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Divorcing a Narcissist: Does it Affect the Process?

You probably deal with narcissistic, self-absorbed individuals on a regular basis, and they likely affect your personal or professional life – or both. One of the most challenging situations you may face is when you are looking to divorce someone who demonstrates the personality traits of narcissism. There is a good chance that your spouse’s excessive self-admiration was a factor in leading you to contemplate divorce. Perhaps the sense of entitlement is the reason he or she is seeking to end your marriage. In either scenario, you are confronted with a person whose self-centered feelings, thoughts, and emotions could have a significant impact on the divorce process.


Narcissism is certainly unwelcome, but it does not have to derail your divorce. With guidance from a Texas divorce lawyer, it is possible to manage the proceedings in a positive direction. Plus, it is always wise to have experienced legal representation if you need to go to court to resolve divorce-related issues. Some insight on the process may help you understand the obstacles you might encounter when divorcing a narcissist.


Narcissistic Traits That Can Derail the Divorce Process


Researchers have identified several characteristics that are indicative of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A person can easily demonstrate these traits without being diagnosed, and there are a few that impact divorce proceedings in particular. It is important to talk with your divorce lawyer regarding your impressions about the following:


  • A narcissist typically feels superior to others and expects special treatment.
  • Someone with NPD might be motivated by fantasies that have no basis in reality, such as self-assurance that he or she is massively successful, intelligent, powerful, and attractive to others.
  • Narcissistic individuals crave attention and thrive on admiration.
  • A narcissistic person will exhibit limitations or outright refuse to take into account the feelings, emotional needs, or experiences of others – regardless of the personal or familial relationship.
  • When the narcissist’s desires for attention, praise, and devotion are not met, that person will begin to feel empty, bored, and depressed.
  • Among many vulnerabilities, an individual who is narcissistic may have difficulties transitioning into a new lifestyle.


How a Narcissist Attempts Leverage in Divorce


There can be no doubt that interactions with a narcissistic person are frustrating, exhausting, and borderline agonizing. In a divorce case, these factors are even more enhanced and at the forefront. Narcissists will only focus on their own needs and interests, usually approaching divorce as a win-lose scenario. In the context of property division, spousal support, or children, there are a few ways that self-aggrandized behavior can hinder your divorce:


  • Divorce Agreements: Courts tend to favor agreements between parties to divorce, and a judge will approve an agreement on asset distribution and spousal support that is not inherently unfair. Compromises on child custody and visitation will be reviewed under Texas law in the best interest of the child, and a judge will enter the appropriate order after analysis. A narcissist generally has no use for agreements unless they involve the other party caving in on divorce issues.
  • Mediation: A divorce court will order parties to participate in mediation to resolve disputes on property division, alimony, and care for minor children. The process is fair and effective in getting parties closer on compromise, but narcissism can stand in the way of productive conversation.
  • Unnecessary Hearings: In the interests of seeking attention and empathy, narcissists might file numerous motions and petitions to position themselves before the court. This person wants an audience; the legal need for a hearing is a lower priority, but you could be drawn into the drama.
  • Contested Hearings: Regardless of whether you are dealing with a narcissist in Texas divorce, there are some cases where a contested hearing will come up. The process generally remains the same despite that person’s feelings of self-importance, but you should know some basics about contested hearings. These cases are similar to a trial, with each side presenting witnesses and exhibits to support their respective positions. Having an attorney to advocate on your behalf levels the playing field when a narcissistic individual attempts to hijack divorce proceedings.


Trust a Texas Divorce Attorney to Tackle the Challenges


There are numerous hurdles couples face when going through divorce, and dealing with a narcissist definitely presents challenges. However, when you have experienced representation on your side, you can feel confident about your rights in the process. For more information, please contact The Ramos Law Group, PLLC in Houston, TX. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and determine the best strategy for addressing narcissism in a Texas divorce case.


Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Mary E. Ramos

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Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

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