When you decide that your relationship is over, one of the most difficult things to manage is how your spouse or partner reacts to the news. Sometimes, relationships end by mutual agreement, and whilst matters may not be simple, they do at least contain an element of civility. 

When you’re separating from a narcissist, civility won’t be on the cards. Here we take a look at five ways a narcissist might respond to your request for a divorce, and the tactics they may use to make things as difficult as possible. 

You’ll be to blame

When it comes to accountability, narcissists aren’t big fans. Ultimately, they’ll take (or create) any opportunity to play the victim. Their reaction to your request for a separation is likely to be one of blaming you. It will be your fault that the relationship deteriorated, your fault that you’re unhappy and your fault that it’s come to this. 

If there are children involved, it’s not unusual for narcissists to blame them, either. Be on high alert for this, so that you’re ready to support your children through the experience. 

It’s all about them

You’ve heard of ‘big picture thinking’? Well, narcissists can’t do this. They’re completely lacking in empathy and won’t be thinking beyond anyone but themselves. It’s not just that they’ll be unable to consider your needs; they’ll be unable to consider the needs and advice of anyone. This includes children, other family members and their own solicitor.

They may hide assets

Because it’s all your fault, and because their needs are paramount, it’s not uncommon for narcissists to try and hide financial assets during divorce proceedings. Unsurprisingly, it’s also pretty standard for narcissists to lie. They may lie about your behaviour, their behaviour and about the assets they should be including in discussions about finances. 

Make sure that you list every possible asset you’re aware of as early on as you can. That way, you’ll be better able to pick up on it if anything goes missing. 

Chaos will be the order of the day

Be prepared for a narcissist to disrupt any positive headway you’re trying to make. Exaggeration, untruths, endless drama – these things are straight out of the narcissistic playbook. The smallest bump in the road will be portrayed as the worst thing in the world. 

Make no mistake, this kind of behaviour can be catching, and there’s a real potential for the negativity to pull you down. Don’t let it. Keep calm, set boundaries and don’t deviate from them.  

Everything will be non-negotiable

The longer the situation goes on, the more likely you are to be manipulated and pressured. That’s because there is no negotiation when you’re divorcing a narcissist. You may find that they make unreasonable suggestions around what they feel is a ‘fair’ settlement, or make pointless objections to sensible proposals. 

This is where having an expert solicitor in your corner really pays off. Solicitors are trained in negotiation. They can fight your corner without being bullied or worn down. They’ll also know when to call time on negotiations, and consider whether the matter needs to go before a judge. 

How we can help

At Harrogate Family Law, we’re committed to doing everything possible to keep matters of separation or divorce out of court. We’ll do our level best to get a settlement that works for you without the need for a judge.

However, with our expert team, you can be sure that if it comes to that, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us now to discuss how we can help.