Divorcing a Spouse With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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Man Adjusting His Tie in Front of Mirror — Albuquerque, NM — Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC

The root cause of divorce for couples varies widely. From infidelity to financial distress, there are many reasons why couples choose to end their marriages. Another common problem for married couples is personality disorders.

Those with personality disorders, specifically Narcissistic Personality Disorder, can have a difficult time maintaining a marital relationship, though this is not the case for everyone. Some people with NPD can seek help with their personality disorders and have a happy marriage. Sadly, others cannot.

Read on to see some information on NPD and how it can impact your divorce if your spouse deals with this personality disorder.

What Exactly Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

A person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder has a strong sense of self-importance. These individuals often feel the need to be right, no matter the concern or argument at hand. They can sometimes be opportunistic and use others to their advantage. Narcissists can also be controlling and manipulative.

What Should You Expect When You Divorce a Narcissist?

One issue those with NPD have is the feeling of loss. Losing, no matter the issue, can be devastating for your spouse’s ego and mentality. A person with NPD wants to control the perception others have about him or her. For that reason, you can expect a rather contentious divorce if your spouse is a narcissist.

Your spouse may attempt to manipulate those around you to curry favor, including your family members, the judge on your divorce case, and other professionals who are working on your divorce.

Can You Compromise with a Narcissist?

In typical divorces, spouses can often work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce settlement. Issues such as child custody and asset division are generally easy to mediate and discuss before you go to court. Unfortunately, negotiations with a narcissist can be problematic.

You may think if you appeal to your spouse with NPD in an emotional way, particularly when it comes to your children, he or she may be more willing to work through your divorce peacefully. However, emotional appeals are not often successful with a person with NPD. Those with this personality disorder do not feel guilt or shame in most cases, even during such emotional matters.

A person with NPD may want to fight you on every term of your divorce, if for no other reason than to make the situation more painful to you. He or she may also try to manipulate the narrative to appear as a victim or to show you were to blame for the problems in the marriage.

How Can You Cope with a Narcissist During a Divorce?

Above all, you need a strong attorney to help you when you divorce a person with NPD. Many attorneys have experience with scenarios where one party to the divorce is a narcissist.

You need to work with an attorney who knows exactly what tactics a narcissist uses to manipulate the divorce. An attorney with this knowledge and experience will help keep the divorce on-task and moving despite any intervention from a narcissistic spouse.

Additionally, your primary job during your divorce is to document any and all communication your spouse has with you. A person with NPD is capable of altering or editing communication, so you need to preserve all texts, emails, voicemails, and any other communication you have to ensure you have the exact words spoken between the two of you.

If at all possible, limit communication with your spouse to include only necessary information. This will help limit the stress and frustration caused by your spouse and prevent an argument or a chance of manipulation.

If you have any questions about your divorce, please contact the Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.

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