Dealing with a narcissistic spouse during a divorce

Dealing with a narcissistic spouse during a divorce

Is your spouse constantly victimizing themselves throughout your divorce? Are they going out of the way to talk poorly about you to everyone and anyone who will listen, including your children? Are they constantly trying to sabotage any efforts towards cooperative decision making during your divorce? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you’ve got a textbook narcissist on your hands. A narcissist, by definition, is a self-involved person who lacks empathy and is vain and selfish. They usually require an excessive amount of reassurance and admiration and they can also make the divorce process a living nightmare at a times. If you firmly believe you are experiencing a lot of turmoil during your divorce because of a narcissistic spouse, these are a few coping strategies you can try out. Hopefully they will ease the situation for you while teaching you how to keep your cool through difficult conversation.

Check-in with yourself emotionally

As stated above, a narcissistic person thrives off other people’s admiration and will more than likely victimize themselves during a divorce. For a narcissist to feel ‘more powerful’ or feel as though they have the upper hand, they will often tear down others in the process, and the first person on their list will be you. It can be (and maybe already is) an extremely emotional experience which is why you need to check in with yourself as often as possible. If you need to vent, be sure you are going to the right people, whether that be a therapist, your divorce lawyer, or a close family member or friend you can 100% trust.

Carefully monitor your children

A narcissistic parent going through a divorce can be especially tough on your kids. Unfortunately, your kids may become caught in the crossfires of your separation and in some cases, it may even feel as though your kids are being used as a weapon against you. Narcissistic parents will often start by using manipulation and verbal abuse against you in the form of talking down at you in front of your children, making sarcastic comments, or neglecting your parenting decisions. Whatever it is your spouse may be trying to accomplish it’s important to remember a few things:

  1. Talk to your kids – check-in with them regularly and look for signs of stress or negative behaviour. Make sure your kids have a safe space to talk about how they are feeling.
  2. Don’t fight fire with fire – As tempting as it can be for some parents, you may start to feel the need to start rebutting with some psychological warfare of your own. However, that will only make the situation worse and it will more than likely drag out the divorce process even longer.
  3. Keep detailed notes – keep track of the things being said or what your kids are saying to you as well.

Get professional help

If your spouse is a narcissist, your divorce will more than likely be high conflict which is why seeking outside help will be extremely beneficial for you. Whether that be a therapist, family counselling, or professional legal assistance from us here at Galbraith Family Law. Our team of experienced divorce lawyers have seen it all – or close to it – and can help you navigate your divorce with as much ease as possible. To set up a meeting to discuss your separation, divorce options or to get a professional opinion about how to resolve your family law issue, give us a call at (705) 727-4242. We’re here for you when you need us.

Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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