“Narcissist” has become an increasingly common term in psychology, particularly in divorce. While narcissism is a personality disorder that can be toxic to be around, true narcissism tends to be a rare diagnosis.
However, even though true narcissism is rare, many people display some of the hallmark behaviors. Whether you are married to a true narcissist or someone who exhibits some of the behaviors of the condition, you may be in a troubling situation. Often, it can be difficult to leave, especially if you do not understand the traits that make your spouse’s behavior particularly challenging.
These are some of the most common narcissistic traits and a strategy for divorcing someone with these toxic behaviors.
Master of manipulation
One of the most common traits of narcissism is the ability to manipulate. In many cases, gaslighting will play a significant role in a manipulator’s attempts to make you feel guilt or shame for situations you did not cause.
Gaslighting is a specific type of manipulation that causes you to question your own reality. For example, you may remember the details of an event. Still, by the time your spouse is done manipulating your recollection of the situation, you may start to question your memory and wonder if you are being overly sensitive.
Another common trait of narcissism is a lack of empathy. Often, someone who lacks empathy will be drawn to someone who is especially empathetic since they enjoy that type of attention.
You may have been attracted to them initially because they craved your attention. Now, however, you may see that they will not or cannot give the same type of support.
In many ways, your spouse’s lack of empathy can make leaving them difficult. Someone without empathy will use your own ability to identify with their pain against you, leaving you feeling exhausted and guilty.
Having a strategy
Divorcing a narcissist can be difficult. A narcissist often makes it difficult to cut off communication and stick to your decision.
You can ensure that a narcissistic spouse has fewer options to retaliate by talking exclusively with an experienced attorney. When you use this strategy early in the process, it is less likely that your spouse can try to twist your words.