Leaving a narcissist
Separation and divorce are always hard but leaving a narcissist is at least twice as difficult. Not content with just leaving, some are hell-bent on destroying their ex. And if it’s you who’s doing the leaving, you’re likely to be punished for ‘ruining their life’ for ever more.
Unfortunately most lawyers (including judges) have no understanding of the narcissistic personality and try to deal with a divorce, or dispute over the children, in the usual way. This doesn’t work. You can’t mediate or negotiate with a narcissist, they want it all their own way. And even if you were to walk away and leave them everything it still wouldn’t be enough: they want blood as well.
A different strategy is therefore required with a narcissist. Court proceedings are inevitable so it’s usually best to get on with them sooner rather than later. As a narcissist wants to fight over everything there are often multiple court proceedings and they thrive on the drama of it all.
The saving grace can be the narcissist’s love of money: occasionally they are unwilling to pay out for legal fees and may come to an agreement with you. But more often their intent on punishment outweighs even their love of money and they will spend what it takes to destroy their victim. Many narcissists have big debts and won’t think twice about taking on more to pay their legal fees.
If you’re new to narcissism, I’d recommend a crash course in learning about it – the more you understand the better you’ll be able to deal with it. If you don’t already do ‘grey rock’ google it and keep practising until you can do it like a pro.
Two books I’d highly recommend are:
Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield, by Tina Swithin
Will I Ever be Free of You: How to navigate a high-conflict divorce from a narcissist, by Karyl McBride
Both are American, so unfortunately the legal and court information they give does not apply here, but nevertheless they are well worth reading, as are many others.
I’ve worked with many people leaving narcissists and have some understanding of the abuse they have suffered, and what is required to get them through their court proceedings and to a better place.
You might also be interested in reading the ‘Legal Structure of Divorce’ a two-minute guide to divorce proceedings.