Unique Challenges of Divorcing a Spouse with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- posted: Nov. 20, 2023
Divorcing a spouse with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be challenging. Narcissists generally have an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. These traits can make them difficult to deal with in general, but they can be especially problematic during a divorce, which requires communication and compromise.
Some of the unique challenges involved in divorcing a spouse with NPD include:
- Narcissistic rage — Narcissists are known for their explosive temper and their inability to handle criticism. When they feel threatened or slighted, they may lash out in anger, verbally abusing their spouse and making threats.
- Gaslighting — This is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person tries to make their spouse doubt their own sanity and perception of reality. A spouse with BPD, when faced with losing their partner and getting divorced, may engage in this behavior by denying the issues their partner claims have caused a rift in the relationship, changing the story or accusing their spouse of being crazy. This can be very damaging to the spouse's self-esteem and mental health.
- Unrealistic expectations — Narcissists often have unrealistic expectations of their spouse and of the divorce process. They may expect their spouse to give them everything they want, even if it is unfair or unreasonable. They may also drag out the divorce process unnecessarily in an attempt to control their spouse or punish them.
- Alienation — Narcissists may try to alienate their spouse from their friends and family members. They may do this by spreading lies about their spouse, turning people against them, or simply making it difficult for their spouse to stay in touch with their loved ones. This can be very isolating and stressful for the spouse, especially if children are involved.
Working with a divorce attorney can be a valuable asset for anyone going through a divorce, but they can be especially helpful for those divorcing a spouse with NPD. An attorney can handle most of the communication with your spouse, which can help to reduce your stress and exposure to their narcissistic behavior. They can negotiate on your behalf on issues such as child custody, alimony and property division. Your attorney can also help to protect you from your spouse's narcissistic behavior by setting boundaries and enforcing the terms of your divorce agreement. This can help you to move on with your life and heal from the divorce.
Divorcing a spouse with NPD can be a difficult and challenging experience, but it is possible to get through it. By educating yourself, setting boundaries, building a support system and seeking professional help, you can protect yourself and your well-being during the divorce process and beyond.
From her Salt Lake City, Utah office, Attorney Victoria Cramer is one of the premier family law and divorce attorneys in the Salt Lake City region. If you are going through a difficult divorce, feel free to contact us online or call 801-299-9999 for an initial consultation.