Women who divorce narcissists face a good chance of winding up in court. Most couples settle their divorces because they want to get out of the marriage with little damage to themselves, their children and their wallets. But narcissistic spouses don’t care. The trait almost guarantees the narcissist will be gunning for a long and ugly proceeding. The children will be collateral damage. The narcissist will drag family and friends into the battle. They will smear their spouse’s reputation.
The number of men who are narcissists is almost double the number of women. Women seek between 60 percent and 69 percent of divorces. Those numbers add up to one thing: the narcissist’s wife needs to be ready.
She won’t see much success in trying to mediate the divorce. A narcissist sees no need to reach a compromise. The narcissist needs to be right. The narcissist needs to win.
Look for a narcissistic husband to play the system. They relate to people by keeping others off balance in order to hold onto power. Their ability to feel empathy is impaired, so they won’t see hurting wives or children emotionally as a problem.
The narcissist gets a thrill out of dragging his wife into court and prolonging the proceeding. Power and control are his goals, not resolution. He doesn’t just want to win; he wants you to lose. He doesn’t care how long it takes, and that gives him an advantage over the wife who wants out fast. Obstruction is an essential strategy. His attorney has instructions to file a ton of motions and delays. Running up the legal bills and maligning his partner is another part of the game plan.
The narcissist’s wife should pay attention to these defenses:
Alert your attorney
Make sure your legal defense understands the narcissist’s behaviors. Insist that your attorney take an active role in countering all the delays and other strategies. Give careful consideration to the best ways to respond. If your attorney is unfamiliar with a narcissistic opponent or unwilling to meet him head on, you may have to look for a new attorney who will be quick to take action.
Document your evidence.
Save records of everything, especially expenses. Attorneys say the ability to discredit your ex’s lies is important in case it’s his word against yours. Narcissists don’t have a problem with lying to win.
Don’t give in to anger.
Remember that the narcissistic spouse is a world-class game player. Don’t let him suck you in. Resist the temptation to leave angry or harassing texts, emails or voice messages. This is especially important if you have children. The narcissistic soon-to-be ex won’t hesitate to edit and replay damaging communications. Any communication is risky.
A grateful thanks to Peg Streep of Psychology Today, who consulted a psychologist and an attorney for expert advice to write an in-depth look at 13 Things You Must Know if You Are Divorcing a Narcissist. It’s a must-read for any woman facing a divorce.