Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which a person has an inflated view of themselves, an excessive need for admiration and attention, a history of troubled relationships and a lack of sincere empathy for others. Being married to an individual with this mental condition is challenging, and many of these marriages end in divorce.
Unfortunately, when dealing with a person with this disorder, divorce is usually never quite the end of the story. They have a pattern of behaviors that includes aggressiveness, vindictiveness and anger, all of which can make the divorce process much more complicated than it needs to be.
Difficulties associated with divorcing a person with narcissistic personality disorder include:
- Constantly trying to delay the divorce proceedings.
- Trying to get back at the other partner or seek vengeance.
- Refusing to cooperate with the other party and their attorney.
- Lying to their attorney, the court and everyone else about the other party.
- Trying to get people “on their side” and against the other party.
- Manipulating the children if the couple has kids.
The difficulties do not end there. People with this disorder, especially those who do not want or seek a divorce, may react extremely poorly during the divorce process and try to make it so that it is impossible to get through the process. While the court can and often does help, courts are not supposed to be managing the consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist.
How to protect yourself
However- all hope is not lost. While the narcissist may try to make it as difficult as possible to get through the divorce, in most cases, they do not prevail. Judges often identify narcissistic traits in people when they are constantly filing unnecessary motions and in what they say about themselves and the other party.
You should be prepared for a difficult divorce and protect yourself by staying close to your support system, setting boundaries, having your attorney deal with retaliatory behavior (through the courts, if necessary) and prioritizing what is most important to you. Therapy may also be a helpful tool as you transition back to normal life.