His perspective is the only one a narcissist is able to see.
While divorce is inherently overwhelming and emotionally challenging, those of us who are faced with divorcing a narcissist experience a heightened level of fear and frustration. By the mere definition of a narcissist, “a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration in themselves”, it is nearly impossible to engage in a dialogue where both parties’ needs are heard and acknowledged.
I am divorced from a narcissist. Often our ‘conversations’ were simply me listening to his bombastic monologue. His ability to dialogue, to hear my perspective and consider it, was severely limited by his narcissistic personality disorder. His perspective is the only one he was capable of seeing. Like all sufferers of NPD, he was 100% sure he was right, 100% of the time. Someone that is not suffering from narcissistic personality disorder considers the perspectives of others and as a result, may question and adjust their own.
A common question we receive is how to divorce a narcissist and win.
This is especially difficult given that a narcissist is hardwired with the need to win at all costs. They will often fight to the bitter end regardless of the damage to your children and finances. A narcissist may even feel like a victim throughout the divorce process, seeing your concerns as unfair criticisms or a challenge to their turgid sense of entitlement. They are unable to fathom that they may be even the smallest part of the problem.
Now that you know how a narcissist thinks, you can adjust your approach and have greater control during your divorce. First, it is vital that you have a healthy sounding board, whether that be a close personal relationship or a professional coach or therapist. It is likely you have slowly ‘lost yourself’ amidst the years of your spouse’s certainty that he is right and you are wrong. You also need to look at your ability to set boundaries and uphold them; as most narcissists have little regard for any boarders not their own. Finally, you are well served to notice your own behavior.
I am speaking of acceptance. When you accept that a narcissist cannot and will not see your perspective, you stop trying to shove a round peg into a square hole. By accepting the limitations of your narcissistic spouse, you free yourself to find new solutions.
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Stop allowing your pretentious, soon to be ex-spouse to drive you insane! It is up to you to change the unhealthy and unconstructive pattern you have been engaging in with your husband.
For example, one thing I changed was I began to hang up on my ex (after numerous warnings). Otherwise, I would be kept on the phone for hours, listening to a one-sided conversation. This small act helped in two big ways, it broke the pattern of his dominance and it established a boundary that I enforced.
Lastly, for those who feel deeply victimized by a narcissist, a shift in perspective is valuable. Your narcissistic ex did not ask to be born with this personality disorder. At the time of this writing, there are no medications that treat NPD, and psychotherapy has shown to be minimally effective, if at all. When I learned this, I found a way to have compassion for my narcissistic ex. While it was not easy, it feels great to be rid of the ‘I am a victim of him’ mentality. Changing my perception from “he’s a huge a**hole, to he is someone suffering from a disease for which there is no treatment”, was a huge help. He must live with this disorder for the rest of his life, along with all the damage it does to his relationships. I, on the other hand, am healthy and free. I no longer hate. I no longer hurt. I am at peace.
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