As a divorce lawyer, I have often read that “divorcing a narcissist is more difficult than being married to one.” I have never heard my clients say that, though! It is not a surprise that many clients report being married to narcissists. Our clients who are married to narcissists are often already receiving psychological counseling before seeing a divorce lawyer. They are protecting their mental health in preparation for the divorce because they know, from painful experience, what might be coming next. Your divorce lawyer is not a psychologist and cannot pretend to be one. They are your advocate and they are in your corner. But, when you are recovering from a marriage to a narcissist, it is advisable to have many professionals in your corner – especially a therapist well trained in the impact of narcissism on partners and the trauma many people report suffering as a result.
There are many resources available to you if you think you are married to a narcissist. First, make sure you tell your divorce lawyer. It will help us know best how to help guide you in the event your narcissistic spouse exhibits some of these behaviors and attempts to sabotage your divorce or attempts to harm you: violence, threats, gaslighting, or blaming you, or any of the other common behaviors we see. Second, please consider psychological counseling, before and during the divorce. This will help you build a strong, supportive team through the divorce process. Finally, take good care of yourself. You will undoubtedly feel pressure to ‘give in’ during the divorce when your narcissist spouse feels the power shift back to you. Do what you know is best for you and for your children. What is “best” for you can only be decided by you, with advice from your divorce lawyer and, if you choose, with some guidance from a therapist. Take time to think about how you want your post-divorce life to look as you regain the power and control to redesign your life, free of the pain associated with being married to a narcissist.
You survived a marriage to a narcissist – you will certainly thrive in the divorce!