What to Expect When Divorcing a Narcissist in Indianapolis

Narcissism is a personality disorder affecting less than 1% of the general population. Divorcing a spouse with narcissistic personality disorder, particularly when there are minor children involved, can be quite a bit more challenging than most other divorce or custody cases. However, because the personality traits of a narcissist are predictable, so too is their basic strategy in divorce litigation. This blog explores what to expect when divorcing a narcissist in Indianapolis and how to be prepared for it. 

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder exhibit certain personality traits to an extreme, causing problems in their work, school, social, and personal relationships (Mayo Clinic). These traits include an exaggerated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy for others, a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and engagement in relationships which they can easily manipulate or control. Whether your spouse has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder or simply displays some of the irrational characteristics of a narcissist, divorcing them may be far more difficult than you might think. Nonetheless, in spite of the unreasonable behavior, if you are prepared for the shenanigans you can reduce the high levels of stress and amount of time wasted that divorcing a narcissist generally causes.   

The first thing to keep in mind when divorcing a narcissist is that they must “win” as this will prove that they were right. The narcissists inflated sense of self-importance, combined with their lack of empathy, need to manipulate and control others, and sense of entitlement, inevitably leads to them believing that not only do they wholly deserve whatever it is that they want in a divorce, but that they are justified in using any means to get it. Playing the victim is one of the first ways that a person with narcissistic personality disorder will do to get their way (Psychology Today). Lying in court about your extra-marital affairs, neglectful and abusive behavior towards the children, drug addiction, or poor treatment of them during the marriage may be just the beginning too. Many narcissists will also manipulate friends and family into believing their lies about you and convince them to testify against you. You can help to prevent this from happening by staying close to your friends and family, keeping them informed about what is happening, and gathering any evidence you have to show that your spouse is lying. 

The narcissist will not only lie in court and attempt to convince others to do so as well, but may attempt to maintain control over you by dragging out the court proceedings in any way that they can. This means failing to appear for hearings, pretending they forgot or were unaware that there was a hearing, filing numerous motions that the court must hold a hearing on, thus putting off the final hearing by weeks, or possibly months, refusing to follow court orders, or firing their attorney right before a hearing so that they can get the proceedings delayed while they find a new attorney (Judge Anthony). These tactics may work at first, but judges tend to catch on quickly and do not generally tolerate such nonsense. While it may be difficult, you should remember when your spouse behaves this way that they are suffering from a mental illness and do not see their actions as hurtful or illogical. You can show your spouse that you will no longer allow them to manipulate you by simply being prepared for this type of strategy and maneuvering and take it for what it is; the desperate attempts of a person who is very ill to keep the spouse they have been able to manipulate and control in their life. You can also ask that a hearing proceed without your spouse if they fail to appear and object to any frivolous motions or requests meant only to delay the proceedings. 

Knowing what to expect when divorcing a narcissist in Indianapolis is only half the battle. Employing certain strategies can help counter-act any damage your spouse may cause using the deceptive practices common in high conflict divorces involving a party with narcissistic personality disorder. First, before filing for divorce or talking to your spouse about divorcing, make sure that you have originals of all important documents such as birth certificates, passports, and social security cards. Next, you will want to ensure that you have originals or copies of all bills, mortgages, loans, bank statements, tax returns, titles, deeds, or other evidence of any asset or debt. You will then need to begin collecting evidence that you may use in court, such as photographs, videos, text messages and e-emails, and your child’s report cards and healthcare records. Starting a journal where you can describe specific instances when your spouse lied, was abusive or controlling, or displayed severe symptoms of narcissism is also a good idea, as is taking videos of or keeping extensive notes about your interactions with your spouse once you file for divorce. 

Finally, you want to bring in the professionals. Divorcing a narcissist may cause anxiety and depression, and can be a traumatic experience requiring a therapist. A therapist will be able to guide you through the emotions of divorcing a narcissist and create a plan for dealing with your spouse in a way that is healthy and more peaceful. You will also need an Indianapolis attorney experienced in high conflict divorces and familiar with litigants suffering from mental illness, particularly narcissistic personality disorder. Your attorney can help you protect your children and your assets, and cut down on much of the nonsense and drama created by your spouse. 

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement. 


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