You may be surprised when your narcissistic husband or wife asks or demands a divorce. The narcissistic partner has been planning this action for some time. Narcissists are conspirators. They ponder how a particular move will benefit them long before they reveal it to the other party, even if it’s a spouse they’ve been married to for decades. The truth is, you only thought you were part of a royal marriage. Narcissists are incapable of genuine relationships. Most of the time, their marriages are business. They choose partners because they are physically attractive, young, emotionally flexible, fit the perfect narcissist image, come from the “right family background”, have a strong financial portfolio.
Some narcissists who have had long marriages (with lots of extra flings) prefer to make a deal so that the family dynasty remains intact. I have known husbands and wives who have offered the other party millions of dollars to “stay in the marriage.” In exchange for cash and other financial incentives, the narcissist makes it clear that he or she is romantically and sexually free to pursue other relationships. Some partners prefer to agree to this proposal and maintain the façade of marriage. The reason for many is that they cannot give up the lavish lifestyle provided by the highly successful, high-end narcissist. The aggrieved party may groan and moan, but accept the irresistible offer.
There is the question of mediation instead of divorce. It is not impossible but it is very difficult. Narcissists are not willing to compromise, are always right, and share no blame or possessions.
Having studied and worked clinically in the area of narcissistic personality disorders for many years, I believe that it would be very rare to have a positive mediation outcome with a narcissist.
Those who choose to divorce a narcissist are entering a psychological thicket from which they may emerge victorious. Despite all your psychological pain and the nightmare that awaits you, make sure you do your homework. Research, interview, and use word-of-mouth resources through friends and confidants who know the work of several great divorce lawyers. Choose a divorce attorney who has been at the center of these battles countless times. Make sure your attorney has a good character who is trustworthy and will fight for you with great perseverance. It is important for the attorney to understand narcissistic personality disorder.
When the formal divorce process is over, the important personal work begins. Take advantage of your strengths. You will find mental and psychological resources that have been hidden under the intimidation of living with a narcissist for so long. Do your research, interview, and find a great divorce therapist with whom you can grieve your loss. Part of healing after divorce is your assertive efforts to redirect your life. Call your close friends. Take good care of your physical, mental and emotional health. Be open to discover ways to heal yourself through physical exercise, yoga, meditation, support groups. After all your work, you will find yourself leading a calmer, healthier, more peaceful and creative life—-a life that belongs to you and that you share with others who are on your new path. One day you may find yourself giving other spouses great advice on how to successfully divorce a narcissist.