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Expect a high-conflict divorce if your spouse is a narcissist

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Divorce

Some divorces are easier to withstand than others. While any divorce has its ups and downs, some divorcees are lucky to keep their divorce friendly, or at least business-like, so they can cooperatively settle their issues and move their separate ways.

Some divorces are high-conflict. Spouses might disagree on just about everything at best and act in vengeful or spiteful ways at worst. Sometimes this rancor is simply due to the emotional pain and circumstances that led up to the divorce. Sometimes a high-conflict divorce is due to personality issues, especially if one spouse is a narcissist.

What is a narcissist?

A person with a narcissistic personality disorder is more than just someone who is a braggart or self-absorbed. A person with narcissistic personality disorder is incapable of feeling empathy for others and cannot take even constructive criticism.

Narcissists might seem to have a great personality at first glance, but ultimately will not have empathy for their spouse and will not accept responsibility for mistakes or harmful behavior. Their world revolves around themselves and their own personal gain, and they will almost always blame others for their problems or shortcomings.

Divorcing a narcissist

Divorcing a narcissist comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you want to walk away with your emotional health intact.

First, recognize that having a narcissist as a spouse can cause a significant amount of emotional trauma. You may have been blamed for every situation that led to divorce, which can cause low self-esteem and make it difficult to fight for what you deserve.

Second, if you are the one to file for divorce, your narcissist spouse will likely fight the divorce every step at the way. The intention behind their actions and decisions in the divorce process often boils down to revenge. They will act simply to hurt. They will not try to make fair decisions or act in the best interests of your children, if you have them.

Ultimately, if you are divorcing a narcissist, accept that the divorce will likely be high-conflict and that the process might take longer than a more amicable divorce. Remember that you do not deserve to be fully blamed for the divorce, and that it is not selfish to leave a relationship that might be abusive. Know that you are worthy of respect, love and freedom and do not let your narcissist spouse take that away from you.