Divorcing a Narcissist

Nawal Hougton, founder of Your Divorce Coach is a qualified solicitor and accredited mediator, combines her legal prowess and mediation skills to provide tailored support to her clients and specialises in the intricate dynamics of divorcing from narcissistic partners. www.yourdivorcecoach.org.uk

Divorcing a Narcissist is probably one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through; arduous, emotionally taxing and far from a typical divorce. Surviving a divorce with a Narcissist seems impossible let alone trying to win one. The main problems being you are dealing with someone that has no sense of morality or empathy and is someone that just sees ‘winning’ as their goal despite the consequences. Identifying the signs of a narcissistic partner is crucial in understanding why divorcing a narcissist is exceptionally challenging. 

The Mindset of a Narcissist

Narcissists want more than what they are entitled to and are clever at using the legal system to their advantage. They feed off our fear and anxiety and will use all and any information, even fabrication, to defeat you. No matter the cost to you or the children.

And why? They don’t see you as the victim, in fact, they genuinely believe they have been treated badly, and deserve all the assets in the marriage and also resident care of the children. Also, you are no longer of any use to them. You are no longer a useful form of supply and they see you as someone that needs to be defeated. “Me versus you”.

During a divorce, a Narcissist needs to save face and will often go for money, property and children in order to do this. It’s a good way of reducing child maintenance and it will hurt you. Your children can benefit from the attachment regulation and competency framework after a traumatic divorce.

They will also most probably have started their new life prior to divorce proceedings starting. They may have also siphoned money away for quite a while to other bank accounts, hiding income, transferring assets to other people, a variety of methods that will leave you hurt and shocked.

When divorcing a narcissist, it is important to understand that you are not divorcing a normal reasonable person, you are divorcing someone who will not be reasonable, sentimental or do the right thing; 

How do you tackle the divorce then?

How to Manage Communication during Divorce

Use another party like a Divorce Coach or your solicitor when dealing with any correspondence with a Narcissist. Asking someone else to respond ensures that the right response is given. Do not answer any communication regarding settlements or child residence other than through your solicitor. If the Narcissist attempts to harass you through social media platforms, text messages or emails, make sure you document everything in case you need it in the future. Document everything. My golden rule with clients is never to reply to a message or email from a Narcissist for at least 24 hours. Any response given prior to this is a reaction and not a response.

When instructing a solicitor make sure they are experienced in dealing with complex parties and that they have enough experience to take on a high conflict case. Perhaps they have experience of dealing with domestic violence cases, women’s refuge case, or anything that is more than the conventional divorce.

Don’t play a Narcissist’s Game

Try not to stoop to the Narcissist level. Don’t get sucked into the drama and the tactics. Don’t react to inflammatory or triggering comments from them, they are looking for a reaction, which feeds them supply. DON’T DO IT. 

Don’t respond to threats either, try to remain calm, stick with the boundaries you have set and do not feel obliged to answer anything that is not reasonable. Don’t play the Narcissists’ game, rather play the long, straight, authentic game as the truth will out. They cannot survive in an environment where truth exists. I do not recommend fighting Narcissism, you will lose because you are not them, you are not Narcissistic and have morals, empathy and sentiment. This is the very reason you will not win if you play as they do. 

Defend against Dirty Tactics

Narcissists play dirty. If there is any information about you that they can use against you, they will, in fact they will add to it, anything to reduce your credibility.

Be ready and unsurprised when it happens. Try not to be shocked, this is what they do. Don’t counter throw, or respond with tactics also. Express your credibility in a calm, considered and rational way. If it all gets too much, seek help from others who have experience with dealing with a Narcissist.

Brace for a lack of Empathy

During the divorce process, narcissists are unlikely to show empathy or take responsibility for their actions, even in conflict resolution. Instead of engaging in healthy discussions and seeking compromise, they will resort to aggressive tactics, legal maneuvers, and character attacks to get what they want. The narcissist is unable to compromise and they must win at all costs. 

Narcissists are skilled manipulators who will use gaslighting tactics to control the narrative and undermine their spouse’s credibility. They may twist facts, deny past events, and use emotional manipulation to make their partner doubt their recollection of events. This calculated manipulation can leave the victim questioning their own sanity and truthfulness.

Prepare to be frustrated and challenged and to rely on the guidance of a professional to navigate the choppy waters of narcissistic aggression. 

Navigating the storm created by a narcissistic partner requires resilience, support from experienced professionals, and a strong network of friends and family. By understanding the unique challenges of divorcing a narcissist, you can prepare yourself to protect your own well-being and emerge from the process with strength and determination. 

Written by: Nawal Houghton

As the founder of Your Divorce Coach, Nawal Houghton, a qualified solicitor and accredited mediator, combines her legal prowess and mediation skills to provide tailored support to her clients and specialises in the intricate dynamics of divorcing from narcissistic partners.

Nawal’s role as a divorce coach extends far beyond legalities. She serves as a personal mentor, bridging the gap between the law and the emotional well-being of her clients. Whether it’s before, during, or after the divorce, Nawal’s unwavering support and guidance empower individuals to overcome challenges and embrace new beginnings.

Through her remarkable expertise and compassionate approach, Nawal has steered countless individuals away from the clutches of narcissistic partners, enabling them to reclaim their lives. Her unwavering commitment to her clients’ success has earned her the reputation of being an invaluable resource in the realm of divorce and separation.