This is Todd Burnham, the Founding Partner of Burnham Law, and an experienced family law lawyer with a superb record. This blog talks about the difficulties of going through a divorce with a narcissist.
How to Divorce a Narcissist
Narcissists lead two lives. It’s really important to have a good strategy in the beginning. It’s also very important to assume that things are going to get blown up because a narcissist is going to die on their sword, even if the sword is dull.
Narcissism is an illness, and understanding the symptoms of it can better get you prepared for how to handle it.
Write it Down
Get everything in writing. Narcissists will often have unrealistic impressions about themselves. How you are going to prove that their views and statements are false is with your written record of their actions and past statements.
A narcissist might say, “I was a loving, caring father, and this is all her fault.” And the reality is that every text message is calling her a C-word, B-word, and everything in between. Having that record helps you in the beginning. After that, if it doesn’t get stopped because you have the data and it makes strategic sense to let opposing counsel know that this is what you have, then you’re in for a battle. You are going to need experts, probably a Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) rather than a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) if children are involved.
Another thing you can do is to get engaged with self-help groups, or group forums where people can help you with how to communicate with a narcissist and how to interpret their communications. Because it’s important to remember that narcissists aren’t dealing in good faith, there are strategies for communicating with them. If you’re in a legal battle with one, you have to have to be ready to implement those strategies.
“I don’t get my way; I’m going to act out. This is what it’s going to look like, and it’s going to be your fault.”
That’s what you will be dealing with. So, support is the most important thing, especially when dealing with narcissists. You find these groups online; you get into some serious therapy with mental health professionals that know narcissism.
Here at Burnham Law, we have CFIs on staff, so that helps. CFI helps you prepare for an investigation, or they’re counseling you in how to handle certain things with a narcissist. But the value of a group assistance program can’t be overstated. Having people that are in similar situations give examples of, “Well, this worked for me” or “This didn’t work for me. Be aware of these things.” Your lawyer, even if they’re a CFI, can help you, but sometimes in these kinds of situations with narcissists, it does take a village.