Personality disorders are deeply rooted patterns of behavior that somehow diverged from how the average person behaves. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a relatively common condition.
Those with NPD may use others to get what they want. They also probably have a massively inflated sense of self-importance. They generally feel like they can do no wrong and that the world owes them something.
Narcissists are often very manipulative and good at controlling what they show to others. It may have taken many years of marriage before you started to see the signs of your spouse’s NPD. Whether they have a formal diagnosis or a vicarious diagnosis through your therapist or similar professional, their condition will impact what your divorce will be like for you.
Prepare for a potentially contentious divorce
Those with NPD often hate feeling like they have lost something. They also have a strong desire to control how other people view them. You can expect that your ex will likely attempt to manipulate everyone from your children and your family, their in-laws, to the judge presiding over your divorce and any other professionals helping your family during this transitional time. Your ex likely won’t shy away from underhanded tactics when it comes to getting what they want from the divorce.
Emotional appeals will get you nowhere with someone who has NPD
Although emotions often flare during divorce, you might be able to appeal to your spouse’s better side by keeping the focus on your kids.
Emotional appeals asking for kindness are likely to fall on deaf ears if your spouse is a narcissist. In fact, they may not feel guilty about doing unconscionable things to you during the divorce, even if they know their actions will hurt your children as well.
They will refuse to compromise and try to hurt you if possible
Leaving a narcissist can bring out the worst in them. They may fight over every term intensely to make divorce as stressful and expensive as possible for you. They may also do anything they can think of to make you look like the one at fault in the relationship.
Divorcing a narcissist means exposing yourself to mentally abusive behavior from your ex. They may even try to use the courts to abuse or manipulate you. You will absolutely need legal support to protect yourself, keep a focus on the future and process the stress that comes from ending a relationship with a narcissist.