Narcissist Personality Disorder is a mental condition where people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships and a lack of empathy. Characteristics of narcissists and symptoms can vary drastically. While most people are not formally diagnosed with Narcissist Personality Disorder, it is quite common these days to hear the term “my spouse is a narcissist.”
As a result of the character traits of a narcissist, you will generally encounter the following from your ex-spouse in the divorce process:
- They want to maintain power and control.
- They want to win.
- They want to make it a game.
- They will refuse to provide financial information and documents.
- They will want to use the children as pawns.
Divorcing a narcissist or even a high conflict person can quickly become very exhausting and expensive. Here are some tips to successfully deal with a narcissist during your divorce:
- Keep a paper trail. Collect as much documentary evidence as possible (emails, texts, financial information). One of the best ways to prove a narcissist is lying is with documents. Keep a parenting calendar or journal. Most likely you will need this information for court or arbitration.
- Move the process along. A common tactic for a narcissist is to drag out the divorce. Discuss with your lawyer the different dispute resolution options and tactics to move your matter forward. Make sure you provide your lawyer clear instructions on how you wish to proceed.
- Limit direct communications with your ex. Keep your communications brief and factual. Email is one of the best methods of communicating with your narcissist spouse. As the communication is written, it can be used as evidence in court or arbitration.
- Choose your battles carefully. You do not need to defend every allegation made by your narcissist spouse. Listen carefully to your lawyer’s advice about what allegations you should respond to and how. You will want to save your attention and resources for the issues that matter most to you.
- Look after yourself: Your family lawyer is not your therapist. Get additional support from a counselor or therapist. Reach out to a good friend or family members to help you get through the divorce. It is important that you build your emotional support team.
The experienced lawyers at Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP deal with a variety of people every day, including narcissists. There are numerous methods to deal with high conflict individuals, including in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, and appearing in court.
Written by Sarah Macdonald