A narcissist has little understanding of others. He feels flawed, inadequate and depressed, is critical, self-centered and manipulative. A narcissist needs attention, he wants to control others and seeks status, power and recognition. Narcissists need to protect their fragile ego by being defensive and intimidating others. During a collaborative divorce a narcissist may appear normal except when stressed.
Signs of Narcissism.
A narcissist accepts no responsibility for problems, becomes enraged when criticized, denies he has problems, cannot admit to a mistake, feels he needs to be perfect, is critical of others and passive-aggressive. A major problem with a narcissistic during a collaborative divorce is he ignores boundaries by making those around him feel guilty, devalued and intimidated. The narcissistic creates self-doubt about others perception of reality.
Dealing with a Narcissist.
There are several steps you can take to handle a narcissistic spouse during a collaborative divorce. First, you need to regain your confidence. Feeling certain of your own self-worth will allow you to remain calm in the middle of an argument. Another constructive step is to ask for a time-out when your narcissistic spouse becomes enraged. Don’t argue with him during the collaborative divorce, it won’t do any good and you will just become frustrated. Trying to get him to listen to reason is a waste of time because he can’t hear. He needs to protect his fragile ego by attacking you and putting you down.
Narcissists Are Above the Law.
Normal people are able to give and take during collaborative divorce interactions, but a narcissist feels his needs are more important and special and he has difficulty understanding how his behavior affects others. Narcissists believe the law don’t apply to them. Consequently, narcissists often say or do things during a collaborative divorce that are misleading. Narcissist are unaware they have problems, don’t know they are lying and blame others for everything. A narcissist believes he is a victim. The major problems with a narcissist are that they have little empathy and feel their needs are more important than anything else.
Collect Financial Documents Early.
Narcissists need to control others and one way to do that is to withhold financial documents. To avoid this problem during a collaborative divorce, begin collecting financial documents from other sources as soon as possible. Go to your bank to collect records, make copies of all financial documents in the house before you announce you want a divorce, run a credit check on yourself and your spouse, get copies of your tax records from the IRS and pay stubs from his employer.
Don’t Accept Blame.
Don’t allow a narcissist to make you feel guilty or intimidated. Most of all, don’t be fooled by his claim that the divorce is all your fault. Protect your interests during the collaborative divorce and don’t trust him to tell the truth. Verify all documents, make certain he isn’t hiding anything and get everything in writing. Don’t attack a narcissist–they will become defensive and difficult.
Expect A Narcissist to Seek Revenge.
A narcissist never gets over being divorced. They will blame their spouse and seek revenge in the court room after the divorce if final. Unfortunately, the law allows a narcissist to continue bringing motions for new hearings so the divorce is not over. A drawn out divorce can be financially draining. To avoid some of these problems have custody exchanges occur in a public place, never argue with your ex-spouse in front of the children and engage a therapist to help you cope with your own emotions. One way to protect yourself post-divorce is to minimize communications with your ex-spouse and when you must communicate, keep it to a minimum and do it through e-mail or by phone rather than in person. Consider the possibility of parental alienation and take it seriously if you see any signs. Also, ask the court to order a parenting coordinator to help you and your ex-spouse deal with co-parenting.
Seek a Collaborative Divorce.
No matter how you divorce, dealing with a narcissist will be difficult. However, it’s better to avoid litigation if possible by doing a collaborative divorce. Explain to your narcissistic spouse that they will save money, have privacy and more control over the outcome. These benefits will appeal to his narcissistic needs.