If you’re married to someone who is hard to work with and insists on having everything their own way, you’re probably dealing with a narcissist. These self-centered individuals have little empathy and can turn every interaction into an opportunity to exert power over others. The type of bullying behavior narcissists use on a daily basis can present special challenges for spouses seeking a divorce.
When you work with a Virginia divorce lawyer who understands the most successful tactics for handling narcissists, your attorney can help defuse potentially tense situations and prevent disagreements from turning into emotionally exhausting battles. Even more importantly, your legal advisor can work to ensure that your wishes are respected throughout the process so that you can emerge in a strong position to move forward after the divorce.
What are Some of the Complications of Divorcing a Narcissist?
Every aspect of the divorce process can be a challenge when one spouse is a narcissist. Among the obstacles encountered when a client is divorcing a narcissist are factors such as:
- Communication. Narcissists are used to controlling both the communication process and the outcome they expect from the conversation. Our dedicated legal team understands how to keep communications neutral and productive.
- Compromise. This concept is almost unfathomable to many narcissistic spouses. Using the right negotiation strategies can help produce compromise from situations involving even the most unyielding partners.
- Children. The behaviors of narcissistic spouses can have a severe negative impact on children. Keeping the conflict confined to designated settings such as a law firm conference room can limit children’s exposure to potentially damaging scenarios.
- Court Orders. Narcissists often operate as if the rules do not apply to them. However, court orders are legal actions, so making use of the legal mechanisms for enforcement can help ensure compliance with orders involving support, visitation, and other issues.
Narcissists can be masters at manipulation, but when you work with attorneys who know how to circumvent manipulative behavior, you can be well positioned to obtain a positive outcome regardless of how your ex tries to control the process.
Protecting Yourself from a Narcissist in Virginia Divorce
Virginia laws provide many avenues to protect you if you are seeking to divorce a narcissistic spouse. That means the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your assets is to consult a knowledgeable Virginia divorce lawyer as early in the process as possible. Your legal advisor can not only explain what you can do for yourself, but can also represent you in dealings with your spouse so you can get your point across without speaking a word to your ex.
Your lawyer could also help you take advantage of legal options for relief. For instance, if a spouse engages in harassing behavior, your attorney could seek a restraining order. If your spouse refuses to provide critical financial information, your attorney could file a formal request for documents to obtain the information.
Can You Mediate with a Narcissist?
Mediation can provide a terrific means to resolve issues that arise between many divorcing couples in Virginia. Unfortunately, mediation rarely works with a narcissistic spouse.
For the mediation process to succeed, both parties must be willing to acknowledge the other’s concerns and to compromise and give up something they want in order to achieve an agreement. Most narcissistic spouses will rarely give up anything they want without a fight.
Divorce lawyers experienced in handling narcissistic spouses can use negotiation tactics to achieve success without drama. However, it is often necessary to initiate the litigation process to gain complete cooperation. A divorce with a narcissist may still be settled without a full-blown courtroom production, but usually couples need more than a simple mediation session to reach an accord that satisfies legal standards.
Divorcing a Narcissist FAQs
Should you tell a narcissist you want a divorce?
Narcissists want to believe that they’re perfect. Finding out that their marriage is not perfect will be unwelcome news. However, it will be less painful for them to hear it in a calm, private conversation than if they are served with divorce papers. Try to break the news in a low-key conversation, and restrain the urge to unload your grievances. Instead, if your spouse asks the reason for the divorce, you can respond with general statements about the dynamics of your relationship, such as having different values or poor communication. Once you have announced your intention to divorce, do not give in to any requests for second chances. Those opportunities have come and gone.
Can you negotiate a divorce with a narcissist?
Sometimes you can negotiate with a narcissist if you use the right strategies. For instance, if your spouse has no respect for individuals not of their own gender, then choose a mediator who is the same gender. A skilled mediator can often convince a narcissistic spouse that compromise solutions were their idea, which makes that spouse much more likely to approve them.
Very often, a narcissist will not want a judge to tell them what to do any more than they want anyone else to give them orders. Strategic reminders of this could make a narcissist more willing to agree to settlement terms out of court.
How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?
When narcissists realize they can’t control you, they often react with anger and even threats of revenge. The trick, then, is to minimize direct conflict and avoid scenarios that make it obvious that the control tactics used you in the past will no longer work. If you can convince the narcissist that divorce is their idea and fair settlement terms are what they have proposed to fulfill legal requirements, then you are ahead of the game.
When a narcissist reacts with anger, it is important to take whatever steps are necessary to protect your physical and mental health. Your attorney can help you set boundaries and limit communications and contact.
How do you prove narcissistic abuse in court?
Because narcissists are so proficient at manipulation, proving abuse can be a challenge. It is important to document all instances of abuse and narcissistic behavior. Written recollections made at the time of an incident carry more weight than later-remembered accounts of an incident. Let your attorney know if any incidents were witnessed by others. Keep copies of all abusive communications such as texts and emails.
Also make your attorney aware of behavioral patterns that reveal your spouse’s narcissistic tendencies. This will give your lawyer knowledge they can use to question your spouse in front of a judge in a manner that shows their true colors. For instance, your lawyer might ask questions about your spouse’s role in the lives of your children. In an effort to show superiority as a parent, your spouse might claim they attend every school and sporting event. Then you can present records to show that is simply not true.
How do you handle the complications of divorcing a narcissist?
Knowing what to expect is half the battle. Therefore, the first step is to work with a divorce lawyer familiar with negotiating with and managing the tactics frequently used by narcissists.
Staying calm is critical, even when your spouse is making false statements and wild accusations. If they persist long enough, they will eventually reveal their nature and quickly lose credibility. When you remain calm and rational by contrast, you can come out on top. Communicating primarily through your attorney is one way to avoid being drawn into conflict.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Virginia Divorce Lawyer if You Have Concerns About Divorcing a Narcissist
When you’re divorcing a narcissist, they are not going to give any thought to what’s best for anyone but themselves. To protect yourself and your family, it is wise to work with a Virginia divorce lawyer who understands the strategies that work best in this type of situation. At DiPietro Law Group, PLLC, we are ready to put over 60 years of combined experience to work to help you reach your goals. Call us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we could help.