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How A Narcissist Reacts To Divorce

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Mar 25 2021

How a Narcissist Responds to Divorce

You have taken the first step and decided you want to take your life back and you are ready to divorce your narcissist husband, what now?  First, consult with an attorney that has experience in cases with narcissists, they will be well-versed in what works and what does not when dealing with this personality disorder.  Next, you need to let your husband know that you want a divorce, as if that is not hard enough you are adding the unpredictability of a narcissist.  It is difficult to gauge exactly how he will react but given that he is notorious for over-reacting and extreme mood swings it is best to be prepared before confronting him.  We have put together a list of common reactions and actions to divorce by a narcissistic husband.

Blame-Shifting – A narcissist will accept no responsibility for the end of the marriage or any problems in the relationship.  Because he has such a high opinion of himself, he is incapable of taking accountability or admitting fault to anything.  He needs a target to blame, and it will be you, your family, your friends and anyone in your circle or team.  Your children will not be spared either, he will have no problem blaming problems on them as well.  Anyone but himself.  The best way to handle this is to not argue with him and try to defend yourself.  He will never see your way and it will just bring more verbal abuse on yourself.  Not engaging with him will help to cut off his manipulation of you.

Playing the Victim – A narcissist is selfish and self-involved and unable to consider the feelings of anyone but himself.  He will be completely focused on how this affects him with no concern for you or your children.  He will take it one step further and claim to everyone you know that he is the victim in the marriage.  He will say you are difficult, trying to steal his children from him and robbing him of all his money.  He will lie and make up false accusations about you to garner sympathy and make everyone think you are a horrible person and he is a saint for putting up with you for all these years.  This will be difficult for you to ignore because you will want to defend yourself but try to remain calm and silent.  This is another manipulation tactic of his and the best way to handle it is to not react.  He feeds off your reactions and when you no longer engage, he loses his control.  This will take all your will power and strength, but no response is the best response.

Hiding Assets – You have rejected him and acted in a way that is not favorable to him, so now he will see you as his enemy in a battle that he must win.  Since he lacks empathy he will not care if you or your children are fairly provided for after the divorce, he only cares about himself.  He has no problem lying to attorneys, judges and you.  He will lie about his income, try to hide assets, be uncooperative in the discovery phase and unnecessarily drive up the legal bills.  He will not care, as long as he wins, whatever the cost.  He thinks his tactics are clever and he will outsmart everyone, but the legal system has seen many narcissists before him, and they know all the games.

Total Chaos – We sound like a broken record, but a narcissist must win.  He will make mountains out of molehills, the smallest thing will be blown out of proportion, he will make everything as hard and dramatic as possible.  He will make threats, use stall tactics, file endless motions and run up the legal bill with frivolous claims.  He will not negotiate or settle on even the most minor item; he believes he is the victim and you are trying to take everything from him.  By making the process as difficult as possible he is in control and everyone involved will be feeding his narcissistic supply.  Try to remain calm and not let him push your buttons, he knows your weaknesses and he will try to capitalize on them.

Bullying and Manipulation – A narcissist is very vengeful and loves a good fight.  He will turn his bullying and word salad techniques into overdrive.  He will use your own words against you and you will start to question your own feelings and motives. This is the word salad effect; he gets you so confused on what you said that you doubt yourself.  Expect texts, emails and voice mails threatening you and accusing you of horrible things.  Save all of these, you will be able to use his words against him in court.  Document everything and keep records of all your interactions with him.

It will be hard to determine what his exact reaction will be, and you cannot control it, but you can prepare yourself and devise strategies to counteract.  Once you have told him you want a divorce the best thing you can do is limit communication as much as possible.  This gives him less opportunity to manipulate and control you.  This is the time that you must think strategically and not emotionally.  You will not be able to reason with him and you do not want to fall into the trap of arguing with him.  Do not respond to his mean texts, emails or voice mails, he is trying to get a reaction out of you whether it is positive or negative.

In a high conflict divorce your attorney is your biggest asset and best investment.  You are not just divorcing your husband but planning your future.  A narcissist has a ‘take no prisoners’ mentality and with an inexperienced attorney your future and your children’s is at stake.  Your attorney will fight for the best outcome for you, protect you and be your communication source with your husband.  Take back control of your life and your future with Florida Women’s Law Group.  We were built to help women just like you and are here to support you throughout the entire process and empower you to end up better both financially and emotionally.

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