There were so many times I said to myself, “I can’t believe he did that!” I couldn’t have anticipated my Narcs actions. It was impossible to wrap my head around how a person could do such inconceivable things. I was a faithful wife for 27 years, sacrificed my career to support his, and gave him three amazing children. I was a good mother and wife. Strike that, I was an amazing mother and wife. How could I have been so blind, so dumb? Nearly 30 years went by in a blink. Little did I know of the battle that laid before me. A guide on how to Divorce a Narcissist for Dummies would have made my escape so much easier! They say hindsight is 20/20.
Nearly daily I get asked the question: “What advice would you give to a person going through a difficult divorce from a person with a Narcissistic personality?” In a nut shell, I would refer to an old blog that I think best sums it up for those that find the courage to break free:
How to Divorce a Narcissistic Psychopath for Dummies:
- Keep a journal and record everything – this is SO important.
- Get the BEST lawyer – even if the cost seems too high.
- File. DON’T TELL ANYONE, not even your friends, until they are served the papers.
- You want to be the Plaintiff. Attorneys will say it doesn’t matter, but it does to a narcissist, and I believe it will sway a judge.
- Stash money away. You can bet they have — and planned it many years ago.
- Hide anything that has value BEFORE you file. They will try and take those things.
- Spend now, ask forgiveness later.
- Lock up everything. Files, journals, your car, your purse.
- Change all your passwords.
- Buy a burner phone.
- Open a new and private email account to communicate with your family, friends, and attorney(s).
- Get a good grip on your finances and record every expense.
- Do not believe ANYTHING they say – EVER.
- Demand a psychiatric evaluation.
- Breathe. You will waste many tears and have many sleepless nights.
- Take the case to trial. I should have.
When writing my book and initial blog, the hardest part of the divorce was learning to forgive myself and accepting that it wasn’t my fault. I had been brainwashed, manipulated, and controlled by the best of the best. I could never have foreseen what he would put me through in that year. Even if I had, I couldn’t have done anything differently. He gave me no choice. Everything I did was in reaction to his actions. I didn’t have time or space to plan any offense of my own; I was forced to continually play defense and play his game. For him it was all about winning. Over the following year, he would do whatever it took to win, conquer and destroy in our own version of War of the Roses. This is what happened, and you may expect when attempting to divorce a narcissistic psychopath:
What to Expect When Divorcing a Narcissistic Psychopath:
- He will sabotage your relationship with your attorney (I had three).
- He will break into your room and your car.
- He will steal your files and journals.
- He will hack your personal files and email accounts.
- He will stalk you.
- He will place hidden video cameras in the house to watch your every move.
- He will stage dozens of events designed to get you arrested and jailed.
- He will commit forgery.
- He will perjure himself without any thought for, or fear of, the repercussions.
- He will physically attack you.
- He will go on a vacation rampage.
- He will hide money.
- He will call your friends and family.
- He will call you crazy, delusional, and mentally unstable.
- He will never accept defeat and will fight literally to the bitter end (even over something as trivial as used gift bags!)
- He will never leave you alone.
- He will turn the children against you.
When I told my friends I was writing a book/blog, I would reference the old movie War of the Roses, explaining that I was writing the modern day sequel, only no one dies in the end. Throughout my blog, I drew from my personal journal of my daily struggles and discoveries during my Year of Thorns. I also referenced the 17 Emotional Manipulation Tactics of the narcissistic psychopath that I learned to identify on my path to recovery. Through my research and learning about the narcissistic personality, I began to understand what happened to our family while we lived with someone with a severe personality disorder, and the challenges we faced throughout the divorce process.
Now looking back it’s all so clear, textbook really. I hope my insights listed above will lesson the shock of what to expect when divorcing someone with a personality disorder and how to prepare when going head-to-head against a narcissist.
“It’s not going to be an easy journey. Believe in yourself. The path from dreams to break free does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to seek it, and the perseverance to follow it.” – Wende
“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene
“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’re ever imagined.” — Dr. Seuss