“You can’t live with them — and they don’t want you to live peacefully without them, either.” That’s probably the best way to describe the situation when you’re divorcing a narcissist.
While most divorces (about 95%) end up being settled without litigation through some combination of negotiation, mediation and collaboration, you can’t expect a divorce with a narcissist to go that way. In fact, you should probably anticipate ending up in court.
The nature of a narcissist’s psychological disorder almost guarantees that they’ll approach the situation as if there can only be one winner — and they’re determined to be it. They may also use a court battle to force you to keep engaging with them and get your attention. They also frequently like the sense of power they get from aggravating you with motion after motion and dragging you into court over yet another issue.
How can you cope? Here are some suggestions:
- Anticipate the behavior. You can handle things a lot easier if you simply stop expecting them to come to their senses, see reason, play fair or even tell the truth.
- Don’t communicate directly with them. Narcissists love to antagonize others and then play the victim. Don’t fall for the trap by giving them ammunition in the form of texts, emails and messages that betray your anger.. Letting your attorney handle all the correspondence will give you a buffer and ultimately frustrate the narcissist’s attempts to provoke you.
- Keep detailed records. Again, you can’t expect the narcissist to be truthful or forthright about anything. Good records can help you spot the lies and prove your case in court.
You’ve probably never been in this situation before, so it’s understandably scary. Fortunately, most family law attorneys have seen these kinds of family dramas unfold many times, which is why they’re uniquely prepared to help.