Self-centered. Bullying. Exploitative. If these traits sound familiar, you are probably dealing with a narcissist. Trying to disengage from any type of relationship with a narcissist is a challenge, and when that relationship involves the legal and financial complexities of marriage, it becomes all the more difficult.
Fortunately, when you work with a divorce attorney who is experienced in managing narcissistic personality types, your legal advisor can shield you from much of the unpleasant conflict and guide you toward a positive resolution.
Plan Ahead to Protect Yourself
Someone with narcissistic personality traits tries to create the perfect life. Learning that their spouse wants out of the marriage plays havoc with that perfect image, so a narcissist will very often do everything they can to make things difficult for a spouse who is seeking a divorce. It is often a good idea to take protective measures before telling your spouse—and even friends and family—about your intentions.
Helpful protective steps can include:
- Making copies or photos of all financial documents including tax returns, bank account statements, employment information, and credit card statements. (If your spouse tries to lie or hide information, you’ll be ready.)
- Planning your announcement. Make sure that you are prepared and in control of the situation.
- Hiring an attorney who can guide you through the steps and handle communication with your soon-to-be ex.
- Finding a safe space to retreat to after you break the news. Most narcissistic personality types manipulate with emotional rather than physical violence, but you need to be prepared for the worst just in case.
Recognizing Attributes and Weaknesses
Narcissists exhibit wide ranges of behavior. Some seem to stride through life in a perpetual state of drama that always puts them at the center of attention. Others work behind the scenes, using subtle and covert methods to obtain sympathy and manipulate others. All types often thrive on conflict of one form or another, which makes them resistant to compromise in divorce. Every personality type has aspects that can be appealing to others, and this is how they suck people into a relationship.
But divorce attorneys experienced in dealing with narcissists also know that each personality type also has weaknesses that can be used to your advantage. For instance, with a personality who wants to be the hero, it is often possible to introduce compromise solutions in a way that makes it seem as though it is their idea, so that they can “save the day” and everyone comes out ahead.
Avoid the Blame Game
Narcissistic personalities generally do not accept responsibility for failure of any type. They will try to avoid you for everything. Do not try to argue about any issue, big or small, because they feel they are equipped with super-human abilities to fight back. The conflict empowers them.
Instead, communicate as little as possible and stick to facts. You can channel communication through your attorney who is prepared to handle the fallout and protect your interests.
Work with a Divorce Attorney Who Understands How to Handle a Narcissist
When you are disconnecting your life from an egotistical, self-absorbed spouse, you need solid advice and someone to serve as a buffer between you and the potential storm of emotional abuse. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can fulfill both functions very well if they understand how to manage a narcissist during the divorce process.
At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we have extensive experience guiding clients through challenging divorce situations, including those involving uncooperative, narcissistic personalities. We can help you reach a better life ahead. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.