Divorcing A Narcissist? A Survival Guide For Protecting Your Sanity

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Narcissistic personality often does not become obvious until you are sitting in front of a divorce lawyer. The very same things that attract you to your partner in the first place, like an outgoing personality and confidence, may in fact be the same characteristics that feed their destructive behavior.

The American Psychological Association defines NPD as egocentricity and excessive love for oneself. These people can be dynamic and very engaging, which is confusing for those around them who find it hard to believe these popular egoists suffer from mental illness and perhaps even an underlying depression.

Caution: Narcissists Do Not Like to Fail

Narcissistic people do not react well to failure, as explained in this article in Psychology Today. When you take them on in divorce court, especially if they think that you are quote-un-quote, “winning,” the situation can get unbelievably stressful. Expect gaslighting and manipulation. Psychologists offer one solution, and that is going no contact.

That means no texting, no social media, and no phone calls, with no exceptions. Contacting your ex during divorce proceedings, especially if you are in child custody mediation with a narcissist, is just asking for trouble. The best thing you can do is quietly document what is happening and give the information to your lawyer.

Go No Contact and Collect Evidence

It is worth repeating that you should be going no contact at this point, but once the divorce proceeding is underway and child custody is at stake, it is vital that you get proof of the narcissistic behavior and how it directly causes damage to the children. Watch for telltale posts on social media, collect communications via email or text that give the narcissist away, and make a written record of verbal conversations every time your ex does something that could be perceived as harmful to the kids.

Witnesses may be reluctant to step forward because narcissists can hold so much power over people. In fact, the narcissistic personality will often build a group of admirers around them that are sometimes humorously referred to as flying monkeys. This circle of people is also referred to as narcissistic supply, which basically means that the individuals surrounding this person supply them with the ego boost they need to carry on their negative behavior.


Watch out for flying monkeys because they will likely be trying to collect evidence against you to support the narcissist whom they so adore.

Signs You Are Married to a Narcissist

There are certain things that this personality disorder leads people to do that are unique and allow you to confirm if you are indeed married to a narcissist.

  • Isolation: They may isolate you and cut you off from friends and family. This allows them to be the center of all your attention.
  • Gaslighting: They may cause you to doubt reality, and then call you paranoid or crazy. They’ll say whatever they need to, to get you to believe them.
  • Openly Flirting: Making you feel insecure to boost their own ego. Believes they can attract anyone they’d like with no concern for how you feel about it.
  • Jealousy of a Child: Narcissists like to be the center of attention, so this can be very destructive.
  • Overly Critical: Of your parenting skills, your appearance, your attitude, anything. They want you to be as they envision you.
  • Spectacle: Praising you or the kids only in front of other people so they look better.

Can I Use an NPD Diagnosis Against My Partner in Court?

Odds are, you will not be able to use your observations of narcissism in front of the judge, but you can let them know about it and provide examples. Even in the absence of hard evidence of narcissism, documenting the behavior can be enough to sway the judge in your favor. If you’re lucky enough to have a formal diagnosis of your spouse’s NPD however, you may be able to submit it as evidence.