Divorcing a narcissist

I often receive phone calls from women who want to divorce a husband with a narcissistic personality disorder. These women often don’t dare to cut off the relationship. Or they are still in doubt about whether or not to go through with it.

What is narcissism?

People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) consider themselves to be very important and expect others to treat them accordingly. At the same time, their ego can be bruised easily. This means that they have a short temper and are quick to blame others. They typically show little understanding and have difficulty feeling empathy. As a result, they will mainly focus on others for their own benefit. In this article we use the example of the narcissistic man, but there are also narcissistic women. We see in practice that the narcissistic man are often drawn to women who very easily put their own needs aside to take care of another. According to some, these women are addicted to love and will do anything to regain the love they felt at the beginning of the relationship. Unfortunately, in a relationship with a narcissist, this is never going to happen. Experts explain that there is no cure for narcissism.

Divorcing a narcissist hurts 
Even though your relationship wasn’t good, deciding to split up still hurts. For years, you have dedicated all of your energy and attention into him and the relationship. You might feel like you have lost sight of who you are. Explore these feelings and get yourself organised. Consider the divorce to be a new chapter that focuses on you. One of our clients –who really embraced this concept– shared with us: “this divorce feels like I’m on holiday.” Try transition from someone who loves another too much, to someone with a clear sense of self-respect and self-esteem, who knows that she deserves to be in a happy relationship and will accept nothing less.

How do you tell a narcissist that you want a divorce?
It will be difficult to tell your partner that you want to divorce him. Consider, for example, the behaviour of a stalker. A stalker often displays narcissistic characteristics. Also with your ex, it is important to give clear “notice of divorce”. This means stating very clearly that the relationship is ending. That your decision is final. Briefly state the reason and don’t allow yourself to be provoked into a discussion. The narcissistic partner will likely try blackmailing and manipulating, and maybe even threatening you. Don’t get drawn into this. At the moments when it suits you, continue to communicate briefly and clearly: “I have already told you that the relationship is over. My decision is final and I’ve already given you the reason. I am sticking to this decision.” You may have to repeat this another 10 times, but this is necessary for the narcissistic ex-partner.

Physically leave
Make sure you physically leave. Although a shelter for victims of domestic violence may not sound like an ideal solution, sometimes it is a necessary transition if you have nowhere else to go (in Dutch a shelter for victims of domestic violence is called a “Blijf van mijn lijf huis”). If you were in fact abused by your ex-partner, then you can file a police report. In some cases, a restraining order can be issued.

Would you like more information about divorcing your narcissistic partner? Please contact us to let us know.