by Cheyenne Ismailciuc & Maya Shulman
The word narcissist has been thrown around, often towards people who can be truly drive you to insanity. These people tend to be arrogant and cunning for their own gain, exploiting people and situations for their own personal gains. It’s a heavy weighted word to use to describe someone, but sometimes you can’t help it. Maybe, in fact, you married a narcissist.
Being married to a narcissist is undoubtedly infuriating and emotionally taxing, so what happens when you try to divorce one?
Divorcing a Narcissist
A true narcissist will believe that they are above any law. A narcissist spouse will be a challenge to cooperate with since they may be convinced that they are right 100% of the time. Because of their self-centered nature, during the divorce case they may:
- Refuse to provide financial information and documents
- Refuse to negotiate
- Defy court orders
- Use children as pawns
- Even go against the advice of their lawyers
Their goal is to manipulate the situation to their advantage. Given the possibilities that one may encounter when divorcing a narcissist spouse, it’s of the upmost importance to have all your tools ready for when things will not go as planned; they often don’t with a narcissist.
First, it’s critical to have personal funds ready. This may seem as a crude first suggestion, but conflict in a divorce will rack up high attorney’s fees. It’s never wanted by either party, and attorneys would like to see an amicable divorce too, but it’s better to be overprepared than not.
Second, have your financial paperwork ready. Even if your narcissist spouse will possibly refuse documents, you should present all financial paperwork and documents to your attorney. Doing so will not only show that you are following the divorce process but it will push the divorce proceedings forward.
Third, be prepared. It’s likely that your narcissist spouse will throw any accusation, lie, or even imaginary story to make you look bad so they look innocent. Since they will try to play the victim in this scenario, do your best to brace yourself for it. Try to ignore their words and work with your attorney to prove your case to the court.
Obviously, the extra layer of divorce only complicates your engagement with a narcissist; but considering the impacts of the coronavirus, how do you deal with divorcing a narcissist during a pandemic?
Divorcing a Narcissist During a Pandemic
This added layer of complexity brings up even more unwanted problems, depending on where your narcissist spouse lives and what their occupation is.
These times are confusing and difficult to navigate. Even though it may be a challenge, you have to work with your spouse. Work with reason and compromise when dealing with the divorce proceedings. Also, understand it will take more time due to court hearing delays. Your narcissist spouse may still make things difficult, but if reason, compromise, and time doesn’t work, always speak with your attorney to see what legal steps you can take to ensure your divorce proceedings continue to follow through smoothly.
There will be bumps in the road to the world’s “new normal,” but it’s important to be considerate to others, even if they drive you mad. Next time there is a complication, you should:
- Try to negotiate. Maybe there is a way you both could win in this situation. But if children are in the equation, you both should always agree that they should be held as priority in every situation.
- Try to talk through it. Maybe it’s been hard to convince your narcissist spouse to do anything they wouldn’t want to, even if it’s to validate any health concerns. Try to play to their needs; if they want to really prove that they are the healthiest they’ve ever been, give them a reason why they would want to do it and how it could feed their ego.
- Try taking some time. This is a stressful situation for everyone. If you can come to a compromise with your narcissist spouse, try instead to give yourselves some breathing room. There is a lot of time to go around now, and taking a few days or even a week or two to regroup your thoughts may help put both of your circumstances into perspective.
Most importantly, have a strong divorce team by your side. Working with a qualified, compassionate attorney will make all the difference when having to divorce a narcissist. Know that your attorney is doing their best to move your proceedings along. This may be the most difficult thing you have to do, but once it’s done, you’ll surely be relieved.
We Are Here to Help
Shulman Family Law Group is the family law firm you can count on when dealt with a crisis like this. Not only does this firm have over 25 years of collective family law experience, but they are readily prepared to safely assist their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their offices are open for emergencies, but they are always available by phone or email.
Divorcing a narcissist is no easy process, but with Shulman Family Law you can guarantee that your case will be handled. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (818) 222-0010.