The word “narcissist” gets thrown around a lot in the media and in day-to-day conversations. Society had downplayed the significance of the term to the point where anyone who appears to be full of themselves is labeled as a narcissist. But narcissism is a very real and damaging psychological disorder, and divorcing one can become an endless nightmare.
The American Psychiatric Association describes a true narcissist as someone who:
- Is obsessed with the idea of unlimited power, success, beauty or the perfect love.
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
- Lacks empathy.
- Believes he or she can only be understood by people of high status.
- Has a sense of entitlement.
- Takes advantage of others for his or her gain.
- Requires admiration from others.
- Exhibits arrogant behavior.
- Believes others are envious of him or her.
If you’re married to a true narcissist and are planning to divorce your spouse, be prepared for an emotionally draining experience. Narcissists never go away quietly and will drag out proceedings in the name of getting what they feel they deserve.
Narcissists will often:
- Refuse to negotiate
- Refuse to provide the appropriate financial documents
- Fail to follow court orders
- Use children (and anyone else) as pawns
A true narcissist will manipulate and use the legal system to his or her advantage, which can be bad news for ex-partners who want to walk away from the divorce with some financial stability.
Keep these three financial tips in mind if you’re divorcing a narcissist.
1. Get Your Financial Documents in Order Before Filing for Divorce
Financial disclosure is a requirement in a divorce, but a narcissist will do everything in their power to stall, hide or outright refuse to provide financial documents. You can avoid this headache and complication by getting your financial documents in order before you even file for divorce.
Obtain copies of all required financial and legal documents, including:
- Business financial statements (if applicable)
- Income tax returns
- Personal property tax returns
- Income information
- Banking information
- Credit card information
- Stock options
- Financial statements
- Retirement account information
- Wills and trust agreements
- Outstanding debts
- General and life insurance
- Real property
These are just a few of the many documents you’ll need to gather before filing for divorce. Consider consulting with a divorce attorney who has experience with narcissist spouses to obtain a complete list of required documents.
Once you have copies of all these documents, hand them over to a trusted friend or relative for safekeeping. If you don’t have someone you can trust, consider placing the documents into a safety deposit box.
2. Have Your Own Cash and Credit Cards
Narcissists will do all they can to drag out the divorce proceedings, which means you’ll need to be prepared for a long and expensive ordeal. Make sure that you have your own cash on hand to cover the cost of your divorce.
It’s also important to ensure that you have credit in your name. Once the divorce is finalized, your credit will help you obtain any credit cards or loans you may need.
3. Hire a Good Divorce Lawyer – and Team
For the best possible outcome, hire a lawyer who has handled cases involving narcissist spouses. He or she will know the best course of action to take when dealing with a difficult or obstructionist spouse.
Along with a good divorce lawyer, you may also want to work with a good therapist. Again, you’ll want to choose a professional who has experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissistic spouses can make divorce an emotionally devastating experience due to their lack of empathy.
Narcissists can be vindictive, manipulative and emotionally abusive throughout a divorce. Having a good support system in place will help you get through the proceedings with grace.