How to Divorce a Narcissist with Tracy Malone

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TAKE THIS QUIZ and Find Out. 

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Episode Description

Living with a narcissist is hard. Divorcing a narcissist is even harder.  Tracy Malone, the powerhouse behind,  knows firsthand how ugly divorcing a narcissist can be.  In this podcast episode Tracy opens up about her personal journey of divorcing a narcissist, including the manipulative behavior, gaslighting, and abusive litigation tactics that went with it.

Her experiences prompted her to become a divorce coach who specializes in helping the victims of narcissistic abuse all over the world.

In this episode Tracy explains what a narcissist is, and how to know whether you're divorcing one. She explores the pattern of behavior that characterizes a narcissist, from love-bombing to exhibiting a lack of empathy to acting in ways that devalue you as a person.   

If you suspect that your "difficult divorce" is being caused by a narcissistic spouse, this episode will open your eyes to the realities of narcissistic abuse and give you both the emotional empowerment and practical tools you need to get through your divorce with more confidence so that you can start your new life on the other side.

Show Notes

About Tracy

Tracy Malone is an International divorce coach, narcissist abuse survival coach, author, speaker, educator, victim, and surTHRIVER of narcissistic abuse.  Tracy is also the author of Divorcing Your Narcissist: You Can't make This Shit up!  And the founder of Narcissist Abuse

Connect with Tracy

You can connect with Tracy on LinkedIn at Tracy Malone and Facebook at Narcissist Abuse Support Group.  You can follow Tracy on YouTube at Tracy Malone, Twitter at Tracy Malone and on Instagram at Tracy A Malone.  You can find out more about Tracy’s work and find support with narcissist abuse on Tracy’s website Narcissist Abuse Support and buy her book Divorcing Your Narcissist:  You Can’take This Shit Up!

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Tracy

  • Tracy Malone is an international divorce coach who helps people going through divorces, especially with narcissistic or abusive spouses. She is the founder of and author of "Divorcing Your Narcissist: You Can't Make This Shit Up."
  • Narcissists often use love bombing, devaluation, and discarding as part of their abuse cycle in relationships. They also frequently use gaslighting and lies to manipulate and control their partners.  Their abuse often gets worse during a divorce.
  • It's important to have clear financial and parenting goals when divorcing a narcissist. Common mistakes are thinking the narcissist will just go away if you give in, not planning for the future with kids, and not protecting yourself financially in the divorce decree.
  • Comb through financial records for inconsistencies that may reveal hidden assets. Have parenting plans with very detailed schedules and provisions to prevent future conflict. Victims need to see the truth and be empowered.
  • The divorce is just the beginning of the battle with a narcissist, especially with kids involved. Detailed parenting plans and divorce decrees can help minimize future conflicts.
  • Get professional support from lawyers, therapists, coaches, and support groups when divorcing a narcissist. It helps provide encouragement, advice, and accountability so you don't compromise more than necessary just to get it over with.
  • The abuse and difficulty often continue post-divorce with a narcissist, especially if co-parenting. Strong boundaries and detailed legal agreements are essential to protect yourself and your children long-term.
  • Leaving an abusive relationship takes courage. Focus on the possibility of a better life, rather than fear, when making the decision to divorce a narcissist.

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How to Divorce a Narcissist with Tracy Malone


abuse, narcissist, agreements


Karen Covy, Tracy Malone

Karen Covy Host00:10

Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show. With me today is Tracy Malone, and Tracy is an international divorce coach and the founder of She is also a wildly successful podcaster and YouTuber, with an incredible following on social media and probably more divorce resources for divorcing a narcissist than anybody I've ever met in my entire life. She is also the author of Divorcing your Narcissist: You Can't Make This Shit Up. Tracy is a speaker and educator and, I am proud to say, a longtime friend of mine. Tracy, welcome to the show.

Tracy Malone Guest01:19

Thank you so much for having me. That was the sweetest introduction, thank you.

Karen Covy Host01:23

Oh, you're welcome and it's all true. I didn't make any of it up and I'd like to start for those people who don't know you with your story. Why did you get into this particular area of work?

Tracy Malone Guest01:40

Well, it wasn't an intentional like, hey, let me just go work. I'm not people being abused. Obviously, you can see the word above my head. I'm a surthriver. I had a pretty horrific divorce and I started as a poor group after that and I needed it for me. I was like help me, I bring people together. And again, accidental career, and that grew to 60 people a month I was working with and again I'm just there. But I wanted to teach them. I'm like we can't just come and whine, we have to heal. So I would teach them and then grow and grow. And then I built my website, my YouTube, and the rest is history. My book is also on divorcing a narcissist, so it became sort of the platform that took me into the next level as well.

Karen Covy Host02:31

So how did you? I want to take us to very basics. How did you know you were divorcing a narcissist per se? Maybe we start with what is a narcissist.

Tracy Malone Guest02:45

Yeah Well, first of all I didn't know I was divorcing a narcissist. Through the entire year, seven trials, nobody not my therapist, not my lawyers, not the mediator, nobody ever said it, and so it was just called the most horrific it actually was the most contentious divorce in our town's history by the judge. I was like, well, that's an accomplishment. But no one said the word. So I didn't know. And I didn't know because I found out later, after I dated the next one. And then, lord, I had really didn't know what it was because I grew up with narcissistic family members, both parents and siblings, so it was very familiar to me. Ghosting was our family vacation. So let's get into what an actual definition of a narcissist is, because we have a thing called the DSM-5, which is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, which tells us hey, if you're trying to diagnose someone, here's the things that define them. And they're, in my opinion, they don't really reflect it. So it's sort of a grandiose sense of importance. They exaggerate their achievements. These are all minor little things. They believe they're special and they required extra admiration and validation and they have a sense of entitlement. That's not the truth. I mean, those happen, yes, but they manipulate people. They lie, they steal, they hurt people, they gaslight people endlessly. They charm as the first weapon to kind of get people into their life, but in the end they are really destroying people's lives for their own gain. They don't care who they step on, who they hurt.


How many years you've been married? I've had a client that was married for 50 years and you would think after 50 years, just give her the money and have a nice day. No, it's still a four-year battle and over $4 million and like again, a normal person would be like okay, we don't get along anymore. Let's just here's your half, here's my half have a nice life. It is a battle, it is a war. And if you've got children, unfortunately they use the children as weapons, without any empathy for what they're doing. They just want to get you. The revenge just sits into their heart and they are evil. Evil's a very good word for them. I like that. Their identity has some five things.

Karen Covy Host05:10

Well, I know that one of the hallmark characteristics of narcissists is that lack of empathy right, but all the things you described can also describe a lot of people going through a divorce. So how do you differentiate between somebody who's going through a divorce and is just angry and like, does that make them a narcissist? Versus someone who really rises to that level that it sounds like you're describing of what's a narcissist? How does someone know if their spouse is really a narcissist or it's just they're angry and upset about the divorce and so they're not being their best self?

Tracy Malone Guest05:51

Great. And again, you're absolutely right. Divorce makes people get defensive and fight for things, and this is common behavior to expect it right. It's when they've been doing it all along, when they've had four different wives at the same time, when they've got four different girlfriends at the same time, when they are manipulating and hiding money, like this 50-year guy even hiding money for 30 years like just secret accounts and this and that it's not just in the divorce. This has been consistent. This abuse and putting people down and making them feel like they can never do enough and you try harder. That's how they get the victims to do more. This has been their life. Their legacy is they just can't do anything. Right. They do it all. I'll give you that, they'll give 99.9% of everything, and it's still not enough.


And then there's the cycle of abuse which is sort of idealized, devalue, discard. So the idealized in the beginning of your relationship. It's like love bombing. Everyone hears that word all the time. Right, but that cycle continues through their relationship. It's when they're in the nice mood. I call it right. You have times where, oh my God, they're nice, we had a good Christmas, oh, that was great. Normally they move in all holidays, but that's another story. But there's these periods where that's the person I love, that's the one I fell in love with and we can excuse away all the bad behavior. They're having a bad week, they're angry, they're angry, they're hungry, they didn't get the promotion, they're so sad. So therefore, it's okay to abuse someone. That's the difference is, it's not just during the divorce. This has been happening and the victims have been tolerating it and then almost dangling, that nice guy, nice girl person going. Okay, I'll hold out for them, I can excuse all these bad things. And then it reaches a point where you go, it's never stopping.

Karen Covy Host07:42

Yeah, so I'd like to dive into that a little bit more too, because it sounds like what you're describing is that there is. It's not an isolated incident. There's a pattern of behavior that happens over and over and over again, and let's get into that. You said the first Part of that pattern, the first step in the cycle, is the love bombing, the. You know, the adoration, the nice person, the, whatever say more about that is the, and I know, you know, because I've worked in this, this area myself to. That's the point where they suck people in, that's where they hook their potential partner, spouse. What have you? But what comes after that charming, sweet, nice person, what's? What's the next step in the cycle?

Tracy Malone Guest08:29

The next step is the devalue stage. And again this is not only in the beginning, but over and over. So they get the nice guy and all of a sudden you load at the dishwasher wrong, you did that wrong. Pick, pick, pick, pick. Right there starting to devalue you. Why did you make that decision? That was dumb. You know sort of little tiny folks through the nice guy, nice girl act right. All of a sudden you can't do anything right. That's the devalue. They put people down.


Some of them are verbal and really, you know, tell people terrible things about them. Others are covert. They're a little bit more passive, aggressive in this stage where it's subtle, so you can't say they hit you, they punched you, they did this. But you know it's, it's ongoing, it's making you feel small, it's controlling you, it's not letting you see your friends, it's not letting you see your family, it's not letting you see male friends. If you're the female, don't ever see your male friends. It's control comes into that devaluing stage. You're doing it wrong. Let's fix this right. So that comes into that devalue stage and it's a dangerous part.

Karen Covy Host09:35

Yeah, it seems like it would be hard to pick up on, especially if you're in the stage where you love someone and it would be confusing but you don't know what to do with it, right?

Tracy Malone Guest09:51

And also they select victims, target we call us supplies another word. They select them based on what kind of supply they will be. They look for a certain kind of person that is often codependent. So their people pleasing, they'll take on the guilt and the shame going. You're right, I should have tried harder. They'll.


If they get yelled at by the narcissist, they will internalize it because perhaps they've had abuse in their past and it's normal, right, just like for me. I was like, oh okay, ghosting, it's my family vacation, they'll be back, right. That's because I was groomed that way. So they hear your story. They know you had another bad relationship. They swear to God they would never cheat because they're supposed to cheat on them and they would be so loyal and you know. So you believe those lies right and you get hooked into it. And so the danger lies in in that you know not recognizing the devalue stage because again it's, it could be subtle, it's just okay. You did the dishwasher wrong, you didn't do this, right. Why did you do that money? Are you spending Little tiny things? That are normal relationship conversations, but they're really designed to make you feel horrible and to take away that power so that you're fighting for that good person to come back.

Karen Covy Host11:11

Right, you want the person you married right harder. Yeah, so after that devalue stage, which at that point the other person in the relationship has got to feel pretty awful, right, right after that, what's the next stage in the cycle?

Tracy Malone Guest11:28

The last stage is the discard is what it's called, but it doesn't mean like I'm getting a divorce, goodbye. That's the final discard, of course. But the other discard things are the silent treatment, the power, the. You know I'll get you the anger, the fighting, the throwing things, the you know the hitting if that comes into it right. So there's lots of things that can happen in that discard stage. But again, what happens with the codependent, empathic people, pleasing people that are there doing this to? We feel terrible. We try harder. What did I do wrong? How can I get them back? What can I do? I don't want them to leave right. And so the cycle begins as soon as we turn around and stop being angry that they're doing this and start to go but, I want them back.


I'll try harder. I'll try harder. That goes into love bombing. Now that we they've won and they get us back into this like lovely, nice, calm. The person you married and then it starts again, just keeps going around and around.

Karen Covy Host12:30

So you mentioned to a term that I'd like to a little explanation for our listeners on, and that is gaslighting. What exactly is gaslighting? Because I know it's something our system do all the time. What is it?

Tracy Malone Guest12:47

Well, a lot of people think it's a lie, but narcissists are famous for lying. It's not really a lie. It is a lie with the intent to confuse you, to distort reality and to make you feel like you've done something wrong. So you know, in in the board. I have a whole chapter in my book on how Narcissists use gaslighting in a divorce so they can start this gaslighting all along.


If you start to talk about the divorce, there's no money. You'll get nothing. If you divorce me, you know I'm the breadwinner you'll move out of this house. You'll never get the kids, you know. Just these sort of things come and that's gaslighting. That's where they are trying to scare you with this lie. It's a stain. Well, if I'm not going to get any money, I have no choice. I was the stay at home mom. I don't have the means to do this and they're going to take my kids away. That's part of the okay. I've got to fight back and they, they hook you back because you see, the gaslighting is convincing. You have no other alternatives but to stay and acquiesce to this kind of abuse.

Karen Covy Host13:51

Yeah, so what? How do people identify gaslighting or deal with it and get out of it? Because you really believe the nonsense that you're being fed right. So what would you say to somebody who is believing the BS, so to speak? How do you break the cycle?

Tracy Malone Guest14:15

Well, you break it with the truth, right? You force them to sit there and go. Well, is that true? And are you a bad mom? Or have you stolen money giving them the truth in the money arena in a divorce? Is that's not true. You have a right to it. You've been married 30 years. You have a right to this. You've been married this long. You have a right to that.


And all of these lies in the gaslighting arena can easily just go up in a puff of smoke because there's no truth behind them. They're so worried and they internalize I did something bad. They feel guilt, they feel shame, they eat the gobble up of the narcissistic gaslighting right. Oh, and the fear. You know narcissists control with fear. So the fear that you won't get your kids, you won't get money, you'll have nowhere to live, you'll be on the streets. Those are very real for a stay at home parent who didn't have the resources, right. But then, to complicate, that is there's no money. It's because they've been hiding it for years, right? And so now it's like I don't have money to even move out, much less get a lawyer, much less track down this hidden money. They've been planning and going through the motions for so long that it's hard to break through that.


So, the truth, talking about it, feeling about it, you feel it in your heart, right, and how not to let the lies, the gaslighting, into your head. It's, you know, depending on how long they've been gaslit. It's sort of a, you know. It's sort of a, you know, sometimes it's harder to break it the cycle, and other times, once they see it, they can't unsee it. Well, that's gaslighting. Ha not going to have power here. It's sort of like back away, you know, but you have to get yourself into a place of feeling strong enough and confident enough to say it or just not believe it.

Karen Covy Host16:05

So what happens when a person gets to that point where they start to the veil comes off of their eyes, so to speak, right, and they start to see that the way that they're being treated isn't okay, it isn't true, the things that they're being told and they're you know, they're starting to see that their relationship isn't healthy, because I think we can both agree that a relationship with a narcissist is generally not healthy. Right, that's an understatement. Yeah, I'm trying to soft pedal it here, but yeah, I mean it's awful, but like. So what happens when the person starts to see this I'm not as bad as I've been told that I am. I'm not as bad as I thought I was. What do I do? What does that person, do I mean if they start to push back? What generally happens?

Tracy Malone Guest16:59

Narcissists don't like that. They are losing control, so they often put the pedal down on the gas and just get worse right. And so getting help, building a team is absolutely essential if you're in the divorce arena. Someone that can, you know, navigate the emotional trauma that you're in, untangle some of the lies, give you the truth about what you're entitled to and how you fight for it. You know, it's when I work with clients, I mean week after week they come in with you know, and they do this, you know, and I'm like, oh well, that won't matter, but it sure does sound scary, doesn't it? But here's what would really happen.


In that case you're giving them a dose of reality versus listening and absorbing. They've been absorbing this gaslighting and the lies for so long that they it's sometimes it's a pick each little thread out, let them understand it until they start to see it. And then I always like to help them treat the wounds of this gaslighting, because the insecurity, the loss of self, the fear, the anger, the, you know, just, there's so many things that they go through that if we can heal those things, they get stronger. If we can heal and make them not fear what the narcissist has gaps with them about. They're much more empowered and they also can learn to deal with their lawyer better, because they're not coming from a fear-based place.


When you're in fear, you send your lawyer eight page letters going and they did this and they did that, and they're like, yeah, and you're wasting your money talking to a lawyer because they can't help you with that stuff. But if we can teach them that this is how we get the most from our lawyer, without the story and the drama, the lawyers don't care. It's, it's what's the fact. Okay, extract that out of the eight pad pages and thank yous for that, right, so it's about empowering them to really understand that there's things they have power to do and they can heal from this. They will not be homeless most of them there are some that knew how to go homeless but at the same time, it's it's really giving them more their power back so that they can fight stronger.

Karen Covy Host19:07

Well, how does someone make that first step? Because, let's say, especially as you mentioned, the longer you're in this kind of a relationship, the more difficult it is to break free, because you start to believe all the lies about yourself, right? Your own self-confidence is down in the gutter, right? So how does? Because a lot of what this podcast is about is decision making. So how do you, if you're a person who's really down and you know your relationship doesn't feel good, because I think that's one of the hallmarks that you can relate to before you figure out what's going on? Or is your spouse a narcissist or not? If it doesn't feel good, that's a problem, right, that's a sign, that's that something is wrong. But how do you help the person who just knows something doesn't seem right? How can they go about taking that step and making the decision to actually end the marriage, because that's huge. They know what they're in for. If they do that, how do you? What do they need in order to make that kind of a decision?

Tracy Malone Guest20:18

Well, they need the truth, they need empowerment, they need a release of fear and anger. I'm not saying anger isn't a propellant to make change. I think that's really important in many cases. If they've just been very quiet and not tapping into that anger because good girls don't get angry, right and co-dependents are like that, we're like people, please, we'll do everything nice so if they could tap into that and see a better life on the other side, they can get some of the stuff demystified. And having a 50-year marriage, it's like how old are you? You're in your 70s, right? And so what kind of future will I have? Is it better to just stay with them and do this? It becomes a decision of how does it feel? Like you said, it feels horrible and would your life be better alone or would it be better to have the rest of the half of your life left to go and actually enjoy it and not be abused every day? Because as they get older, they are worse.


I have a book on my shelf about senior narcissists, sociopaths. They get worse. It doesn't get better. We think, oh, they'll mellow out. No, that's a normal person in a bad mood, right? This is someone who is malicious and evil, as I said, that they are just going to up the game, like the fun isn't there anymore if you're not falling for the stuff. So they up it and they get crueler and they get crueler.


I've had people where their spouses said you know what? I'm going to move my girlfriend into our house and you have to take it. It's like what do you mean? You know, like this doesn't make sense. So it's seeing the truth for what it is and going you don't have to put up with that. If you're not comfortable with your spouse having their new living in your house, then that's the sign to get out right you taking it. They're not going to come back to you, they're just going to have the next revolving door.


So it's really looking at each individual person's things, their obstacles to getting to divorce and saying, well, this would work and you'll be okay. That's one of the most important. Things is like let's look at the financial picture for the what do you got? You got a houseYou got to this, you got to that, you're going to sell it. You got retirement oh great, you'll be okay. When they find that out, holy moly, they get so much more empowered because they've been told for so long you'll get nothing. So to see that, oh my gosh, that would be okay. I can live with that. That's where the light bulb goes off.

Karen Covy Host22:58

What happens if somebody is married to someone, a narcissist, who has been so good at hiding the money? Or let's say they've been living a very nice life, that they have money, they have assets, but they don't know where they are. The narcissist has been very good about hiding them, putting them in companies, putting them in other people's names, putting them in what have you, and so that you look at the financial picture that you know of and it doesn't look so good. What then?

Tracy Malone Guest23:33

Well, I am a true believer in combing those financials. They always leave a clue. They're sometimes brilliant and sometimes they make mistakes. And oh, that's interesting. Every month there's a payment to Wells Fargo, but you didn't show us a Wells Fargo card. What's hiding on there? Only you would know that, because if forensic would go, boom boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, they would know that you don't know that there's a Wells Fargo secret account.


When you find that you find little clues to money being taken out, then we start to get some interrogatories. And could you please give us that Wells Fargo account? And then a whole nother can of worms opens. Where's that? How come on Wells Fargo? You're paying Morgan James. Where's that money? Where's that account? Once you become a detective and when you become Sherlock Holmes and again a lot of people are not in the emotional state to do this it's get your sister, get your mother, get your best friend and sit down and like, hey, did you know about a Wells Fargo account? Nope, okay, let's mark that. And seeing the truth in their financial affidavits, my husband put down this was classic moved out and moved back to his parents’ house and he put down $6,500 for rent to his parents. Now I'm not saying yes.

I'm not saying it'snot that not only was he like not working at the time but that's another story but at the same time like if I had just taken that and went, oh okay, that's reasonable, right, then nothing would have happened. But I was like could we see the lease? Hmm. Could we see the cancel checks? Hmm, oh, you didn't pay with the check. Can we see the cash withdrawals? Hmm, you don't have that right. So it's debugging those sort of things.


He also had a thousand dollars a month for magazines and well, that's a small thing. I was like, but it's still. I've never seen him in his life for ten years with a magazine. Could I go back? And I did. I went back and I'm like there's nothing, remove that line, so it's, it's seeing the truth in what they're claiming. And then, like again, you’ll have to get some other money detectives involved if you're really going I know there's more, or they won't give us this the well-sing or whatever. You're following the paper trail and you often find a little bit of more that might lead to the next again. It gets very expensive. I've had a client with a five million dollar divorce. So far she's not done. It's six years now and it's just a battle. Every single decision that she wins, he appeals oh.


Oh dear heavens, like really so again, thank God they have the money to do that in this kind of estate. But at the same time, you know people are bankrupt. I was bankrupt because of my divorce and you know it wasn't a good thing, but I had no choice, I'm in it and they created this chaos and created this drama and seven trials. So that's how it got there. So I did the best I could and I still didn't win financially. But in the end, look at my life. I mean, I'm the completely taken the worst lemonade of my life, and I'm not making worse lemons, I'm not making lemonade, I'm making a difference and that is, I think, why all this happened to me.

Karen Covy Host26:52

I that is amazing and I think the world is definitely a better place because of it, although it sucks that you had to go through that. But you know, I want to highlight what you said because I think it is so crucial for so many people to hear that you took the bull by the horns. Your recommending that people like they have to dive into their financials and money and financial records accounts what have you is something that scares a lot of people. Or they say I just don't know. I'm not a numbers person, but what you pointed out is so critical that their lawyer, their accountant, their forensic accountant, their Text person there, whoever it is that's on their team trying to figure this stuff out, isn't going to necessarily know what isn't true by looking just at numbers, because, to your point, they wouldn't know your husband never brought a magazine in his life right and to put a thousand dollars a month for magazines.


You know that's not true and you can say to them this isn't true because of this, this isn't true. Look at this, I've got questions about this, this, this, this and this, and these are the reasons and, armed with that knowledge, you are now then giving the professional the tools or the information that they need to follow up and to help you in the long run. But the challenge is if you don't do that, if you just bury your head in the sand and say, for me, for me, for me, I can't do this, you're not gonna win, you're not going to do well and you know you're gonna end up with a bigger mess on your hands.

Tracy Malone Guest28:31

And and what you just said is a really valid point. It's not about the numbers. We skate, we get scared because the financials are about the numbers. But I'm looking at magazines, not the dollars. I'm looking at what rent, what you know, it wasn't the numbers. You're not sitting there like an accountant. The people who are afraid of money are afraid of the numbers and putting them in a spreadsheet and that's. You know, that's their thing. Everyone's got that right. We've got a thing. That's not what you're talking about. You're going consistency. Do you know about the Wells Fargo account? Do you know about this? You know, hey, wait a second, there's something to spirit air. Where'd they go? Oh, there's a hotel. Oh, where'd they go? Because that's not part of what I know. Then you start to unfold maybe the affairs or this or consistent things that don't make sense. You know that the person putting the numbers in a spreadsheet is doing the numbers, but they're not looking at that difference in the stuff and going that's weird that they would go to. You know, there, that doesn't make sense. You know, I didn't even know they went there. What happened there? And then you open up another piece. It's a very big detective hat kind of moment. But so it's not about the numbers. I want people to realize that looking at the financials is about the what's this, not a hundred and forty-two dollars?

Karen Covy Host29:45

Yeah, absolutely. So what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people make when they're divorcing a narcissist?

Tracy Malone Guest29:53

Well, so many, so many. First of all, that the thing that that many people think, when they're just so fed up with them, if I just walk away from it, they'll go away. If I just give them everything they want, then it will be okay and I'll be free and that's all I care about it. Only want to be free and I get 20 of those a week. It's like yes, but it doesn't mean that you boost stops, especially if you've got children. It's a walking away from the money you think okay, you know what, I'll keep just my retirement, you keep everything. I don't even want the house, just take it, go right there winning. You think they'd go away. They don't. They're like rabbit dogs. They make another case, they make another thing, they keep on coming right. A lot of people don't set goals for what they want in the divorce. They're just floundering going out.


Oh, what do I have? What can I have? I don't know right, but it's like I want this, I want the kids, I want this, I want my time, I want this. I'd like to have a place to live with the kids, that safe. Boom, boom, boom, they get hooked on to the. You know, I want this, I want that.


But if you have a goal that I want peace in the hands, I want financial security as much as I can then you don't go into a hundred thousand dollar divorce battle. You settle for things. You come to a different place. If money is your goal, right, I need to save more. I don't want to go to battle. You're making different decisions. So having that goal is important.


I think a lot of people also make the mistake of not planning for the children as they grow. So I do a lot of work with parenting plans and I see people going well, my kids for. So they'll go to this preschool and that's all that makes it. And then you know the next step comes and they have no plan and with a narcissist, it's objection, objection, objection. So having those sort of things is is really important and you know just understanding that the more details that you have in a Divorce decree, in a parenting plan, the more peace you'll have in the future. It might take a lot more time to fight for them, but fight now while you've got a team, and not fight later because you've got. Hey, if that happens, we've got it, we've got an answer for it.


Right and protecting yourself financially. I have a thing in my book, called though, what if they don't cause, which is nothing anyone would ever know what it's called. But I was in a contempt of court hearing with a client and he was supposed to sell a rental property and give her money and it had been two years and she'd filed motions to compel, motions to comply, compel, comply, condemn, blah, blah, blah, until they were finally in the court two years later, and it was a different lawyer for her, but the same judge, and the judge's like sir, you have to pay her and you have to pay her 30 days or you're going to go to jail. He's like well, how long would I go to jail for? She was like until you pay forever.


He's like well, how can I pay if I'm in jail? He's just like I don't care, you pay. So after that my client's lawyer stood up and said well, judge, why should my client have paid $20,000 to get us here today when you ordered him to do this a couple of years ago? Could we please ask for legal fees? And the judge said I would love to, but it wasn't in the first decree. So if you have something in there that says if either party doesn't comply with everything that's in there, like he was ordered to do it Now, I gotta take it back. Guess what? You're paying my legal bills too. Right, that's what we wanna put protection in, because there's a lot of protection that we need to add. That is out of the norm of a normal divorce decree. That one will save you if they don't comply. Like this story, I gave you boom. She would not have had to pay that $20,000.

Karen Covy Host33:31

Yeah, that's really sad and just the lawyer in me wants to point out it all depends on what's in your decree and what the law of the state is. But why leave anything up to chance? Right, and you make a very good point, because this isn't a divorcing a narcissist is not a quote unquote normal kind of divorce. It's more contentious, it takes longer, it costs more. The fight is it expands geometrically compared to what an ordinary divorce might be. So you really have to plan for that and shore up, dot all the i's, cross all the t's, do everything that you can on the front end, because what most people don't realize is the volume of cases that are in court after the divorce is over, because the fighting doesn't necessarily end when the divorce ends. Would you agree with that?

Tracy Malone Guest34:33

Absolutely it never does and even if it's just, if you've got kids, it's just that going on. It's financial, going on. It's trickery, it's lies, it's gaslighting, it's harassment, it's not being able to pick up your clothes because you ran out of the house out of a desperate domestic violence situation and we're gonna stop you from doing that. Like I've had clients with 15 people they've had to hire, including people to pick up their clothes.


This is not normal and that's what we're saying. pre-divorce, post-divorce, it never ends unless you put up a lot of boundaries, and boundaries are like in a parenting plan pick them up here, drop off there. You have to have that book ending, those details that define it. You get them Christmas and Christmas starts at three o'clock on this time and it ends on this day. Right In my book I have a story where the husband, in this case, picked up the children for Christmas and didn't bring them back for two weeks because it didn't say when. Well, it's Christmas break, so I just assumed, well, it doesn't say that, right. But she had to call the police eight times. They wouldn't let her children go back because it didn't say it. If you have it defined, it ends and you come back out here. Now we can call the police and say they were supposed to be back at three o'clock and they're not here. We don't have anything to do. So getting those details in is imperative when you're with a narcissist 100%.

Karen Covy Host36:01

Everything needs to be laid out on paper. But the challenge is, when you're in that negotiating stage, it's easy to kick the can down the road because you're so tired of fighting. You're so tired of fighting, but there are some details that you can give up on and you don't want a parenting plan that's 200 pages long. That's not going to be helpful. But you do need a level of detail in your parenting plan that an ordinary, a couple that's amicable, they're just like yeah, bring them up, you can bring them home later. Four o'clock is fine, or I don't know. Do you want three? They talk, they negotiate, they work it out and the kids are better off for it. But if you are divorcing someone who's a narcissist or any kind of high conflict personality, it doesn't matter whether they've been diagnosed with something, but you've got a lot of conflict in your marriage and your divorce.

Tracy Malone Guest36:53

You don't have those details down and that's what's going to come back and bite you for sure, and so it's about encouraging your lawyer to put as many details as humanly possible and again in your state or your laws. But you're fighting for them, you're going to put them in and they're going to say, no, we don't want that. No, so it's ask for more land on somewhere that you can settle and just be like, okay, I can live without that, but my goal is here. So I want to come back and do this one and you negotiate, you leverage your back and forth with all of these pieces. It's a game, but hopefully you get enough of your happy things on the thing.

Karen Covy Host37:33

That will promote more peace in the post-divorce stage 100% and what's implicit in what you're saying that is important for people to hear is that who's on your team? Do you have support? Because to divorce a narcissist is absolutely exhausting. It's exhausting on a good day and if you don't have people there who can pick you up, who can help you out and carry you when you're just down and want to give up, who won't let you give up the farm. To have the divorce professionals on your team that you need and the divorce support group. I know, Tracy, you've got some amazing support groups and those are a tremendous help so that you don't feel like you're all alone and people can give you ideas. Oh, that happened to me. I did this. It worked. I did this, it didn't work. Don't do that. That kind of thing can be such a blessing for people.

Tracy Malone Guest38:32

Absolutely, absolutely. And then that's what people need. And again, support groups can cause money. Or you can go on Facebook I got 16,000 people in that group. Put your stuff in there and you'll get a lot of people giving you answers and support. And if you can't afford to be in a group setting, go to something like that. Just because you can't, I can't afford it. Go to a Facebook group, go to a different place. Find the support, because there's so many people that are surthrivers that will give back and tell you hey, I handled it this way, my lawyer, ask your lawyer about this, this might work. That's what you need, 100%.

Karen Covy Host39:08

Tracy, thank you so much for being here. We could talk, we could go on for hours and hours and hours, and we're definitely going to have to have you back. But in the meantime, can you tell people where they can find you and where they can find your book?

Tracy Malone Guest39:23

Sure. So my book Divorcing your Narcissist: You Can't Make This Shit Up is on Amazon and Barnes Noble, it's on Audible, it's on Kindle, so you don't have to have a big book on your night table that says you're divorcing them. You can hide it on your Kindle. And you can find everything about me on my website, All the social medias, the links to my group are there, my coaching information is there and literally hundreds and thousands, actually pages of resources. So divorce research. I have every single legal aid service in the country by state listed. So if you can't afford legal, here's a legal aid. I'm not saying it's good, but if you got nothing, this is better than nothing. Here's where you call them, here's the phone number. Find those things, and so that's where you'll find me. All my socials up there, and I've got my YouTube, my podcast. It's crazy how much stuff I have.

Karen Covy Host40:22

It is crazy how much stuff you have, but I'm glad you have it. I know a lot of other people are glad you have it and I'm very glad that you are a guest on this podcast. I'm definitely going to have to have you come back, but again, thank you so much. And for everyone out there who's listening or who's watching, if you like this video, if you liked the podcast, if you like what you hear and you want more of it, please give the video a thumbs up, give the podcast a thumbs up, leave a review like subscribe and I'll see you again next time.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


dealing with divorce, deciding to divorce, divorce strategy, high conflict divorce, off the fence podcast

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