Freeing Yourself from Narcissistic Shackles

Stacy D. Phillips ●

Ego. This is what you will be dealing with if you are divorcing a narcissist. Indeed, their ego is likely the main reason you choose to leave them in the first place. The word “narcissist” is something we hear often. This type of personality is generally defined as one with an idealized, grandiose image of themselves. They are, in essence, in love with themselves, if not obsessed with this inflated self-image, as it allows them to avoid hidden yet significant feelings of insecurity. It also allows them to avoid accountability. Such delusions of grandeur require a great deal of work, and this is where the dysfunctional (and potentially destructive) attitudes and behaviors come into play. 

This is not a subject I bring up idly. I have recently been dealing with an opposing party who is a narcissist and, dare I say, a sociopath. I have dealt with narcissists many times during my career, but this one really got me thinking. My client is a psychologist, and when I observed her soon-to-be ex manipulating, triangulating, and gaslighting to the extreme in mediations, hearings, and in repeated e-mails, she explained to me that that was the standard behavior of a typical narcissistic personality. What I saw was a person who was overtly grandiose and outwardly arrogant, while at the same time expressing a need for both admiration and sympathy, as well as commanding an overall obsession with themselves with no regard for others. It was then I discovered there was a science behind the madness. What I had dealt with before in my career, I understand now more completely.

By divorcing the narcissist, you are delivering a massive blow to their sense of entitlement and self-worth and, again I say, to their ego. That ego needs to be fed, and the narcissist will do so by attempting to exert control over you. The narcissist simply cannot be wrong, as being wrong is of no interest to a person who has an insatiable need for praise and admiration. Divorcing such a person is an egregious insult to them. This can bring out the worst from the worst. 

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