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Narcissistic Spouses: 4 Strategies For Successfully Ditching A Narcissist

Divorce is never a pleasant prospect, but it can often be successfully managed, particularly when both spouses are friendly and reasonable about the event. Unfortunately, there is a segment of our population that suffers from a personality disorder that affects interpersonal relationships in a very negative way. One of the most common, especially in men, is narcissism. In divorce, the traits of narcissism (lack of empathy, willingness to be exploitative, sense of entitlement) can be magnified and even more damaging. You may be getting a divorce because of some of your spouse’s upsetting and hurtful actions, and announcing your intention to divorce is likely to exacerbate the situation. Here are 4 strategies for divorcing a narcissist and protecting her interests:

1. Take care in legal matters. Hire a good attorney who understands the dynamics of narcissism and the fact that your spouse may not reason the same way as everyone else. Don’t take anything your spouse says “in good faith” as solid. Be sure to follow the legal steps recommended by your attorney to protect yourself. Make copies of all relevant financial records, including, but not limited to, bank statements, investment statements, 401K statements, loan information, property appraisals, credit card statements, insurance policies, employee compensation, mileage plan statements, tax returns, pay stubs, W-2’s and car titles.

2. Make some basic emergency financial provisions. Make sure you have a credit card in your name. If you need to apply for one, do so now while yours and your spouse’s credit are still combined. Open a bank account in your name and deposit some emergency funds in it, in case your spouse violates court orders and tries to prevent you from accessing the funds. If you don’t want your spouse to know you’re saving money, try using your debit card and asking for amounts higher than the purchase, and deposit that cash into the account.

3. Create records and document anything that may be relevant to your case. This may be particularly relevant if you are in a custody dispute due to parenting concerns for your narcissistic spouse, or if you live in a place where “fault” is factored into divorces. Document times, dates, places and events.

4. Avoid interaction with your spouse and don’t listen to what he or she tells you about yourself. Your spouse is likely to continue to undermine your trust and cause you to question your decisions. Be careful what you share to avoid anything being used against you in the process. If you must communicate with your spouse, try to stick strictly to business, such as children. If things get personal, stop the communication or try disengaging from the content so you don’t get swayed.

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