To learn more about how to go through a divorce if your former spouse is a narcissist, continue reading and give our legal team a call today. Our skilled Sussex County, Sparta divorce and separation attorney is on your side.
How to deal with a narcissistic ex during a divorce:
Educate yourself about narcissism. Most can agree that an amicable divorce is ideal, when divorcing a narcissist, you must assume that you most likely will not have one. By definition, narcissists tend are typically emotionally manipulative; they thrive on chaos and drama. Despite what your optimistic friends and family tell you, a former spouse with narcissistic tendencies might not “play fair” or put the children’s needs ahead of his or her own.
Still, regardless of these negatives, there are ways to shield yourself and the divorce process itself. Read books about narcissism to learn helpful ways to interact with this personality type without getting pulled into the drama.
Be prepared to litigate. However, don’t instantly disregard mediation as an option either. Mediation works best when two parties can examine issues face-to-face and entertain collaborative solutions. A high-conflict ex is usually not going to participate in that kind of process. On the other side, because high-conflict personalities usually feed on conflict, litigation with such a person often spirals out of control, resulting in a protracted, expensive, and emotionally draining court process. Consider a middle ground: look for a mediator with experience implementing a highly structured resolution method.
Don’t show emotion. A narcissist wants to stay emotionally engaged with you, even if he or she started the divorce. Allowing you to move on feels like a loss of control, something your ex can’t tolerate. In order to keep you engaged, a narcissist may pull nasty punches: shower you with hostile texts, e-mails, and voice mails; bad-mouth you to the children, and anyone else who will listen; make false allegations against you, and find any opportunity to make you feel crazy, stupid, and incompetent. If you respond defensively, try to explain why you are right, yell, or break down in tears, consider that you will only be providing the narcissist with the self-gratification of seeing you miserable. What to do instead? Stay calm, and try to disengage as fast as you can from the real-time or virtual conversation.
Adopt a “just the facts ma’am” communication style. Remember: when interacting with a narcissist, a good goal is to disengage as quickly as possible. Your job is to communicate about logistics and financial matters such as child support, not set the narcissist straight.
Keep firm boundaries. Narcissists think that the only rules worth following are their own, while other people’s rules are meant to be broken. To keep order and control in your life, you must be alert about setting and keeping firm boundaries. Unless there is a true time-sensitive issue, you really don’t need to reply to your ex’s texts and e-mails immediately. And stick to your court-ordered visitation plan. Do not let your former spouse exploit you into inconveniencing yourself and your children just to suit his or her schedule.
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If you are getting a divorce or have any other questions regarding divorce-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC for a consultation today.