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How to limit narcissistic abuse in a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2024 | Divorce

You may have known for a while that your spouse had strong narcissistic tendencies, but you never realized exactly how manipulative, controlling and abusive they could be – until you decided to seek a divorce.

While all divorces are challenging, divorcing a narcissist requires a strategic approach if you want to avoid being drawn into their head games. Here are some pointers:

1. Don’t reveal your plans until you have everything in place

If your spouse knows what you want to do, they’ll go out of their way to stop you. Give them no information about where you intend to live, where you spend your free time these days or anything else. If you’re smart, you’ll even ditch your old social media accounts in case they have convinced someone to spy on you for them.

2. Learn to betray nothing about what you’re thinking or feeling

From “love bombing” to “gaslighting,” a narcissist’s biggest weapon is their ability to manipulate the feelings of others. You need to tightly control your emotional reactions in front of your spouse and only provide neutral, minimal responses no matter how heavily you’re baited. Learn to literally shrug your shoulders at their promises and threats alike – because nothing they say really matters until the court weighs in.

3. Insist that all contact goes through pre-determined channels

Do not agree to meet your spouse to talk things out on your own. If you have to meet them outside of a formal legal setting, take someone with you who can serve as a witness. For the most part, you want to insist that all of their communications are written, whether that’s via email, text message or official letters. That way, you have documentation of everything that was said. 

Above all, trust your instincts and prioritize your well-being throughout the divorce process – and don’t be afraid to rely on legal guidance for the support you need during this time.

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