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Divorcing a narcissist - any experience, advice?

(59 Posts)
Wellwobbly Thu 26-Sep-13 09:34:11

I am in the process of filing against a [diagnosed] narcissist, and it just gets worse and worse.

I am now The Enemy. It is as though nothing that has been before, existed. Creepy, and inhuman.

does anyone have any experience, advice? Did it go to court, or were you able to get an agreement at mediation stage?

Do courts recognise the unreasonableness of the narcissist, and are you protected?

How do you keep lawyer's costs down and stop escalation?

How do you protect the (teenage) children?

Any advice/hand-holding gratefully received.

Wellwobbly Thu 26-Sep-13 09:35:03

Do you have any books, specifically on divorcing a narcissist, to recommend?

MissDD1971 Thu 26-Sep-13 09:38:21

I don't know personally of books but Amazon - sorry can't be more specific is good.

I thought I was dating a narcissist - I'm still not sure as I have bad hormonal swings so maybe it made it worse.

I know another board (makeupalley) where some posters there are surprisingly good with this sort of stuff - especially being with a narcissist.

17leftfeet Thu 26-Sep-13 09:44:26

Mediation with a narcissist is a pointless and quite frankly soul destroying exercise

fridayfreedom Thu 26-Sep-13 09:46:13

My friend had this situation in the states. It took four attempts to get to court as he kept blocking progress over minute details. The judge recognised that he would never sign the financial agreement so signed for him!
Unfortunately due to shite divorce laws in their state she has since lost all her alimony as he lost his job but hid enormous amounts of money etc etc her attorney was also rubbish .
So, it may be wise to go to court as these type of people just twist and turn and I doubt you will get a satisfactory outcome without legal help.

MissDD1971 Thu 26-Sep-13 09:47:30

OP - that's why I suggested the US board makeupalley - they seem more in tune with narcissism than we are over here. from what fridayfreedom said.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-Sep-13 10:04:04

Courts are very dispassionate places. Emotional tricks don't really influence court decisions. Keeping costs down, I would suggest, is going to be a trade-off between what you can live with and what you're strictly entitled to i.e. a personal judgement. Within reason, you may decide it's better to walk away with a little less and allow him to 'win' for the sake of peace of mind. Cut your losses.

I wouldn't protect teenage children especially. If someone wants to make a spectacle of themselves by behaving appallingly, I think DCs will reach their own conclusions. Be yourself, be supportive, be honest but but if they want to know why Dad is acting the way he is your response has to be 'ask him'.

Lweji Thu 26-Sep-13 10:04:12

Are you talking just divorce or asset division?

I'd think that if you make unreasonable demands and then back off enough, he'll have enough ego trip to be satisfied.

Do not be reasonable and stand your ground. Be prepared to go to court. Be prepared for character assassination in public. He may not want to be portrayed as such a horrible person and back off enough.

Hand holding too.

I'm trying to prepare myself for asset division too. I know it will be hard. sad

misreadings Thu 26-Sep-13 10:28:36

Isn't makeupalley a website where people post reviews of beauty products?!

Wellwobbly - I am divorcing an, um, well - not a diagnosed narcissist, but certainly somebody who has a personality disorder - I think he's a mixture of borderline and NPD, but as you probably know it's not an exact science and these diagnoses are not particularly 'complete'.

What I do know is that this process has been extraordinarily difficult, our legal bills are mounting up and look set to be way beyond the norm, he is absolutely impossible to deal with and the whole thing has been horrendous thus far. We had a few mediation sessions which were next to pointless - he was belligerent, rude, we spent the entire time discussing one or two very small points with him in a state of high antagonism throughout, and the mediators sat there slack jawed in shock at his behaviour. It's his way or no way with every single detail and if he doesn't get his way my particular STBXH chooses to stop seeing our children (whilst blaming me in the process).

I would brace yourself, in other words! The best thing I have done is to try to cut myself off from him as much as possible - we kept having periods of some amicability, which were always followed by a barrage of abuse when I still didn't just roll over and do what he wanted. I have realised (with some sadness, I would have loved to be amicable co-parents) that this cannot be the case. Perhaps when the divorce itself is over we can find a new equilibrium, but whilst we're engaged in "battle" (how he sees it, he enjoys the game of it and I can imagine has read up on all sorts of case law <eye roll>) it's going to be a long tough game.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 10:34:35

I doubt you will get support in the courts. Your best bet would be to (if financially possible) get a solicitor/lawyer who is knowledgeable about either NPD or, if this is not possible, someone who understands the nuances of domestic abuse, specifically emotional abuse, as there is a lot of overlap.

For the children I would recommend (you) reading the book "When Dad Hurts Mom" by Lundy Bancroft. Again, it is not specifically about narcissists but about abuse in general, but there is enough overlap that it will probably be relevant. After you have read it then you may feel it is appropriate to let them read it themselves, but I would definitely read it first.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 10:35:38

Not support, sorry, I meant protection specifically.

Although if he has been violent towards you, you may be allowed to give evidence from behind a screen or on a video link - it would be something to speak to your solicitor about.

misreadings Thu 26-Sep-13 10:47:14

One thing I can recommend is having a face to face meeting with the lawyers like we did a couple of weeks ago, my H's behaviour was so appalling that my lawyer got to see first hand what I have had to deal with and promptly lowered his rate by 20% wink

Wellwobbly Thu 26-Sep-13 11:13:01

'Courts are very dispassionate places. Emotional tricks don't really influence court decisions.'

I am seriously banking on this.

It is my feel that it would be in my interests to get to court as quickly as possible and for them to rule.

Rules don't apply to him. Rules are for little people. At the moment the marriage contract he signed isn't convenient to his world view. Therefore, it doesn't count.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 26-Sep-13 11:37:23

Have contact through lawyers only.

Let the courts take the decisions; any decision he tries to block, goes to the judge.

The above were a boon to me. As Cogito says, courts are dispassionate places where the rules are applied, full stop. This keeps your emotions from running amok, and it also prevents him from using his usual manipulative tactics. It's wonderful! No judge is going to tell your stbxh that he is an unreasonable narcissist, btw, but they will go ahead and take decisions according to what the law states, and they will not be swayed by narcissistic antics. Choose a good lawyer, and then just let him/her be your legal shield.

MissDD1971 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:45:57

misreadings - they have a Cafe and even a Family board.

they're not just about makeup just as mumsnet isn't all about mums/kids etc.


NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 26-Sep-13 11:46:55

"It is my feel that it would be in my interests to get to court as quickly as possible and for them to rule"

I will shortly be starting divorce proceedings against my (undiagnosed) narcissist and take exactly the same view as you stated above. Forget mediation and solicitors, just get to court ASAP and let the judge rule. Unfortunately, I was forced to attend one session of mediation with my narcissist in order to meet legal aid requirements and I think you can probably imagine the type of stunts he pulled there.

Anyway, straight to court is best I think. I'm expecting my divorce to cost in the region of £30k by the time my narcissist has finished game-playing. I consider that a small price to pay to have a narcissist free life.

Incidently, how long has yours been diagnosed for? Most narcissists never get a diagnosis. Not that I think that will make any difference in court.

Lweji Thu 26-Sep-13 12:20:55

Also, be calm and collected (I think you can be). If he starts on a rant, just state your facts plainly and calmly.
I have done in the couple of court attendances with exH and it has served me well so far. He looked like the liar and manipulator that he is.

Letsadmitit Thu 26-Sep-13 12:29:50

Ok for a court "to rule" will be a few years depending on how busy your local court is, you will just see the judge in a couple of hearings so he or she could express their opinion and let you make a decision between yourselves. No documents will be reviewed by the judge in detail until the third and final hearing.

I agree however that is highly likely the £30,000 figure is correct.

But that is not for a narcissist free life, that is just to keep your fair part of the assets or ensure the children are protected. You can be free of your narcissist in the time it takes to apply for a decree absolute (months and cheaper than getting a new TV). We are fortunate to live in a country where nobody is forced to stay married against their wishes.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 26-Sep-13 12:31:34

I would strongly advise you not to bother with mediation. It won't work because the mediation sessions will be all about him.

I divorced narcissist ex-H 8 years ago & he was a complete b@rstard about it all. He couldn't believe I had the audacity to divorce him (even though he was the one who had the affair) and was determined to punish me as much as possible.

I would go straight to lawyers & court. Do not engage directly with him at all. Do everything via lawyers.

Allow him access to the children, if they want to see him. Explain to them that their father is very angry at the moment, that it is always tough when parents divorce but that you still love them very much. Do not speak for him, do not try to apply polyfilla to cover the cracks of his personality or condone his bad behaviour - just accept that he is an adult and is responsible for himself.

Letsadmitit Thu 26-Sep-13 12:38:31

My advice would be do not engage, never instruct your solicitor while you are angry or in shock, and choose your battles. Sometimes you will be right but fighting for that to be recognised can have a financial and emotional cost much higher than what you are fighting for.

And most importantly, learn one fact quickly, solicitor letters have no legal weight at all, they are just fanciful letters you pay a stranger to write in your behalf in the hope the other party will agree to give you what you want. He can ignore them if he disagrees with them and so do you.

Wellwobbly Thu 26-Sep-13 17:51:37

Bugsy, have you tried mediation?

I had a disastrous conversation with him - my last. Solicitors only from now on.

The twiss and distortions are just shock. I really understood that there is just no reasoning with this person.

We have already had three petitions because he just twists and turns, and the legal bill is £3,500 already - and we haven't even started. Please hold my hand and explain to me how to stay calm and steadfast.

I would like to fill in my form A, go to form E, forensic accountant and then Court order.

How feasible is this?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 26-Sep-13 18:25:44

"I would like to fill in my form A, go to form E, forensic accountant and then Court order.

I'm hoping it's feasible because it sounds like an excellent idea for divorcing a narcissist and I'm gonna copy you grin"

The advantage I have is that i'm not in any hurry to divorce because I am living in the family home, work and earn enough to support myself, have the kids most of the time and my ex narcissist pays child support. I'm happy to continue like this till my youngest child turns 18 in 3 years time.

What are your circumstances if you don't mind my asking?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 26-Sep-13 18:26:41

And do you know much about forensic accountants? How much they charge for example. and how to find a good one

misreadings Thu 26-Sep-13 18:33:12

Wobbly - I think it sounds like a great plan. I wish I'd followed it myself. I've spent in excess of £6k and we also haven't even started yet. Mediation was a total waste of time, as was the hint at collaborative law we tried recently. The trouble is my ex kept insisting we do these things, suggesting that if I didn't it demonstrated how unreasonable and court-driven I was hmm I am now ploughing straight through the court process and want done with it as quickly as possible.

We've also had two petitions and we've had months of delay because he refused to dismiss his petition (filed later than mine), despite having returned mine uncontested months previously. It got to the point where my lawyer had to point out that it was simply legally impossible for his to proceed before he'd concede to dismissing his own petition so mine could proceed. Meanwhile wasting another thousand pounds pointlessly.

God it's all so tedious.

Wellwobbly Thu 26-Sep-13 20:16:53

Notsuch about £900 for a forensic accountant?

He had a doozy of a midlife crisis, which really kicked off in 2006 (but had been well under way before).

He took a job in another country and you how how it is. he told me to stay behind with the kids. New job, new identity, new country, new house - new woman!! Peachy!

When he left we had no mortgage and savings. Now we have a huge mortgage and debts, - and he has just walked out of his job.

he thinks he is being completely normal. I think he has gone nuts.

When I look back on our marriage, what could I have done? He wanted unconditional love, whilst not giving anything back. Any attempt by me to raise issues constituted a vicious personal attack. My fault was to be very passive, to whine but go along with him.
I eventually became so distressed at the one way street I withdrew.
He decided I didn't care about him any more, and that justified his looking for an OW.
Sadly afterwards he wasn't able to learn a new way of being. Reciprocity is not something he can do. OW was admiring and back to one way, so he got back in touch with her. I am so sad about all of this. But if I look at him he became a shite companion. No friends, no companionship, self absorbed, all he ever did was work, then sit on the sofa and watch cricket/be absorbed in his ipad.

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