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What you need to know about divorcing a narcissist

Self-absorbed, uncaring, controlling and manipulative...These are some of the most common traits of a narcissistic personality.

If you are preparing to divorce such an individual, it's essential to have a sound strategy in place. Your divorce is likely to be more challenging than a run-of-the-mill dissolution.

To start with, you need to know what you're up against. According to an article in Psychology Today, narcissistic individuals are typically:

1. Focusing on "winning" the divorce. They want to prove they're right, and they want to come out on top. This makes it difficult to negotiate with them. Be prepared for prolonged litigation.

2. Apt to play games with the system. It's not uncommon for narcissists to file numerous motions with the court, make all kinds of false allegations and throw other obstructions in your way. It's an attempt to tire you out and waste your money on litigation.

3. Numb to other people's emotions. Completely focused on themselves, narcissists don't take other people's feelings into account. Sadly, this is even true when it comes to their own children. The kids may simply be used as pawns in the game.

4. Likely to accuse you of being the problem. Harming your reputation or painting you as a terrible parent is all part of the strategy. Narcissists will often tell the world all about your alleged wrongs, while presenting themselves as the helpless victims.

What You Can Do To Succeed

So how can you successfully combat your spouse's tactics? How can you avoid succumbing to his or her controlling personality? Here are four tips:

1. Consider hiring a therapist. A professional counselor can provide the emotional support that you're likely to need during the divorce process. He or she can also help you stay on track and not give in to your spouse's unreasonable demands.

2. Choose your lawyer carefully. You want an attorney who is skilled in dealing with challenging personalities and isn't afraid to defend your rights in court.

3. Document everything. The best way to combat your spouse's lies is to have the real facts on file. Get copies of all your financial expenditures and other important evidence.

4. Don't fall for the provocation. Making you angry is a "win" for a narcissist. Don't allow him or her to control your emotions and force you into impulsive decisions. Whenever possible, edit out the emotion by using written forms of communication instead of face-to-face interaction.

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