You need to be prepared for the worst when divorcing a narcissist.
No matter how you cut it, going through a divorce is painful. But divorcing a narcissist can create a level of agony that would make the cruelest medieval torturers proud.
While you can have a lot of different problems divorcing a narcissist, the biggest one is that, in the beginning, you almost always get played for a fool. You believe your divorce can be “amicable” or that your narcissistic spouse will be “reasonable.” So you act accordingly.
Then you get slammed.
Before you become collateral damage in your narcissistic spouse’s power play, it’s best to understand the kinds of mind games you’ll need to survive when you’re divorcing a narcissist.
Here are 12 mind games that narcissists play while you’re going through a divorce:
1. The blame game.
Narcissists can’t accept responsibility for anything negative that happens in their lives.
To the narcissist, everything that is, was, or ever will be wrong with your marriage is your fault. Your divorce is your fault (even if your spouse was the one who cheated and/or wanted the divorce). The more you try to prove that you’re right, the harder your narcissistic spouse will fight to prove that you’re wrong.
2. Snake charming.
Most narcissists can be amazingly charming… when they want to be! Since many of them are very accomplished, highly driven professionals, they usually present themselves well in court.
That puts you at a tremendous disadvantage in your divorce. You may lose in court time after time until the judge finally realizes that your narcissistic spouse may not be as wonderful as s/he seems.
3. “You’re out of bounds!”
Narcissists don’t respect boundaries.
They have no problem walking into your house uninvited when they pick up the kids. They will show up late, drop the kids off early, or blow off their parenting time altogether if it suits them. They assume you will be there to pick up the slack with the kids when they are busy with other things. Unless you set firm boundaries, in writing — and enforce them — your narcissistic spouse will walk all over you in your divorce.
Narcissists will tell you they are going to do something that they know will make you crazy – like telling you they are going to take the kids to Disneyworld for Christmas, even though it’s your year to have the kids with you.
When you run to court to get the judge to stop them from going, they deny they had any such plans. They make you look like the crazy one.
5. Truth or dare.
To a narcissist, “truth” is relative. They will say and do whatever they need to make themselves look good, or to make you look bad. If you make the mistake of believing that once they are in court and sworn to tell the truth they will actually do that, they will walk all over you.
You will be standing in court with your mouth gaping open in disbelief as they lie to the judge — and the judge believes them!
6. My way or the highway.
Narcissists can’t be wrong. Ever.
If you disagree with your narcissistic spouse, s/he will either paint you as a fool or explode in a fit of rage. Even though they are quick to judge, criticize or ridicule you, if you try to do the same thing to them, they will either throw a temper tantrum or accuse you of abusing them.