Narcissism is a personality disorder in which an individual has excessive self-esteem or self-admiration. While nothing is wrong with self-confidence, narcissism reaches the level of an excessive need for attention and validation from others. A narcissistic person can damage relationships through inflated self-worth and lack of empathy. If you need to divorce someone who has narcissism, the process ahead may be more grueling than a typical divorce case in California.
Learn About Narcissism
Whether your spouse is a diagnosed or undiagnosed narcissist, start learning all you can about this disorder. The more you know about narcissism, the better prepared you can be for what is to come. Narcissism is a mental disorder characterized by a need for excessive attention, an inflated sense of self-importance and no empathy for others. Troubled relationships are also common among narcissists.
- Unreasonable expectations
- No close relationships (even with kids)
- Fantasies about success, power or love
- Resistance to criticism
These personality traits can make divorcing a narcissist a nightmare. With a bit of preparation and strategy, however, you can simplify the divorce process and protect your rights during a split. Knowing what to expect is the first step of the battle. From there, you can deal with your divorce with a better understanding of what is to come.
Document Your Relationship
Before you announce your divorce to family or even bring up the subject with your spouse, start getting things in order – starting with documenting your relationship. Document everything, from the details of your spouse’s contempt or abuse to conversations you have with your spouse about divorcing. Keeping track of important moments, events or decisions can create a record of the dissolution. Documentation is especially important during a divorce with a narcissist since he or she may make false allegations against you.
Prepare for the Worst
Do not assume your spouse will make your divorce impossible. Perhaps he or she will agree that it is for the best, despite narcissistic personality traits. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Prepare for the possibility of a strenuous legal battle. Warn your friends, family members, boss, coworkers and kids that your spouse may start spreading lies or taking other measures to hurt you during a divorce case. Fair warning may help prevent people from believing the false allegations your spouse makes in or out of court. Documenting things can help you prove your side if your spouse does start to make false accusations.
Hire an Attorney
Getting a narcissist to agree with you on the important terms of a divorce, such as child custody and property division, can be next to impossible without professional help. Hiring a lawyer to walk you through the divorce process is the best thing you can do to protect yourself during this difficult time.
A lawyer can handle communication with your spouse on your behalf. This can minimize the amount of conflict. A lawyer may also be able to control how long the divorce will take. Narcissists typically will not care how long a divorce takes or the price of the split. They would rather do everything they can to stop the divorce or to win than work with spouses to make divorce easier. Hiring an Orange County divorce attorney could help you prevent spending thousands of dollars on a long and drawn-out divorce case.
Your lawyer can guide you through your divorce with strategies such as mediation or arbitration rather than taking your case straight to court. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse so you can both avoid a messy and expensive trial. A reasonable and realistic attorney can expose the truth and quell a narcissist’s love for conflict. A lawyer can help you both make sense of your split and reach an agreement.