Many women who are married to narcissistic husbands become fed up with the situation and decide to get a divorce. While separating and filing for divorce might bring an immediate sense of relief from the challenges of living with a narcissist, the challenges might very well continue throughout the divorce process.
Divorce is difficult enough without the complications that a spouse with a narcissistic personality disorder can bring to the table. You might face unexpected and unnecessary conflict throughout the legal process, as your spouse might repeatedly attempt to make the divorce as trying as possible for you. Even if you have been dealing with their behavior for years, it can be challenging to stand your ground and ensure that you fight for your rights in the divorce.
How Narcissistic Traits Can Create Complications
In many divorces, both spouses will recognize that – despite their differences – compromise and cooperation will save them money, time, and stress.
However, narcissistic personality traits can make it nearly impossible for your spouse to agree to compromise. Some common personality traits of narcissistic people can include:
- Unjustified sense of entitlement
- Inflated superiority and self-importance
- Putting down those they believe to be inferior to them
- Expecting constant admiration or recognition
- Expecting others to comply with their wishes without question
- Being unable to realize the needs or feelings of others
- Inability to calmly handle stressful situations
- Difficulty adapting to change
- Constantly changing their wants and desires
- Reacting with angry outbursts or even vengeance if they believe they are not getting what they want at the moment
Because they believe they are superior and in the right, narcissists tend to think that everyone else is in the wrong. Even if your spouse caused most of your marital problems and conflict, expect to be blamed and for them to present themselves as the victim in the situation.
To make matters worse, once your spouse starts blaming you, they will likely be unwavering in this position. They will likely start to believe this narrative themselves.
Expecting Too Much
Because your spouse might believe they are the victim of the divorce, and they might already have an inflated sense of entitlement, they likely will feel entitled to much more than their share in the outcome of your case. They might refuse to agree to a reasonable division of property, custody arrangement, or financial support order.
This might also be the case if your spouse is feeling vengeful and trying to “get back” at you by trying to take everything away from you. This fight to “get everything” can cause serious complications in your legal case.
First, divorce is always simpler and faster when spouses can reach their own agreement. Whether you can agree on the major issues on your own or through mediation, presenting the court with an agreement upfront can save the time and expense of litigation. You should not have to give up more than necessary, however, just because your spouse demands it.
If your spouse is making unreasonable demands that deprive you of property or custody rights under the law, you should stand your ground, no matter how difficult that might seem.
How the Right Divorce Lawyer Can Help in this Situation
Narcissists know how to manipulate a situation to get what they want, so it is important that you have the right divorce attorney on your side from the start of the process. An attorney can look at the situation objectively and keep reminding you of your rights and what you deserve in the divorce outcome.
An experienced lawyer will not take your spouse’s actions and words personally and can help you stay the course until your divorce is final with a fair outcome for you.
In many cases, having an attorney act as an intermediary between your soon-to-be-ex and you can give you the time and space you need to see your situation clearly. In addition, not communicating with your husband directly can prevent you from falling into the unhealthy patterns of communication that likely played a role in the demise of your marriage.
This can often facilitate reaching an out-of-court agreement, which will almost certainly save you a significant amount of time and money.
In some cases, it may be a good idea to ask your spouse to agree to a psychiatric evaluation in order to establish evidence regarding his personality disorder. This is particularly true in cases where you believe your children may be put in danger of emotional or physical harm due to his issues. An official recent diagnosis could be used as evidence in your favor when it comes to the determination of child custody.
Just because your spouse has narcissistic personality traits does not mean you should give up your rights in your divorce case. When you meet with your lawyer initially, be honest about your spouse’s personality, so your lawyer knows what they will be dealing with right from the start. They can then plan a strategy to help you obtain a successful outcome as efficiently as possible.