Divorce is never an easy decision to come to in a marriage. In many ways, our excessive admiration for a spouse can impact our decisions during the divorce and may even cost us the case altogether.
However, divorcing a narcissist is an entirely different ball game. You have to plan ahead for their behavior and strategize yourself. You can avoid this, though, by not falling into one of the traps they set.
Things to know
- Collecting evidence is key to successfully divorcing a narcissist.
- Avoid participating in their blame games or scare tactics.
- Even though it feels like you should, don't suffer in silence during your divorce. There are tons of ways you can find support.
It is possible to successfully leave a narcissistic relationship. First, you'll need to arm yourself with as much preparation and advice as possible. Let's dive in:
- What Is A Narcissist Spouse?
- Can You Ask a Narcissist for a Divorce?
- 9 Pitfalls to Avoid When Divorcing a Narcissist Woman
- Are You Ready To Break Free?
What Is A Narcissist Spouse?
Typically, a narcissistic spouse is a husband or wife who is self-centered, manipulative, and hard to connect with.
They can be emotionally abusive or come across as aggressive. However, there are also times when they can do things without resorting to any of that.
When most people walk down the aisle and say, “I do,” they don’t know all the ins and outs of their spouse. Sometimes people are really good at pretending and putting up a front. Other times, spouses are good at making changes so slowly that you don’t even notice what’s happening. Both can be true of a narcissist.
If you notice that your self-esteem feels low in the relationship, you are losing touch with other loved ones, and you are experiencing stress or depression, these are all signs that something is wrong.
Can You Ask a Narcissist for a Divorce?
If you are walking on eggshells in your marriage, then chances are the last thing you want to do is ask for a divorce out of fear. However, you can ask for a divorce — you just have to take the right approach.
Keep things very general, and avoid using "I Statements" so that you don't place the blame on them. When you blame a narcissist, they become defensive. This accomplishes nothing and can make the divorce process even harder.
Also, you will want to make sure you stick to your guns. It's very easy for a narcissist to win you over, but then you don't get anything besides the narcissist winning.
Finally, and most importantly, you will want to avoid common pitfalls as you plan out your divorce.
9 Pitfalls to Avoid When Divorcing a Narcissist Woman
When it comes to divorce and partners with narcissistic personality disorder, knowing how to ask for a divorce is only half of the battle.
Even after you hire a divorce attorney, serve your wife, and get the ball rolling, you still have to communicate with a partner who, more than likely, isn't going to jump on board with an amicable divorce.
Instead, this person will do what they can to make your life incredibly difficult. They will set traps for you and find any way to win the battle. Therefore, you must be prepared and know what pitfalls to look out for, such as these nine examples.
1. Venting on social media
Many people use social media as a place to vent. However, venting there during the divorce process can actually cause more harm than good, especially if your spouse can see your posts.
If your wife ends up with this information, she can use it against you in court and frame her case using the posts as evidence. Therefore, you should avoid venting on social media if at all possible.
If you need somewhere to let your thoughts out, try journaling, communicating with friends or family members, or seeking the help of a therapist. All of these outlets are much better than Facebook or TikTok.
Similarly, if you notice your wife is posting information on social media that is inaccurate or accusatory, try your best to ignore her. Don't engage because that's simply what she wants. Instead, save screenshots and move on.
2. Not collecting evidence
If you are asking to terminate your marriage because of your wife’s unstable mental health, then you will need evidence to back up these claims. However, many partners fail to collect evidence before they start the divorce process, making it harder for them to prove their point.
Sometimes it is hard to collect evidence in situations like this because the narcissist makes it difficult. Other times, spouses just don’t think about documenting situations until the situation escalates. The most important thing you can do is maintain basic records of situations that occurred and provide details that you remember.
Furthermore, the court will accept many forms of evidence. You can use medical records, personal journal entries, recorded conversations, videos or photographs, and eyewitnesses. When combined, all of this information can make fairly substantial cases.
Of course, you also want to avoid having your evidence tampered with. You should store your evidence in a secure location, and preferably a place your wife does not have access to. This will ensure that your evidence stays safe and you can use it in your case.
3. Letting them game the system
People with narcissistic tendencies often see situations like divorce as a game for them to win. When they aren't winning, they will try anything and everything they can to get the victory they desire.
Narcissistic women, in particular, will game the system by playing the victim card. They will use it with anyone who will listen, including the court and even family and friends. This is why evidence and documentation are so important.
Sometimes they won't play the victim but rather twist the truth to make it align with their story. They will lie even on legal documents or in court if they think it will help them prove their case. This can also be dangerous and can be stopped with factual evidence to support what really happened.
The best thing you can do is find a way to shut down their game early and not let them have the final word.
4. Entering the blame game
When a marriage ends, it's easy to blame your spouse. This can be especially true when you are married to someone with narcissistic tendencies. However, the fact remains that the blame game rarely gets anyone anywhere.
If you can, avoid placing all of the blame on your wife (even if you sincerely believe she's to blame). Instead, look for ways to own both partners' roles in the breakdown of your marriage. It may or may not mend the relationship with your wife, but it will help everyone calm down a bit.
5. Giving in to scare tactics
Narcissists also use scare tactics to get partners to do what they want. They will often use these tactics during divorce as a way to either get what they want or stop the divorce process entirely.
If the narcissist has already used these tactics previously, then they’ve probably already set the stage to use them again. They’ve also probably stripped you of most of your support system, which can make leaving even harder.
Some tactics a narcissistic wife will use include:
- The Silent Treatment: For this, your spouse will refuse to speak to you at all until you cave to their demands.
- Perception Shifts: In this tactic, the narcissist will convince you that things happened in a different way than you remember. In many cases, they will do this with the intention of making you look or feel crazy.
- Verbal Assaults: When this happens, the narcissistic wife will use threats and damaging language to break down the other spouse. These threats and assaults can really hurt, and narcissists are really great at covering their tracks in moments like these.
Although it's hard, don't fall for these scare tactics if you want to get out of your marriage. These pitfalls can really cost you.
6. Letting your anger get the best of you
When we think about a narcissistic spouse, we often think about someone who is self-centered and uses emotional abuse to get their way.
However, sometimes narcissists take a quieter approach and let you be the one who explodes first. Since they know how to push your buttons, it's easy to make you mad — which is exactly what they want.
When you let your anger get the best of you, you end up saying or doing things you wouldn't normally do. Then, all the female narcissist has to do is use the evidence you just gave them to play the victim card or fit into a different role.
If you can, avoid this pitfall. It's a common one people miss.
7. Maintaining joint accounts
Many married couples share a joint bank account and joint credit cards. However, these all leave paper trails and can end up costing you money — especially if your narcissistic partner drains the account.
A lot of people don’t think about opening their own account in the early stages of the divorce process, but it can be important. Try to set up an account at a bank other than the one where any joint accounts you share with your wife are located.
Also, make sure you take the appropriate precautions to keep your wife from gaining access.
8. Failing to set boundaries
A narcissistic wife will do everything she can to control you and the situation when it comes time for a divorce. Unfortunately, many spouses let this happen because they fail to set clear boundaries.
Boundaries are a person's way of asserting themselves and protecting their personal values. However, many submissive partners who get involved in intimate relationships with a narcissistic spouse don't set these boundaries during the relationship, and this makes it harder to establish them in a situation like divorce proceedings.
However, a narcissistic partner can often be a master manipulator. They probably know exactly what to say to get you to come crawling back to them, even if you don't want to.
Sometimes this can come in the form of abusive behavior. Other times, people say it's as simple as, "my wife wants a divorce but still sleeps with me as a way to maintain control."
Either way, you can protect yourself and boost your self-worth by setting clear boundaries at the beginning of your divorce.
9. Suffering in silence
Many spouses believe that if they can't get their partner on board for an amicable divorce, then they are stuck in their situation. However, that's not at all the case. You never have to suffer in silence, even if your wife's narcissistic traits cause her to become violent.
The worst thing you can do is take zero action. Instead, you can seek out a divorce lawyer who can help you serve your wife, do what is needed to get out of the house, and eventually settle your divorce.
This can be especially important if you and your spouse share children since you won't want the narcissist to end up with child custody.
Are You Ready To Break Free?
Getting out of an unhappy marriage is difficult, no matter how you slice it. However, as we've discussed, divorcing a narcissist can be even more challenging.
At the end of the day, your happiness matters most in life. And you have to do what it takes to get that happiness back.
Living with a narcissist can really influence your mood. Over time, this can break you down and keep you chained in a relationship that isn't fulfilling. Narcissists will try every trick in the book to keep you wrapped around their finger.
This is why it's important to plan ahead and never give in to your narcissistic spouse.
As long as you seek strong legal counsel, plan ahead well, and don't let your wife have the final say, chances are you'll be happy with how things turn out. Once your divorce decree is signed and final, you can begin the task of putting your life back together.