3 common obstacles to divorcing a narcissistic spouse

When you walked down the aisle, you probably thought your spouse had your best interests in mind. After a few years of marriage, though, it is clear your partner’s only concern is himself or herself. If your spouse is a narcissist, you should prepare for a potentially difficult divorce. 

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition that causes a person to have an overinflated sense of importance. While divorce is rarely easy, ending a marriage to a narcissist is often exceedingly difficult. The many symptoms of the disorder may complicate divorce proceedings in three ways. 

  1. Control

Narcissistic spouses often have an overwhelming urge to control their spouses. While a divorce is apt to get you out from under your partner’s thumb eventually, you should not expect the control to simply stop. On the contrary, your spouse may use a bitter or protracted court battle to continue to manipulate you. Accordingly, if your spouse has narcissistic tendencies, a collaborative divorce may not be feasible. 

  1. Gaslighting

Gaslighting happens when a person manipulates someone else by making him or her question reality. This type of behavior is common in individuals who have narcissistic personality disorder. If your spouse gaslights you, he or she may be dishonest about virtually everything. Therefore, in the lead-up to your divorce, it is important to document conversations with your spouse in writing. This strategy allows you to keep a firm hold on reality. 

  1. Defamation

If you are thinking about divorcing your narcissistic spouse, you may worry about losing mutual friends. Unfortunately, your partner may make matters worse by defaming you. That is, your husband or wife may tell your friends things that simply are not true. Alternatively, your spouse may paint you in a bad light to make himself or herself appear better. Either way, you should be ready to deal with the effects of defamation after your divorce concludes.