If you’re married to a narcissist, I don’t need to tell you that your divorce is going to be more difficult than the average divorce. I probably also don’t need to tell you that, chances are, you’ll need an attorney to help you navigate this particular minefield.
It’s unfortunate that you’ve found yourself in such a difficult position, but you’re going to need help. A narcissistic husband is so able to twist the facts to support his cause that you may find yourself feeling confused and overwhelmed. It’s not your fault; it’s his game. That’s exactly what he’s trying to do, but it can be difficult (especially when you’re emotionally invested) to be on the other side, especially if you aren’t 100% crystal clear on exactly what your rights in Virginia are. He will twist your words and make you question yourself to the point that you’re no longer certain what you have a right to receive. That’s the nature of a narcissist, and, if you’ll excuse me for saying so, often the way abused spouses tend to start to feel.
I’m not trying to set up a whole victim/abuser dichotomy here, but I am trying to illustrate for you (if you weren’t already aware) of some of the difficulties the wives of narcissistic husbands face. It’s not so much difficulty associated with the actual mechanical workings of the divorce; it’s the personal difficulties that take center stage. While you have to deal with all of that, it can be difficult to focus on the actual issues (the house, the retirement, custody, whatever) effectively. You’ll want an attorney to help you do that.
After years of being involved in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be hard to tell which way is up.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of top tips for dealing with a narcissistic husband in Virginia divorce.
1. Don’t negotiate with him on your own. (That means no mediation!)
We always tell women not to negotiate if there’s an uneven balance of power. Like, if he can often force you to do things against your better judgment, you’re probably not in a great position to negotiate.
If he suggests mediation, remember that mediation is also negotiation. A mediator is not on anyone’s side, and won’t advocate for you. If you think it’s safe, think again! He’s trying to force you into an agreement that isn’t good for you. He wants you to think he’s being reasonable, and maybe he thinks he is too, but once he gets into the room with the mediator, it’ll be exactly what you’re used to seeing—him looking out for #1, and you caught in the crossfire. Besides that, there are plenty of pro-dad and father’s rights friendly mediators and, chances are, he has found one. You have to be super careful.
2. Get the facts, and understand your rights.
This is a biggie. Even if you don’t negotiate, it can be helpful to know what you’re entitled to receive. That way, you won’t get thrown or think he’s offering you something helpful when he’s trying to trap you in some kind of agreement that isn’t beneficial to you.Don’t know where to start?
Request a copy of our free divorce book, or attend one of our monthly divorce seminars. Our books were written by our attorneys, and the seminars are taught by our attorneys, so you know you’ll get up to date, Virginia specific divorce information.
3. Don’t sign ANYTHING.
Don’t let him force you into signing something. Even if he tells you its temporary, you should always make sure to have any legal documents reviewed by an attorney BEFORE you sign. Don’t to be too dramatic, but, once you sign, it’s pretty much too late to change anything. He’s taking advantage of your vulnerability, and you’ll pay dearly later on down the line if you don’t make absolutely certain that this agreement is fair and says what you think it says.
4. Don’t listen to him.
He’s going to tell you things. He’s going to sound authoritative. He’s going to make you upset. It’s what husbands do in divorce. When you’re dealing with a narcissistic husband, it’s about a gazillion times worse. He’s not your friend. He’s not on your team. He’s telling you things to upset you. He doesn’t know the truth, and he doesn’t care. Because it’s not about the truth, anyway, it’s about intimidating and upsetting you, and making you feel like you’re going to wind up in your worst case scenario.5. Hire an attorney.
I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. There’s no law in Virginia that requires that you hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce case, even if your case is contested, but all bets are off when it comes to dealing with a narcisstic husband. I know it’s expensive, and it’s probably difficult to come up with the money to even consult with an attorney right now, but having an attorney on your side can pay you back in spades later on down the line (especially if you’re so bruised and battered right now that you’ve ever, even for a moment, considered just signing whatever he wants so that you can get the heck out of the marriage).
Remember that a divorce is the single biggest financial transaction in most adults lives—and, if you’ve got kids together, though it may not be a financial consideration, this is probably THE most important transaction of your life. The time is now to get what you need to get to be able to move on and start fresh after your divorce is finalized. This is a vulnerable time for you, and a time where I’ve seen plenty of women sign away things that they had a right to receive.
Don’t put yourself in the poorhouse, or risk losing custody, because you’re too scared to hire an attorney. You’ll need someone on your side, in your corner, during your divorce, even more so than most women. You’ll be okay. You’ve just got to be smart about this. You need someone on your side who is experienced in handling narcissistic husbands. It doesn’t happen every day, and it does tend to make the divorce process a little extra difficult. It’s a lot to handle on your own. So, read our book, attend our seminar, and give our office a call so we can help you plan your next steps. You can reach us at 757-425-5200.