Narcissistic Spouses–Go into Training for the Divorce Wars

I know several people who have trained for and run marathons. This is a tough, disciplined process that takes many hours and hard grinding work. The goal is incredible–over 26 miles of running–one footfall after another. I have seen great runners reach the wall and writhe in agony.

I have watched them gather their strength and the benefit of their training and grit and move through this tremendous barrier that is reached around the twentieth mile. I had the thrill of watching part of an Olympic Marathon and saw the leaders near the finish. It was like viewing a grand performance of moving art. At that distance these athletes still looked fresh, wearing their dripping clothes and glistening bodies with grace and beautiful motion. They appeared to float over the surface of the ground. They seemed invincible.

Divorcing a narcissist can be compared with training for a marathon. Having listened to and read innumerable life stories from those who have suffered marriage to and divorce from narcissists, I daresay the marathon training and performance is easier. When most people get divorced, if things get complicated you look into medication from a law firm like but, alas, things aren’t that easy when it comes to narcissists.

Once you know that you are married to a narcissist, you have been given a number of warnings–a series of red flags that most of us ignore. There are so many signs that we override. We are being treated with disrespect, chronic lying, cruel control tactics, psychological ambushes, humiliations, torturous gaslighting, constant manipulations, psychological stalking. You name the nasty tactics and can attach most of them to the narcissistic personality.

The next phase is a big wakeup. You can no longer live with the narcissistic spouse. What are you going to do? What are you options? I will say this again: The Narcissist is Not Going to Change!!! This is when I’m telling you, you need to seek divorce immediately.

Unfortunately, being a narcissist is a fixed personality disorder that does not make characterlogical shifts. You can change your actions, thoughts, attitudes toward yourself. That is good news even though you feel like hell. There are those who never get out of this horrendous loop and stay with the narcissistic spouse much to their detriment.

Awake now, you go into training mode. The basics are learning to take very good care of yourself. As I said in my last post—You Come First (Often for the first time in your life). Focus on nourishing yourself with good sleep, eating healthy foods that give you energy and health, exercise that works for you and is consistent, a type of quieting the body/mind, setting limits on your narcissistic spouse and others that break through your private psychological space. Talk to someone if you can who has been through this process before. Each divorce from a narcissist is different but when you speak with someone you trust, you don’t feel alone and this person has had a tough time and there is the empathy that helps you stand together. Try and find a divorce lawyer who fully understands what you are going through and is willing to stick by you during this tough process. If you find a QDRO attorney that you believe can help you, try to trust them and listen to what they legally advise. Find an excellent therapist if you think that you can use professional help—You deserve this—You are entitled.

Pick a very tough attorney who is psychologically grounded, an excellent communicator and is skilled at understanding the real person behind the mask. He or she has to know family/divorce law hands down and be very confident of his/her legal acumen and performance in court. This is Your Advocate from beginning to end. This person takes your phone calls and doesn’t pawn your questions off on someone else.

Don’t share your plans in advance with the spouse whom you are divorcing or who is divorcing you. This is kept very close. Only your attorney and certain friends can know about your strategies. Save money or have money that you know you can use for this purpose ahead of time. When the marriage begins to crumble, think about your divorce plan and take actions that will protect you financially if you can. It may also be worth trying to gather evidence of their wrongdoings to help you in court. If you have a video of them being unfaithful, for example, Video Forensic Experts can authenticate it and this can be used to help you gain custody of children or have a fairer divorce.

Generally, it is unwise to mediate with a narcissistic spouse. In some states this process is required. But with a narcissist—they want it all. That’s why you need to be very well prepared for the “Everything is Mine” syndrome.

Work with your inner self. Find a few minutes when it is quiet. Pick a time that works for you and practice quieting your mind and body. This can take a number of forms including guided meditation, yoga poses with emphasis on the breath–activities that help you to get back to yourself. Know that you deserve this time and the inner peace that you can have if you keep a practice going. Don’t expect calmness immediately. Congratulate yourself each time that you make the effort.There is no perfection seeking here. If you miss days or weeks or months–get back on it without judgment.

Moving through a divorce from a narcissist is a tremendous achievement so give yourself credit every step of the way!!! (Especially when things go wrong.)

Remember you are a unique valuable individual. Don’t lose sight of this—Keep this in the front of your mind and in your heart. Some of the finest human beings I have known have been married to narcissists. Now they are free and seek the pathway of inner peace and the discovery of their true self.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

7 thoughts on “Narcissistic Spouses–Go into Training for the Divorce Wars”

  1. What about children? Obviously this introduces a whole set of complications of its own.

  2. I am seriously considering divorcing my wife. I will not exist with her for one second more than is necessary. We have two daughters, age 3 and 3 mos. I need help. My principle concern is their well being.

  3. Plan Plan Plan. I did it but you have to be prepared. Save enough money to make it for 3 months or so and enough for a GREAT attorney, one familiar with NPD.
    Don’t let her/him make you have second thoughts, be vigilant, do not think it will get better under any circumstances because it won’t. No amount of therapy or money or whatever will change them. For me that was the hard part, accepting reality. Even though everyone around you may think he/she is great, you know the truth and you must act on it while your children are still young. It will take a heavy toll on them when they get past 9 or so. You take a bigger risk of them becoming an NPD themselves the longer this fake marriage goes on. Even if you don’t get custody separating is better, at least they will know a normal life with one of their parents.
    You will be so glad you did it. Going through the process has made me so grateful for everything in my life(what little I have), I am finally at peace.
    One more important thing. PRAY because you will get help, more than you think.
    Good luck

  4. After 33 years, I finally accepted the truth that my wife suffers NPD. The final trigger was someone facing me with some hard truths about what they were observing.
    I had tried several times over the years to leave. Always getting sucked back into the hope that change would take place. It was finally a smart insightful grandson who asked the question, “Why does gramma yell at everything?” He had moved in with us and went from an A/B student to failing. I spent the next 6 months researching her behavior. She fit every single behavior that it was scary. I entered counseling and in two sessions had her come along. The therapist simply reinforced my beliefs.
    It was a hard “pill” to swallow. Now with an attorney in family law, a therapist and my “awakening”, I finally found the strength to leave. I will be gone by month end.
    She has no idea of my plans and it was hard. But, at age 62, I learned that life can give you a second chance. To those who doubt themselves….look in the mirror. There is no one who knows better than the person in the mirror what will make them happy, safe and live their life with renewed purpose.

  5. I am still married to my wife, of 10 years, whom I believe is an N. She has all the cues and signs. I have set it in my mind that the marriage must come to an end. I’ve had the multiple warning signs over there years and yes I either ignored or blew them off as being young and immature. After 10 years and three kids, still being married to this child of a wife, I can’t take the abuse anymore. This comment just hit me like a ton of bricks. I too worry deeply about our children and what will come of them. I’m giving myself three years to make plans, save money and emotionally prepare. At this time my N will finally have finished her teaching degree. What a laugh, but that is a whole other topic. She will be able to support herself, therefore hopefully making it a bit easier on myself financially. So back to the kids. Unfortunately, under this plan, our oldest son will be 10. He’s already showing signs of NPD. I fell so helpless because there is nothing I can do under the current situation to show him anything different. If I suggest one thing the my N goes off and does something completely different and counter intuitive. I think that would be gas lighting, I’m still learning. This post said something profound that makes this just a little easier. “Even if you don’t get custody separating is better, at least they will know a normal life with one of their parents.” This means so much to me. This means I can be the “normal” one and show our kids how things really should be. No lying, no screaming, no belittling and no favorites.

  6. WOW! I could not imagine 33 years with my N. I’m still married, 10 years, at the moment, but have begun making plans to leave. I can say though, I can see how this can happen. I’ve seen it first hand. My late father in-law, dealt with his wife, my m in-law, whom is also an N, probably even worse than my N. I am told stories of my late father in-laws work habits. He pretty much was either at work, many double shifts or graveyards, or he was fishing with friends. That was his escape, that was how he handled the life he had created. His two daughters, one being my N, would run over him emotionally, put him down, then turn around and be so loving you’d think everything was perfect. I nearly left my N, even while we were dating, but I fell for the usually hooks that are laid. It was the first person that ever put me up on that “pedestal” and it felt great, even with everything I was seeing. I thought I was a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue…..HA. BOY DID I STEP IN A TRAP. I was a lamb being led to slaughter. So, although I’m surprised at 33 years and empathize, I totally know where you are coming from. We ignore all the signs, coping it up to stress, immaturity, “I deserve it”, etc. I pray God’s grace for you in your situation and strength to finally follow through. Keep it brother, you can do this.

  7. Yes, it is better for the kids to go ahead and get divorced. I have been out of this nightmare for about 18 months now. I can see even more clearly now and one of my kids (14) who had been taken to 8 different shrinks since he was 5 and never talked to any of them started talking after I left. He is now in a much better place mentally than before.
    Hang in there, plan well, don’t let her persuade you into staying, keep saving your money for the inevitable. Find a lawyer who understands NPD’s, this is very important because they won’t believe anything you say until they see it for themselves like in mediation when your NPD actually shows herself for who she really is. So your lawyer needs to at least be familiar with these monsters. Good Luck

Comments are closed.