When people divorce or separate it is often a traumatic time. As well as dealing with a divorce there will invariably be financial issues that need to be resolved and for those that have children, proper arrangements will need to be put in place regarding their care and welfare going forwards.
For those that are exiting a relationship with a narcissist there is an extra layer of complexity. Not only do the same issues need to be addressed but they also need to be handled in the right way. If not, you are at risk of inflaming an already bad situation which is bound to have an adverse impact on your well-being and those of any children.
In the US Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is more understood and properly recognised as a distinct personality disorder. This is not the case in this country. Quite often it is a term that is bandied about inappropriately, but it does exist. In the US the life-time incidence of NPD is between 0.5-6.2%; 75% being in men. There is no reason to suspect that these figures would be significantly different here.
People are not born narcissists, they are made. Although there are different types, they all need narcissistic supply. This is validation from external sources which reinforces their false self and keeps them from facing their own deep insecurities and inadequacies. This is an important concept to understand as it dictates how you and your lawyer should communicate with them.
Narcissists will seek control, employ different methods of manipulation, and will think that the laws and rules do not apply to them.
If you are separating from a narcissist, you have probably tried and failed to do so numerous times before. It is important that you engage the right legal professional to guide you through the legal process of a divorce and resolving financial and any children issues.
Before you separate, ideally you should take advice on early practical steps you need to take to protect your position as any narcissist is likely to invade your privacy, may clear out joint accounts and make you financially vulnerable.
Once you have separated, and ideally before, you will need a lawyer who can pre-empt and understand how a narcissist is likely to manipulate the legal process. That the lawyer can deal with them in the most effective way.
There are various dispute resolution methods of resolving financial and children issues, but if you are dealing with a narcissist some are likely to be more appropriate than others. How communications are phrased or responded to is also important to prevent legal costs spiralling. It will certainly pay in the long run to engage a professional who understands.
The Family Team at Bishop & Sewell have a breadth of experience in dealing with individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder when dealing with issues arising from a divorce or separation. If you are divorcing or separating from someone who you think is a narcissist and there are financial and children issues to be resolved, do contact us to see how we can assist.
The above is accurate as at 25 July 2022. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.