Be prepared to put up a fight of a lifetime. Because your soon-to-be narcissistic ex won’t go down easy.
While millennials have casually thrown the word around, narcissists are more than just self-centred. For them, the whole world revolves around them and they bear no responsibility for their actions. So, if you’re divorcing a narcissist, gird your loins and try not to walk into a trap they have set for you in court.
Egomaniac, lack of empathy, extremely high fashioned sense of grandiose – just a few terms that can be associated with a narcissist. To say, narcissists, have an alluring personality is undermining them. They got to win, they thrive on being admired especially from an empath (probably a spouse, or their children, or colleagues). You might not even be aware of this personality disorder in the beginning but after they have “acquired” you and have nothing left to pursue, the narcissus of their character comes forth; maybe years later even.
But before you dedicate your money to divorce your narcissistic husband, there are a few things you need to take care of first.
Related reading: 7 Reasons Why Narcissists Can’t Maintain an Intimate Relationship
What Does A Narcissist Husband Do?
Narcissists follow a specific pattern in their behaviour – The building of the tension (aided by major life changes), explosion and finally the love bombing.
The building of the tension can be brought by any monumental life changes: pregnancy, death in the family, or the birth of a child. The changes shift the focus from the narcissist to someone else and it sort of makes the narcissist resent people around him.
Explosion: It’s brought by hurting people around him. If you receive an angry text, remember it’s everything else in his life that is making them act out.
It is never about you.
The honeymoon or love bombing happens when they are in need of something – be it money, love, validation or allegiance. This is when you can clearly see how alluring and enticing, they can actually be.
Narcissists are predictable. Their cycle of abuse follows a pattern. With all the hurt and pain, they cause to everyone, they will never take responsibility for them. Even if your soon-to-be ex-husband is raging a battle in court against you, expect nothing but ruthlessness.
Because once they set out to win, it’s in their nature to win at all costs
Stages Of Divorcing A Narcissist
After you have determined your spouse is a narcissist, and you are sure of seeking a divorce, be prepared for it is not going to be easy. Don’t even think about having an uncontested divorce. In fact, I’d take the leap to say it can be extraordinarily difficult and trying because no matter how kind you may be, a narcissist will still come after you. If your reason for divorcing your husband is because he is a narcissist, you’ll need proof.
1. Gathering intelligence
Time to channel your inner sleuth. Gather as much information about your husband. A grandiose narcissist will have his finance hidden from you. Credit card statements, ATM receipts, ‘business trips’ information – anything that’s hidden two feet under the ground, you need to make them see light. Document everything, every little thing.
2. Be light on your feet
If your narcissistic husband finds out you are planning on divorcing him, all hell can break loose. The best approach is to slam a divorce on his face while he is planning a trip to Malibu, leaving him lesser time to prepare his defence. For you know, a narcissist thrives on winning – there is nothing that comes between him and the win. When it comes to divorcing a narcissist, know very well that nothing is off-limits for him – you need to be really discreet and careful even with what you are thinking
3. Gather proof from social media
Flexibility is not a strong suit. If anyone disses them on Facebook, they will concoct an entire paragraph dissing them back; and they won’t be kind. Screenshot material as much as you can. Like I said before, divorcing a narcissist requires careful planning and you need to document everything – they can delete anything offensive that they might have written on social media/texts.
4. Understand you are not the problem
“How could I not see the kind of person he is?” No, do not beat yourself up about it. You might have been love-bombed by him at the beginning of your relationship and there was no way to tell he would turn out to be an egomaniac master of disguise. And knowing that narcissists are master manipulators, it is not easy not to fall in the trap.
5. If you have any children, prepare them for the upcoming battle
If you are divorcing your narcissistic husband who has also fathered your children, things might get a little crazy. Not just for both of you, but for your children who probably have not seen/do not know Papa Dearest’s other side. Your narcissistic husband will most definitely want custody which will lead to a custody battle over your children. Prepare them mentally. You don’t have to make them hate their father, just the necessary information about how mommy and daddy won’t be living together anymore.
Related reading: 13 signs he disrespects you and does not deserve you
Strategies Of Divorcing A Narcissistic Husband
1. Lawyer up good
If you are going to court, you better get a lawyer who specialises with divorce cases involving a narcissist. Remember: not everyone will get you. You do not need a “Kuch nahin kar sakte aur” or “That’s’ the best I can do right now”. Your legal representation must be attuned to dealing with strategies narcissists use in court so you can devise the best plans beforehand. Don’t go with the best lawyer, but go with the one who knows how to deal with a narcissist.
Related reading: How to find a good divorce lawyer in India?
2. Document evidence carefully with your lawyer
Dealing with a narcissistic husband will require you know what evidence to use when. If there is an ongoing proceeding in court about your parenting abilities, using spending callousness of your husband as retaliation is not going to do any good. Document evidence with your lawyer and stick to it.
3. Don’t lose your cool
The worse thing about being married to a narcissist is divorcing one. Divorcing a narcissist is nothing short of war. Expect side digs at you in front of a judge. If you have kids, your one parenting mistake will be highlighted in neon green. And because he is a narcissist, there will be times when false remarks will be made against you just to get you all horns and rattles. How you react will show what kind of a temperament you have at your home. So, no matter what, do not lose your cool.
4. Ignore his love bombs
Your husband loves to make you feel loved. The sweet summer romance at the beginning of the relationship makes a comeback to throw you off your guard, especially when things have become legal. A narcissist will bomb you with, “I still love you very much” or “Can’t we work it out?” These little doses will soothe you with a hope of reconciliation but remember: he is never going to not be a narcissist. Do not fall for them.
5. Have your own people on your side
Divorcing a narcissist won’t be friendly. Narcissists are best at getting people to like them and empathize with them. If given the opportunity, they will make you seem like the bad person in the whole divorce. It’s important to figure out who your allies are; the people who will not get swayed by your narcissistic husband’s portrayal of you. A close group of allies will help you after you are done with the divorce.
6. Manipulate them into thinking they “won”
Nothing gives them more pleasure than knowing they have won. Pick your battles correctly and if possible, let your narcissistic husband think they have actually “won” the Goa beach house from you in the divorce battle. Narcissists thrive on winning. So manipulate him into getting what he wants while you get what you have wanted all along.
A lot of mind games for a divorce but who said divorcing a narcissistic partner is going to be devoid of one?
Life After The Divorce
If you are told you will find a better husband soon enough (Indian aunties won’t leave you alone until you do), they don’t know what they are dealing with.
Divorcing a narcissist husband will make you lose faith in relationships and men in general. The red flags that you had previously ignored with your ex-husband will forever taunt you and haunt you. Any charismatic person who comes your way will make you doubt if you are making the same mistake. And needless to say, you will stay out of the dating game for a bit.
The shattered expectation of a forever, the broken promises, the endless pain caused, the aftermath of divorcing a narcissist keeps hitting you.
- People with a narcissistic personality disorder will try to claw back into your life, even if that means sending you a sarcastic Insta text message
- Do not retaliate to the messages – stick to replying yes or no
- Also remember: not all of his messages need a response
- If you have children together, set boundaries. If by rule, he gets to spend time with the children during the Diwali weekend, stick to it. If he asks for extra time, it’s best not to let him do that. Once you allow that, he will keep asking more favours
- Do not be empathy. Narcissists have an empath in their life. In the marriage, you were the empath. You do not need to be one after the divorce. Next time he calls you up to complain about work, do yourself a favour and tell him you are busy
- Building a life after a divorce is hard but it’s possible
- In times of confrontation or a fight, take the high road. If your ex is trash talking about you, take the high road
Practice self-compassion. Practice screening his calls if necessary. Move on and start meeting new people when you are ready.