You may be shocked when your narcissistic husband or wife asks for or demands a divorce. The narcissistic partner has been planning this action for some time. Narcissists are plotters. They ponder how a particular move will benefit them long before they reveal it to the other party, even if it is a spouse to whom they have been married for decades. The truth is that you only thought you were part of a real marriage. Narcissists are incapable of genuine relationships. Most often, their marriages are business deals. They choose partners because they are physically attractive, young, emotionally pliable, fit the narcissist’s perfect image, come from the “right family background,” have a strong economic portfolio.
Some narcissists who have had long marriages (with many affairs on the side) prefer to make a deal so that the family dynasty remains intact. I have known husbands and wives who have offered the other party millions of dollars to “stay in the marriage.” In exchange for cash and other financial incentives, the narcissist makes it clear that he or she is romantically and sexually free to pursue other relationships. Some partners prefer to agree with this proposal and maintain the marriage façade. The reason for many is that they cannot give up the sumptuous lifestyle that the high-level, very successful narcissist provides. The injured party may complain and moan but he or she acquiesces to the irresistible offer.
There is the question of mediation rather than divorce. It is not impossible but very difficult. Narcissists are not willing to compromise;they are always right and they don’t share blame or possessions.
Having studied and worked clinically in the area of narcissistic personality disorders for many years, I believe that it would be very rare to have a positive mediation result with a narcissist.
Those who choose to divorce a narcissist are entering a psychological thicket from which they can exit victoriously. Despite all of your psychological pain and the nightmare that you expect, be sure to do your homework. Study, interview and use word of mouth resources through friends and confidantes who know the work of several great divorce lawyers. Choose an attorney who specializes in divorce and who has been at the center of these battles innumerable times. Make sure that your attorney has a good character that is worthy of your trust and that he will fight for you with great perseverance. It is important that the lawyer understands the narcissistic personality disorder.
When the formal divorce process is over, the important personal work begins. Draw on your strengths. You will find mental and psychological resources that have been hidden under the intimidation of living with a narcissist for so long. Research, interview and find an excellent therapist who specializes in divorce with whom you can grieve your loss. Part of the healing after divorce are your assertive efforts to redirect your life. Call upon your close friends. Take good care of your physical, mental and emotional health. Be open to discover ways of healing yourself through physical exercise, yoga, meditation, support groups. After all of your work, you will find yourself leading a life that is calmer, healthier, more peaceful and creative—-a life that belongs to you and that you share with others that come across your new path. Some day you may find yourself giving other spouses excellent counsel on how to successfully divorce a narcissist.