Recovery after Divorcing a Narcissistic Spouse

Being married to a narcissistic husband and wife is stressful and exhausting. On constant call, serving them and being the recipient of the narcissist’s outrageous demands, temper tantrums and incessant criticisms and humiliations, saps your psychological and physical energy. Many spouses wait decades to make the final decision. They keep thinking that the narcissist will change. Many husbands and wives believe that if they make every effort with their spouse to respond to their ego needs that the narcissist will finally recognize their value and have an insight. This does not happen to narcissists as you finally know. You understand that the narcissistic personality structure is rigid like steel and is very unlike to change. You make the decision and follow through with the divorce. This is a very difficult, especially since narcissists are particularly uncooperative with this process. They roadblock and sabotage their way through the divorce. Many of them misappropriate assets in clever ways that leave the other spouse in a difficult financial situation.

After you are legally divorced from your narcissistic spouse, the work of remaking and reworking your life begins. If you have been financially and psychologically independent throughout the marriage, the transition will not be as difficult. Many spouses married to narcissists realize very early that there is no real relationship between the two of them. When the divorce comes, it is no surprise to them. Other individuals believe that they can make the relationship work (They must try harder; they tell themselves) and hold on to the shattered dream of the marriage ’til the very end. These spouses need special help maneuvering the rough waters in the aftermath of the divorce. Researching and finding a skilled psychotherapist is a good starting point. Gathering loyal friends around you for support offers an environment of emotional safety and security. Being heard and understood by these friends furthers the healing process.

Be patient with yourself. You will have rough days. Don’t make harsh self judgments. You have undergone a great trauma being married to and divorcing a narcissistic spouse. The body and mind are always seeking healing and equilibrium. Work with this natural process. Pay attention to your dreams—they are wise messengers. Let yourself cry and grieve. Take time for yourself every day to meditate, journal, listen to music—whatever you do that you find to be calming and recuperative. Take care of yourself physically. Eat foods that will sustain your health and increase your energy, Exercise in the ways that are best suited to you—walking, the gym, yoga– physical activities that you enjoy. Getting enough sleep is vital. Sleep is the great healer–a blessing and balm to the body, mind and psyche. Your life is being renewed. Be kind to yourself.

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