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Divorcing a Narcissist


“I’ve never walked out from a court session with him disappointed…

Barry really saved my life and my son in that situation”

Divorcing a Narcissist

When getting a divorce, parties should seek to negotiate and reach a settlement. This can be extremely difficult when a party exhibits traits of narcissism.

Below are four key points to keep in mind when divorcing a narcissist.

1. Determine if your ex is a narcissist

Narcissists typically lack empathy and accept no responsibility. They are often selfish and stubborn. Upon a marital breakdown, they direct all the blame to the other party, often asking, how could they do this to me?

Other flags include: their actions don’t follow their words, they’re provocative, they make false accusations, they’re vindictive and controlling, the recruit friends and family against you, they play the victim, and they use the children as pawns.

Once you realize your ex-partner is a narcissist, it is important to reposition your expectations.

2. Hire a Lawyer and Understand the Court Process

Do not try to negotiate or mediate. Narcissist see divorce as a game, with a winner and loser. They are not willing to compromise; thus, it is often better to move forward with litigation.

A narcissist will too, prefer to bring court proceedings. They will often riddle their court documents with accusations, which may sometimes be trivial. It is vital to address these accusations and bring your narrative forward in a complete, and forceful manner.

Having a lawyer to guide you through the court process is crucial in ensuring that you are able to present your narrative in the most effective and expedited way possible.

3. Document

In order to keep the truth afloat, it is important to document everything. Documentation can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Communications: Firstly, it is best to limit communications and speak only to what it is necessary. Consider communicating via your legal counsel exclusively. If communication is absolutely necessary, it should ideally occur in writing. Ensure you keep a record of all communications, including emails and text messages. This will limit any he-said-she-said issues.
  2. Finances: If you have been extremely trustful throughout the marriage, particularly with finances, ensure you obtain copies of all assets and important documents. This includes tax returns, paystubs, bank and credit statements and documents relating to properties and vehicles.

4. Stay Level-Headed and Plan Ahead

Make your goals clear to your lawyer – whether it be related to children, property or financial support. Develop a plan around your goals and stick to it. Do not get distracted by the narcissists tendency to divert the conversation and issues. They may make trivial accusations or focus on a non-issue in order to distract your focus. It is important to remember to refocus to the real issues.

Furthermore, because the narcissist will likely play the victim, it is important that you have emotional support, and surround yourself with those who believe you. Do not succumb to their narrative. It is important to revisit your relationship and what you thought you knew about the person – adjust your expectations accordingly and redefine your truth.

Contact Nussbaum Family Law to book a free consultation with one of our Toronto divorce lawyers.

Did You Know

Most abusers’ behaviour stems from feelings of privilege and entitlement and learned attitudes.

These can be extremely challenging to change. They must be deeply committed to making lasting changes to their behaviour. 

Published On:December 26, 2019