Most people have heard the word “narcissist” in family law. However, not every divorce has a spouse who may exhibit narcissistic tendencies. However, a narcissistic divorce refers to a divorce involving a spouse who exhibits narcissistic personality traits or has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Such divorces can be particularly challenging due to the characteristics often associated with narcissism, such as: lack of empathy, sense of entitlement, and a need for admiration. A narcissistic relationship can look like manipulation, isolation from family members, holding grudges, name calling, and self-centered behavior.
Common issues in narcissistic divorces may include high-conflict interactions, attempts to control the narrative, and difficulty reaching a fair settlement.
Co-parenting with a narcissistic individual can also be extremely challenging and difficult since there are children involved who ultimately suffer because of the narcissistic individual. It is important to establish clear boundaries, communicate in writing, prioritize your child’s well-being and consider involving a mediator or co-parenting therapist to facilitate communication and resolve conflict.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when dealing with a narcissistic spouse/partner and/or co-parent.
- Set boundaries and make them very clear to the other party. You may have to be assertive, but always remain calm when establishing your limits.
- Personal attacks should be avoided at all costs. Focus on the issue at hand and avoid attacking their character.
- Limit your emotional investment. Narcissists thrive on attention and arguments. Try to detach emotionally.
- Choose your battles. Not every situation requires confrontation and be sure to pick your battles wisely or you will find yourself in a battle regularly.
- Seek Support: friends, family, therapist or spiritual guidance. You will need guidance and emotional support.
- Practice self-care: Prioritize your well-being and engage in activities that reduce stress and maintain your mental health. Prioritize your own happiness and mental health. If the relationship is toxic, consider whether distancing or ending it is the best option for you.
- Maintain realistic expectations: Accept that a narcissist may not change and be prepared for their continued behavior.
- Document interactions: Be sure to document all correspondence with the other party.
Should you find yourself in a narcissistic relationship and you are considering divorce and/or separation and need further advice regarding your options, please do not hesitate to call our offices for a consultation.
**Disclaimer: The Law Offices of Makupson & Howard, A PC are not mental health professionals. We can only provide legal advice regarding divorce, legal separation and custody/visitation.