What about me!?! Tips for divorcing a narcissist.

Divorce is rarely an easy process, but a divorce involving a narcissist can be particularly difficult.

What is narcissism?

Narcissism is defined by medical experts at Mayo Clinic as a:

[M]ental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

This disorder can be identified when an individual displays a preoccupation with one’s self and exudes superiority over others. These individuals seek the attention of others, often at the cost of victimizing other people.

Needless to say, this combination does not make for easy negotiations during a divorce proceeding.

How can I ease the process of divorce when my ex is a narcissist?

If you know or suspect that your soon to be ex has narcissist personality disorder, steps can be taken to help ease the divorce process. Examples include:

  • Put it in writing. With any personality disorder, it is wise to keep communications in writing. This can reduce the risk of manipulation and also provide evidence if any issues arise in the future.
  • Present negotiations and arguments to his or her benefit. Frame negotiations and arguments in such a way to highlight how the narcissistic personality would benefit from the proposal.
  • Use experts. A recent publication by a family law expert experienced in dealing with these types of situations notes that it helps to use experts in the field when a narcissist is involved. It is more likely that a narcissist will believe the expert and be open to agreeing to a proposal than he or she would be if dealing just with the future ex spouse.

It is also important to note that narcissism is just one personality disorder. Other examples include antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. The presence of any of these can increase the difficulties associated with the divorce process.