and sisters house and their assets. Judge refused to allow it even though I was once on family home I never contributed anything to it. 93 year old Dad had to testify along with my sister. Wife blames me for everything. Also told me that all our testimony was stupid and judge was laughing falling off her seat which was not true at all. Is not paying or contributing to any bills now. Says I forced her to quit her high paying job. Wanted a joint will from me. Wanted me to leave more money to her son. Wanted me to buy her an expensive condo as a vacation home. Tells me I refused to let her see her son. We had numerous disciplinary problems. In her eyes he could do know wrong. False accusations – threatening to call police if I didn’t open our pool for her this summer. Constantly taping video recording me taking pictures etc to the point that I now stay at a friends home. My marriage is a living hell. She spent 23k on household goods after being served and now wants me to pay all her attorney fees. She asked for my sports car in court. Judge said I know you are angry I can see right through these things but I am not transferring your husbands asset over to you. That’s my decision so so don’t ask again!

    We are due to bring our proposed judgements to court next month. My attorney thinks judge has made up her mind and will give a quick decision. I pray that the judge will see that this woman is borderline personality disordered.

  • Hello there,
    I found this article startingly appropriate and very helpful. I live in Melbourne, Australia and am beginning the process of seperation then divorce. We were married in the U.S however. Can you recommend any law firms down here in Melbourne Australia, or anyone in particular as I will be flying blind but can see that I really need to hire someone to guide me through this.

    Thank you,
    Liz

  • Is mediation an option with a narc husband or is he just trying to get his way and drag along the divorce as long as possible? He says he’d like to save money but I can’t trust anything and don’t want to go down a road of mediation only to have to hire lawyers in the end. I tried to find a mediator that is aware of how to deal with high conflict personality disorder individuals. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!!!

    • Yes, mediation is an option. Is your husband just trying to drag out the divorce by going to mediation? I don’t know. Will mediation work? I don’t know. Will mediation be better than litigation? IF it works, yes. If it doesn’t, then obviously you will wish you had just started in court and skipped mediation.

      I don’t mean to be vague here, but the truth is that divorce is full of the unknown. There are no guarantees. You never know how things will turn out until you try. Then, when you do try, if things don’t work out you will wish you took a different path. But you will NEVER know what might have happened if you had done something differently than you did. You can always only guess. That’s one of the main reasons why divorce is so scary: you never know how things will end up, no matter what you do.

      I would like to challenge one thing you said though: if you mediate you won’t need a lawyer. Even if you mediate, you STILL need a lawyer. Read this to learn the reasons why you need both a mediator and a lawyer.

      The bottom line is that you need to talk to a lawyer and then decide which way you want to go. Mediation can be very effective, even with a narcissist, but you need a strong mediator.

      Hope this helps.

  • I am in the divorce process now with my husband who is NPD & closer crossdresser. The last year has been a nightmare. He’s stolen my gun, accused me of being a drug addict, neglectful mother, violent, etc. All disproved & thankfully I have a good attorney. He burned my clothes. Went to every member of my family&friends to triangulate me. We live in a wealthy area, he is a high Warner and we have a 3 year old son. He’s hidden finances with me for years. After an extensive search im close to finding a pretty good ft job, I WORKED pt before while caring for our son. He is a nightmare & is demanding “50/50” custody of our son based on “he’s half mine” as if he’s property. He travels a lot & I’ve taken care of the baby 80% of the time. Anyway, I see the court system as cold and we are “just another number”. I’m terrified for my son & his future and my (hopefully) soon to be exses behavior. I’m exhausted!

    • I’m not surprised you are exhausted! It sounds like you have your hands full!

      Unfortunately, as insufficient as the court system may be sometimes, it’s the only system we’ve got. It’s also the system you are already in, and are definitely stuck with. That being said, the best thing you can do is to keep your attorney, especially since s/he is good. Follow your attorney’s advice and do your best to take care of yourself as you go through this process.

      As you probably figured out by now, divorce is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s going to take time and money to get through this process. If you let yourself get exhausted, that’s when you make mistakes.

      Hang in there!

      Karen

  • My son is divorcing a narcissist kleptomaniac type of person. They have one son together, age 4, and she has a daughter age 7 from a previous relationship who also calls my son Daddy. She had agreed to share custody and cooperate for eight months, then when it came time to actually sign the papers and go on with the agreement, she changed her mind and refused to do what she had agreed to do. No surprise there. You can’t believe a thing she says. She has literally stolen everything that was in the house and now the house is going to be taken over by the bank. My son lives with me at this point and is stretched thin financially. He wants to see his child, but she will not allow visitation without her presence. I can see she will claim he is abandoning the children, when nothing could be further from the truth. We both want to see the children, just without HER! It’s a terrible mess. He has stopped the legal battle because there is no money left to fight with and we fear the children could end up in foster care.