Dealing with narcissism in your Virginia divorce

Posted on Jun 11, 2018 by Katie Carter

Narcissistic husbands are tricky. (And trust me, you’re nowhere near the only one dealing with issues stemming from a marriage with a narcissist!) But recognizing your husband’s condition is so helpful, even though it might not feel that way to you right this minute. Knowing how he operates, how he makes you feel, and how he thinks, can give you a real edge in your divorce or custody case.

What does a narcissist do?

Narcissists make their wives think that they are the crazy ones. They tend to turn a situation around on their spouse and do whatever they can to make themselves seem reasonable and rational. So many of the women I’ve met with who have narcissistic husbands tell me, “I spent YEARS thinking I was the crazy one!”

They’re also pretty darn charming when they want to be. They’re manipulative, and they can come across well to pretty much anyone. That can be tricky in a divorce or custody case, because they’ll charm therapists (like marriage counselors!), attorneys, judges, Guardians ad litem… whoever they can! They can be pretty cunning.

Narcissists have an inability to see their own flaws, too. It’s hard to attempt marriage counseling or do anything to really improve the relationship because they’ll twist the situation around however they can.
If your husband is a narcissist, you probably have a hard time talking to him because he can turn your words against you to imply that you’ve done something wrong, or so that he is somehow the victim. With a narcissist, it’s hard to know which way is up.

…You’re not crazy!

But you’ll probably need some help. After all, he probably knows EXACTLY which buttons to push already! (And trust me, he’ll keep pushing them, ESPECIALLY as he senses that his control over you is lessening.)

Having an attorney on your side can be helpful. It can help you stay sane, because an attorney can tell you that his threats are, in all likelihood, idle ones. Narcissists are the quickest to threaten terrible things (like that you’ll lose your kids, you won’t get support, or you won’t be entitled to a portion of his retirement) or speak to your deepest seated fears in order to knock you off balance. This can serve all sorts of purposes: to make you agree to something that isn’t in your best interests in order to avoid something later on down that line that you perceive to be a bigger threat, to re-establish his control over you, or to make you even more fearful than you already are.

Know your rights!

The best thing you can do if you have a narcissistic husband is to get the divorce related information you need to make the best decisions possible. He won’t be able to scare or intimidate you if you know how the law works and what it will award you.

Don’t know where to get started? Well, that’s not true – obviously you do, because you’re here! You’re in the right place, you’re asking the right questions, and you’re putting yourself on a path that will help you find the strength you need to do what needs to be done from this point forward.

A good first step? Well, besides reading this article! Request a copy of our free divorce book! It’s got tons of practical tips and tricks, and explains how divorce works in Virginia. It’s a great place to get started.

Have minor children? Request a copy of our free custody book, too! Don’t let him scare you as he details all the ways he’ll take you to the cleaners – get the information and empower yourself. The facts, I can almost guarantee you, are NOT as scary as the picture he’s presenting. And, I can also almost guarantee, he isn’t speaking from a very knowledgeable place; he’s TRYING to intimidate you.

Need more information? Probably so! After all, the more you know, the more questions you probably have, right? I know that’s how it is for me when I’m learning about something new. And even with divorce law, I learn new stuff all the time. It’s just such a broad area of law, and, besides that, it changes! Every year on July 1, new legislative changes are updated – so even if you think you’ve got a handle on divorce or custody law as it currently is, chances are good it’s about to change.

Attend our divorce or custody seminars (or both) for more information. It’s all up to date, Virginia specific, and taught by one of our super experience and awesomely wonderful (sorry, I’m biased) divorce and custody attorneys live and in person, so you can ask your questions! Yeah, for real! It’s pretty great, and a good way to get more information on the topics you just need to understand.

Dealing with a narcissistic husband

It isn’t easy. But arming yourself with knowledge will help a lot. Also, just knowing that he is who he is will help, because that provides you (and your attorney) with a framework to work within. Strategically, it’s super helpful to know how he acts and how he thinks, and it can help us come up with a case plan that will allow you to use these traits to your advantage. He’s consumed with winning? Sure, we can work to make sure he feels that way – all while getting you the things you need for your happily ever after.

We can use his mental illness to our advantage – rather than allowing him to continue to use it against you! Talking to your attorney openly and honestly about your concerns and goals is the first step towards setting yourself up for success in your divorce and custody case, especially if your husband is a narcissist. You’re not alone; we see women all the time with narcissistic husbands. Is it harder? Sure. But it’s not impossible, and if you’re armed with the tools and information you need to make good decisions, you’ll come out better, stronger, and more empowered on the other side.

For more information, or to go ahead and schedule a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys, give our office a call at 757-425-5200. We look forward to talking to you soon!