How to Divorce a Narcissist and Truly Succeed

Here is an incredible and easy to understand guide on how to divorce a narcissist

How to divorce a narcissist with proven strategies that work

Here is the guide proven to work on how to divorce a narcissist, show the narcissist's lies, punish the narcissist's misconduct and succeed. We write this based on experience in the trenches of divorce litigation.

DSM IV refers to impaired self-functioning and "excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation."

It also refers to "exaggerated self-appraisal" (exaggerated through inflation or deflation), setting goals based on gaining approval from others, and personal standards that are either too high or too low.

The "high" is so the narcissist can see himself or herself as exceptional.

The low is based on a sense of entitlement because the narcissist sets a low standard for his or her own conduct to be acceptable while setting a hypocritically high standard for others.

DSM V speaks to a lack of empathy in various contexts and the superficial way a narcissist views relationships to serve and regulate the narcissist's own self-esteem.

DSM V echoes much of what DSM IV states regarding grandiosity, self-centeredness, and the high level of attention seeking characteristic by narcissists.

- From the E-Book, Divorcing a Narcissist, The Path to Growth and Freedom

the words part one the covert narcissist Dr. Jekyll Meets Mr. Hydge

How to divorce a covert narcissist

A covert narcissist spouse is the one who is both Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

A covert narcissist has a persuasive dual personality

The key word is "persuasive." A covert narcissist is a different person among those who are close to him versus those who are not. The covert narcissist may come across as a completely different human being among casual friends versus that of his or her family. In that respect, the covert narcissist is dual personality whose real character comes out to those who are around him most.

Divorcing a covert narcissist takes a tactical approach

If the approach you take to divorcing a covert narcissist is the same as any other divorce, you will find the process miserable and likely unsuccessful. That is why we emphasize the importance of choosing the right family law attorney for the job. You must take a tactical approach, one that disarms the narcissist before defeating him or her.

What we write applies to the malignant narcissist

What we write here applies to the malignant narcissist. The malignant narcissist often crosses over into the sociopath or psychopath spectrum.

In short, malignant narcissists are dangerous people. Unlike the covert narcissist, there is little charm or "Mr. Hyde" within them.

Most of what we write here deals with divorcing a covert narcissist

When we write how to divorce a narcissist, we really focus on the covert narcissist. The Cluster B personality who is clear about who and what he or she is to everyone is more of a self-attached bomb that will eventually go off - just try not to be too close when it happens.

The covert narcissist tries to plant the bomb on you, argues you are the one with the problem, and emotionally abuses you until you explode.

Why do we care about your spouse's narcissist behavior?

We care for only one reason. We want to get you through this in the most tactical and effective way. If we did not care about the means and the end, we would not care about your spouse's personality.

Narcissistic behavior changes expectations during a divorce

That is the bottom line. You cannot walk into a divorce with a narcissist expecting the process to be the same as any other divorce. It will not be the same.

The style we write this article about how to divorce a narcissist is different

We will be direct. We do not write in ten sentences what we can communicate in three.

Words part two the abusive narcissist physical emotional financial

How to divorce a narcissist who is physically abusive

Get a restraining order against the narcissist

Personality disorder means little if the narcissist is physically abusive. Get a restraining order and get the longest one the judge will give you. If you think a high conflict personality who physically abused you is not a danger to your personal safety, you do not value your personal safety or you are out of touch with reality.

Keep your physical and emotional distance from the narcissist

There is no need to communicate with the narcissist. If you have children together, there are internet programs and applications that allow focused, limited communication that is necessary.

Do not be around the narcissist. Do not invest time asking or wondering what the narcissist is doing or saying about you.

If the narcissist engages in misconduct, contact your attorney. Otherwise, keep your physical and emotional distance.

How to divorce a narcissist who is emotionally abusive

Become a good stoic. The narcissist has no power over you.

The narcissist does not make you angry. You choose to feel anger.

The narcissist does not stress you out. You choose to inflict yourself with that stress.

The only power the narcissist has is the power you give the narcissist.

In the immortal words of Dr. Viktor Frankl:


Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

- The Late Dr. Viktor Frankl

Seek therapy

A quality mental health professional can give you the tools to recover from the emotional abuse and avoid further emotional abuse. You have health insurance. Use it.

How to divorce a narcissist who is financially abusive

When you divorce a narcissist who is the higher earning spouse or has a greater access to money, that money becomes a weapon. Expect the narcissist to use it.

Be proactive about your right of access to money

You have a need for support. Seek support, whether that is child support, spousal support or both.

Do not assume the narcissist will do the right thing. The odds are heavily against it. You have the right to temporary support while the divorce is pending.

Do you have a need for money to pay a family law attorney? Hire a family law attorney to file an attorney fee request for order.

California law is clear that family courts have a duty to avoid a war of attrition. Learn about your rights pursuant to Family Code 2030, 2031 and 2032. We link to a guide on this issue.

Seek sanctions against the narcissist's misconduct

Family Code 271 is a code section that punishes bad behavior. It is only one of several. If the narcissist engages in litigation conduct that unnecessarily increases attorney's fees or causes unreasonable delays, you have options. If the narcissist breaches his or her fiduciary duties to you on financial issues, the law gives you specific remedies.

words part three child custody issues focus on the children's best interest

How to divorce a narcissist when you have child custody issues

Stop worrying about what the narcissist "wants", "says" or "feels"

Narcissists love being the center of attention. Therefore, when you talk about, think about and worry about what the narcissist wants, says or feels, you give the narcissist power. Stop doing it. The only person who should care about such garbage is the narcissist.

Place your singular focus on the children's best interest when divorcing a narcissist

Nothing matters other than the children's health, safety, education and general welfare.

Learn to say "no" when divorcing a narcissist

The narcissist wants something from you. The request is not reasonable. The answer is no.

Make it a clear no without lamenting, feeling guilt or spending hours thinking about it. It is simply no.

Learn about parallel parenting

You should read our guide on parallel parenting. If you do not know what parallel parenting is, prepare to have your eyes opened.

words part four child and spousal support receiving what the law requires

How to divorce a narcissist when you need the narcissist's financial support

Find out what the narcissist should pay and seek exactly that. An experienced and skilled family law attorney should tell you what to expect in child and/or spousal support. Once you know the amount and the family law attorney tells you the window is open to seek it, go for it. If you spend weeks or month negotiating with the narcissist, you may find weeks or months of wasted time.

File the contempt action when the narcissist violates the court order

Did the narcissist not pay the support? Your family law attorney should write the narcissist or his or her lawyer a letter.

Did it happen again? File the contempt action. Few things get a narcissist sweating like facing fines, community service or jail time.

words part five narcissist wants money why it is never enough

How to divorce a narcissist when you are the supporting spouse

Find out what you should pay and pay it. If you do not feel it is fair, get over it. Family law does not focus on fairness. Somebody always thinks something is unfair.

Delay payment and you may find yourself paying the same amount after spending thousands of dollars in attorney's fees.

Is that better? No, it is not. All you did was delay the inevitable.

Ignore the narcissist's delusional cries of injustice

Nothing you pay will be fair. That is how a narcissist who is the lower earning spouse may believe. Therefore, ignore the whining and other noise.

The law requires you to pay a sum of money. That is what you pay, nothing more, because nothing you pay will ever be enough to satisfy someone who wants you broke and hurt.

words part six dividing assets community and separate property

How to divorce a narcissist when the assets are community property

Discover early what everyone should get and make settlement offers. Once you have all of the facts you need to divide community property, get aggressive with settlement communication. You are doing this to attempt settlement and set up the narcissist for an attorney's fee request if he or she rejects the reasonable offer.

Focus on solutions when the narcissist wants to focus on problems

The more there are problems, the more the narcissist has a means to voice manufactured grievances. You do not focus on problems. You focus on solutions.

Collaborate with your lawyer and if there is an issue that needs addressing, then address it. Do not procrastinate. Either resolve it or go to court.

Divorce against a narcissist is not like wine. It does not improve with age.

How to divorce a narcissist when you have separate property claims to assets

The asset is your separate property. You have facts, evidence and the law on your side. What do you do?

Make the narcissist admit or deny the validity of your separate property claims

The discovery is tool is request for admissions. There are two types.

One type requires the other party (the narcissist) to admit or deny the truthfulness of a fact. The other type requires the narcissist to admit to the genuineness of certain documents.

These are powerful tools when divorcing a narcissist. If the narcissist denies the truthfulness of the facts and you later at a hearing or trial prove the truthfulness of that fact or facts, you can seek attorney's fees against the narcissist for the cost to you of proving that fact.

That is not the only way to seek fees. It is however one of the most powerful ways.

Avoid waiving attorney's fees if the narcissist unreasonably increased your fees

If you incurred significant attorney's fees, do not walk away from your claims. There is a time and place for settlement and compromise and the courthouse steps may not be it.

You can still settle the issues but that settlement does not mean you walk away from your fee request.

If the narcissist makes that waiver a condition of the settlement, speak with your attorney and assess the likelihood of winning.

You are likely 95% to the finish line anyway, right? What is the harm of going the extra 5%? That is what you need to evaluate.

How to divorce a narcissist with his or her separate property claims

Flush out the facts and evidence in support of the narcissist's separate property claims. If the narcissist is right, concede the separate property claim. That requires the narcissist to have the facts and law on his or her side and therefore have admissible evidence in support of his or her position.

This is not a decision you can make without the right family law attorney. We exist for a reason.

words part seven disclosures and discovery accurate and complete information

How to divorce a narcissist who refuses to serve accurate or complete disclosures

Disclosures are not discretionary. Both you and your narcissist spouse have to exchange them. If the narcissist decides not to serve the disclosure, take action.

File the motion to compel accurate and complete disclosures

California Family Code gives you the right to file a request that compels your spouse to serve complete and accurate disclosures. The odds of you getting back the attorney's fees you spent on that request are good. The code section specifically allows for it.

File the evidentiary, issue or terminating sanctions when appropriate

If your narcissist spouse still does not comply after the court order, file a request for some or all of the above sanctions. These shut the narcissist out of the courtroom and do not allow him or her to admit evidence. The terminating sanction removes the narcissist from the process.

How to divorce a narcissist who refuses to cooperate in the discovery process

Here is the systematic approach:

  1. Conduct a cost versus benefit analysis.
  2. Are there alternatives to getting the information?
  3. If not, file the motion to compel response or further responses and seek your attorney's fees.
  4. File the evidentiary, issue or terminating sanctions if the narcissist does not comply with the court order.


Collage of the firm's family law attorneys

How to choose your attorney when you know you will divorce a narcissist

Here is your checklist.

  1. Be careful of those ignorant of how divorcing a narcissist changes the process,
  2. Be careful of those who pretend to know how to handle a divorce against a narcissist,
  3. Be careful of any attorney who plays to your emotions,
  4. Vet the attorney's experience, intelligence and candor, and
  5. Be realistic about your financial ability to afford litigation.

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