Narcissists thrive on drama and chaos, so buckle up for a possibly bumpy ride in your divorce. Don’t despair, however. You can survive your split with your sanity intact by arming yourself with knowledge. Here are 10 tips to protect yourself when divorcing a narcissist spouse.
- Don’t expect the narcissist to change. If you couldn’t get your spouse to be reasonable during the marriage, you’re certainly not going to be able to perform a miracle now that you’re getting divorced. Accepting your spouse the way they are will enable you to let go of toxic hope and focus on what you can control.
- Learn how to manage your reactions. Narcissists do and say egregious things in order to stir people up. This makes them feel powerful. Don’t give your narcissist want he wants! When communicating with your spouse, harness your coping skills so you can stay calm. The less emotional ammunition you give your narcissist, the less enjoyment they’ll get out of harassing you.
- Master communication protocol. One of the best ways to minimize divorce drama is to learn how to communicate effectively. Resist the urge to debate or defend yourself in emails and texts. When writing to your narcissist, be concise, informative (no opinions or airing of feelings), neutral in tone, and firm (no waffling on limits). Communicating strategically won’t get your narcissist to be diplomatic, but it will invite less animosity.
- Safeguard your relationship with your children. Your spouse may try to hurt you by bad-mouthing you to your children. Don’t waste your breath lecturing your narcissist on the virtues of co-parenting. Instead, urge your kids to come to you with any concerns they have about you. This will help keep them from getting stuck in a triangle and teach them how to communicate their needs directly.
- Utilize a divorce curfew. Living your divorce 24/7 will drain your emotional reserves and make you feel victimized. Shore up your psychological boundaries by following a strict “divorce curfew:” do nothing divorce-related after 8 p.m. Make evenings a time to relax and focus on activities you enjoy, and that renew you.
- Minimize conversations about your divorce. Sharing the latest installment of your high-drama divorce with friends and family may give you temporary relief – but it will also encourage your loved ones to tell you how much they hate your spouse too. All this negativity will eventually make you feel more angry and anxious. So be sparing with divorce details and try to talk about other subjects.
- Maintain boundaries. If you were overly accommodating during the marriage, it’s time to let your spouse know you have resigned your position as a human doormat. It may be scary to hold a limit, but the more you get used to riding out the narcissist’s tantrums, the more empowered you will become.
- Hire an attorney that can litigate. While mediation is better for your mental health and your pocketbook, the process requires two people who are capable of compromise – not the narcissist’s strong suit. Make sure your attorney is comfortable in front of a judge in the event you can’t settle out of court.
- See a therapist that understands high-conflict divorce. Talking to a therapist who tries to assure you that you can co-parent with a narcissist will make you feel alone and ashamed. Instead, look for a mental health professional that specializes in high-conflict divorce and can teach you realistic strategies to manage yours.
- Practice self-care. Taking care of your mental and physical health will protect you from burnout. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat nutritiously, exercise, and utilize coping skills. Cultivating a mindfulness practice will also help you learn to stay grounded even when your narcissist is raging.
Don’t let gaslighting affect your divorce. We can help you learn your right and protect yourself. Safeguard your future and get in touch to schedule your initial consultation with a trusted family law attorney. Call us at 888-888-0919 or click the button below.