Narcissism is a recognized condition that goes beyond the perception that an individual is self-involved. Though many narcissists go undiagnosed, this condition is serious and can inspire serious challenges when the spouse of a narcissist seeks a divorce. It is particularly important that individuals seek legal expertise when it comes to protecting assets from their narcissistic spouse. Without proper support, the non-narcissistic spouse could become quite victimized during the divorce process.
The American Psychiatric Association defines narcissism by several behavioral characteristics. These include a sense of self-importance that is grandiose, a need for excessive admiration, a sense of specialness and entitlement, a lack of empathy and a preoccupation with fantasies of power, success or other ideal traits, among others.
Because narcissists crave admiration and praise, they can be truly charming. However, they also may exhibit an obsessive need to win or to control, which can make divorce proceedings particularly difficult. Rather than seeking a cooperative settlement that benefits both parties, a genuine narcissist will generally seek marital assets as a matter of entitlement. Many also believe that they are not required to ‘play by the rules.’
As a result, it is vitally important to obtain experienced counsel when attempting to divorce a narcissist. Primarily because these individuals often refuse to provide necessary documentation, may hide assets, may defy the court and may use any affected children as pieces in their endgame. Your best hope in protecting your property and your children from the natural impulses of a true narcissist is to consult an expert who will support you through the process.
Source: Forbes, “Financial Strategies for Divorcing A Narcissist,” Jeff Landers, Dec. 11, 2012