Welcome to the first in my series of blogs on divorcing a narcissist. If you know anything at all about narcissists, you understand they don’t want you to leave them. Things could get nasty if you try. So, it’s essential to be prepared if you are contemplating such a move.
The first and most important question to ask yourself is: Is my spouse truly a narcissist? There is a great deal of information published on this topic. This blog is not exhaustive. Here are some common traits and behaviors:
- Narcissists take advantage of others to feel better about themselves. They divide people in order to gain power over them.
- Narcissists are overly concerned with impressing others and often embellish their accomplishments. They are very concerned with their exterior appearance.
- Narcissists lack empathy; they fake concern or affection.
- Narcissists can become nasty with people who don’t give them the agreement and admiration they believe they are entitled to. They expect automatic compliance from those around them.
- The narcissistic spouse regularly dismisses or even denies your feelings while complaining that you don’t do what he or she wants.
- Narcissists present alternate realities and their victims tend to question their own understanding of reality. This is known as “gaslighting.” They take pleasure in getting others worked up.
- Partners of narcissistic people are under constant pressure to do just the right thing in order to keep the peace.
- The narcissistic spouse works to keep their partner down through constant criticism, incessant demands, and withholding love and affection. A narcissistic partner is happiest when his or her spouse looks good but feels needy.
- Partners of narcissists frequently become isolated. Narcissistic spouses slowly but thoroughly isolate their spouses from friends and erode their self-esteem.
- Narcissists often admit they are narcissists. They don’t believe they have a problem. Their ego prevents them from recognizing their part in things. It is never their fault.
Here and here are insightful articles expanding on the traits of a narcissist.
What to do next
If you think you may be married to someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you should first contact a mental-health professional to help you manage your stress and anxiety. Hopefully, this individual will help you sort through your concerns and gain clarity on this question. If you need any referrals, I would be happy to help you find one that is right for you.
As one writer notes, divorcing a narcissist is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult undertaking that requires courage, clarity and preparedness.
If you are ready to take the next step and contact a divorce lawyer, then contact one who is experienced in divorcing a narcissist. Contact me for a free no-obligation consultation. I can prepare and guide you through the legal and emotional minefield of divorcing a narcissistic spouse.