The narcissist is two faced: irresistibly charming, attractive, and magnetic in public; enraged, intimidating, threatening in private. Those who live with a narcissist have a difficult time with these individuals during the “good times.” This is defined as a brief cycle when the narcissist is still enthralled with an adoring mate who satisfies his ego needs of the moment. This idyllic state doesn’t last long. The outer image of the perfect marriage and family remains intact. This image is invaluable to the narcissist and perceived by him as real. Some spouses of narcissists know that they have made a mistake very soon after the vows are spoken. Thirty years later— exhausted and suffering from intractable emotional pain— they are still wondering if they deserve to leave someone who has been so abusive.
The narcissist’s elaborate mask is removed in private to reveal a contorted, demanding, menacing face. The narcissist has no respect for anyone, even members of his own family. The narcissist saves his cruelest acts for those closest to him. When the situation becomes intolerable to the non-narcissistic spouse, a decision is crying out to be made: should I stay with this impossible person or take the risk and divorce. Once the decision to divorce a narcissist is made, the battle royal begins. Even with the help of the best Manhattan divorce lawyer, this can still be incredibly tough. This is why having a great lawyer with you to battle through this horrible kind of divorce is so important. You need a lawyer’s support and expertise to help overcome such narcissistic ways. Plus, it’s also ideal to have a lawyer on board so that you are rightfully given what you’re owed, such as a family home or custody of children. If you live in Salt Lake City, for example, you could talk to those at cramercramer.com. But there are a few exceptions to if the battle will start in the first place. If the narcissist has found a more desirable partner and wants to make a clean break with his old life, he or she is inclined to dismiss the existence of the previous spouse and move forward to his new source of narcissistic supplies. In many cases, the narcissist turns vengeful, pitting one child against another, spouse against parents, friends against friends. It is not unusual for the narcissist to launch a deliberate campaign to demonize his former spouse by making outrageous claims of mental instability, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse. I know of cases in which the narcissistic spouse used his financial power to buy off the parents and siblings of the non-narcissistic partner. After the divorce the former in-laws formed close social relationships with the narcissist and abandoned their child. Even though the narcissist may have no interest in his children, he will demand full custody to remove any question that he can get whatever he wants. The narcissist’s custody dispute is often enacted as a form of punishment and revenge. In the meantime the other spouse is in a constant state of terror, wondering if his/her children will be wrenched away.
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Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.