When you’re thinking about divorcing a narcissistic husband, you can’t even begin to fathom how to go about doing it. Victims of narcissistic abuse are extremely anxious. The fear they experience when they think of their narcissistic spouse is real.
Yes, of course, relationships require a lot of hard work. They need to be tended to and treated like living things. You can’t just expect your marriage to work while you stand on the sidelines and watch it crumble.
However, this analogy can’t be used here. You’re married to a narcissist.
Your mental health has been declining for such a long time that you’re not even sure there’s a way out of the situation. You just know that if you don’t get away from him as soon as you can, something extremely terrible may happen.
The scariest thing about narcissists is that you never know what’s waiting for you around the corner.
You’re probably regretting ever having said yes to this man. But there’s no need for you to think about that right now. Your main focus is just on how to get out of the marriage.
I know that I make people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) sound like monsters. They’re not. They’re not responsible for the trauma that caused them to behave the way they do.
However, it’s also not your responsibility to stay around and deal with all of that. You’re the victim here and we need to get you out of that marriage as fast as possible and with the least amount of casualties.
Advice on divorcing a narcissistic husband
Any type of divorce leaves heartbreak in its wake. It shatters you from the inside out and leaves you in pieces.
You thought you’d stay with this person for the rest of your life. You never thought it would ever come to this because you fell in love with a version of him that made you feel like you’re on top of the world.
But narcissism shows itself in levels. You may have seen the red flags earlier on, but he blinded you with his charm. That’s how it usually goes.
His narcissistic tendencies were very subtle. Until the day they weren’t anymore.
Now that you see the things he’s capable of, you feel like you were manipulated into this marriage. Which you were.
So, now we need to find you a way out of this. Let’s get started so that you and your children (if you have any) don’t have to deal with his sense of entitlement anymore.
1. Be prepared for a very long divorce process
Before we even start talking about how to get this done and the legal side of things, you need to be prepared.
You need to understand that not everything will go as smoothly as you want it to. It’ll be a complete mess and nothing will go as planned.
Well, that maybe did sound a little overly dramatic. But you’re in for a long divorce process nonetheless. And you’ll understand what I mean by that once you put everything into motion.
At first, you won’t be able to get him on board with this entire thing. He needs a source for his narcissistic supply and you’re exactly that. Narcissists are awful with things that show just how insignificant they are.
When you’re divorcing a narcissistic husband, he’ll feel like he’s losing in a game that only he’s playing. He wants you to depend on him completely. The moment you show a sign of independence, he sees that as an attack on his ego.
And even when he does agree to it, you go through the court process and everything, you’ll still have to heal from the things he’s done to you. You’ll feel the impact he’s had on you and have to stitch yourself up all by yourself.
Just be mentally prepared for it first.
2. Make sure your finances are taken care of
Before you file for divorce, make sure to take care of your finances.
Divorce from a narcissistic husband needs to be handled with extreme caution. He wants to exert dominance over you, so he’ll try to control every single one of your moves.
Because of that, he’ll go as far as to make sure you don’t have any income or savings. If you’re lucky enough to have met a narcissist who doesn’t feel the need to do this, then you should be fine in this regard.
But divorce isn’t cheap. Besides that, after you cut cords with your husband, you’ll have to start a life on your own.
What you need to do is make a separate account for your savings, taking all the necessary precautions to assure he won’t find out about it.
Moreover, gather all your insurance records, paperwork for the past few years of tax returns, documents about real estate, and vehicle documents. These records will ensure you don’t lose more money than you already need to pay for the divorce and he won’t be able to manipulate you or the court.
3. Document every encounter you have with your spouse
If you’re serious about divorcing your narcissistic husband, you need to make sure that you document everything that’s going on. This may sound extreme, but you never know what this man is capable of.
He’ll hide his true colors, make you question your decisions and memory, and play every lawyer in town into his little trap.
You don’t want that. So instead of having to rack your brain for the truth after he’s been gaslighting you for years, just keep tabs on everything that’s going on. If possible, have all of your conversations in written form. This way you can save the screenshots, as well as have a good alibi.
Don’t just think that you’ll remember it all. You may have that confidence right now, but once he starts to manipulate you again, you’ll start to second-guess yourself.
4. Create a list of witnesses for your lawyer
Has anyone ever seen the way he treats you? Has anyone ever witnessed how he abused you?
In this high-conflict divorce, you’ll need to have people you trust by your side. They’ll play a crucial role in your divorce so that you don’t fall into any trap he sets.
So start preparing a list of names. Write it down somewhere where your partner won’t see it.
Next to each name, write down everything that person knows. What did they see? When? How can that benefit your case?
The sooner you realize that every tiny bit of information can lead the case in your favor, the better. Don’t let any small detail slide. If it happened, then it’s important.
If you’re scared that you may remember things wrong, then you can go over the list of situations with those witnesses.
I know how tiring and confusing this may be. When your spouse has been gaslighting you for ages, you’ll start to feel like you’re going insane. So you don’t even know if your eyes and ears are deceiving you.
When you do make this list, it’ll help your lawyer immensely. You’ll be able to keep a clear head and already have a starting point.
And while you’re writing down all those awful things other people saw happen in your marriage, it’ll make you all the more motivated to leave him.
5. Hire a VERY good lawyer
I know that lawyers are extremely expensive. The better a lawyer, the more you’ll have to pay him to take your case.
However, this is the best investment you can make in your life. This is an investment in your future and you can’t put a price tag on that. So don’t hold back now.
Don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to your attorney and try to get a bargain. You’ll only end up with a subpar lawyer who’ll bring more stress into your life. And Lord knows you already have enough of that.
Choose someone who has experience in this specific field. Choose someone who’ll be able to outwit and win this case in court for you.
Don’t settle for an attorney who’ll fall for your narcissistic husband’s tactics. Your self-esteem doesn’t need another blow, especially not in a time like this.
You need someone who’ll be supportive, understand where you’re coming from, and make you feel safe. If you don’t find someone confident in the things they’re doing, you’ll start to question your decision once more.
Your husband completely lacks empathy. He’ll use whatever method necessary to not lose to you. So, it doesn’t matter if you have an amazing lawyer on speed dial or if you have to consult a law firm, just do it. Invest in the future of your children as well as your own.
6. Don’t listen to his pleas to not get lawyers involved
He’ll try this. When you’re divorcing a narcissistic husband, he’ll try to convince you to not get lawyers involved. He’ll tell you that you can do this peacefully, and then he’ll get the most out of this situation.
You’re a victim of narcissistic abuse. You’re one of the pawns he uses to get the things he needs in his life. It’s what he does – he takes advantage of others.
His sense of self-importance makes him believe that he can take you on in court, but he can’t use his manipulation tactics against an educated attorney with experience.
And with this, I don’t just mean that you should go and get legal advice from your family law attorney. Go and get your own lawyer. Someone your husband doesn’t have any power over.
Your narcissistic ex has a complete lack of empathy. He doesn’t want you to be mentally stable through this, he benefits from you being unstable.
Your divorce attorney will be your haven (together with other people within your support system). Those are the ones who’ll keep you safe and sane.
7. Understand that it’s not your fault your marriage has ended
When you’re divorcing a narcissistic husband, he’ll try to blame it all on you. He’ll tell you that you’re the issue, that you’re the reason everything’s falling apart.
At one point, he’ll try to tell you that if you were a good enough wife and mother, you wouldn’t be doing this to them. He’ll even tell you that you’re the problem and that you’re giving up on your marriage.
That’s classic narcissistic behavior. Even if you were the problem (which you’re not), someone who’s not suffering from NPD wouldn’t put all the blame on you. They’d recognize they’re partially at fault too.
However, he’ll make the emotional abuse you went through seem like it was all your doing. Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim. He’s trying to get to you. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse knows that he’ll get you to question yourself.
His narcissistic traits prevent him from seeing where he went wrong in the marriage. He can’t pick up your emotional distress without feeling some type of accomplishment.
So, don’t let him get to you. Set boundaries that’ll help you keep a clear head and stay focussed on your end goal. You’re not obligated to listen to a thing he says anymore.
Get that child custody, get the child support, get your freedom, and run away!
8. Get a good therapist
It doesn’t matter how good your attorney-client relationship is, you need a good therapist right now. Divorce cases take a toll on both partners. Between the court orders, parental alienation, alimony, and so many other things, you need a professional to work with you through this.
When you have a therapist who works with you weekly, you’ll be able to deal with things much easier. They know what you need at that moment in time and that’ll help you get through this rough patch.
You’re an abuse victim. Your divorce lawyer may understand your situation, but they can never give you the support and help a therapist can.
Go to therapy.
When everything’s done and dusted, you’ll be able to start healing from the divorce as well as your entire marriage. I’d love to tell you that you’ll be able to handle it by yourself, but you’re not in the mental state to do that right now.
Permit yourself to finally seek the help you desperately need. Remember, he deprived you of this one too many times.
9. Take care of yourself
This is a very stressful time for you. You feel like you’re entire world is falling apart.
That’s because he made you believe that he was the source of all of your happiness and the only person who knows what’s good for you. He was so controlling that you didn’t have any autonomy in your marriage.
Your ex-husband always took matters into his own hands, so it’s not surprising that you feel lost right now. You don’t even know what your future holds.
You must do whatever it takes to take care of yourself. Regain control over your life and the things you want to get out of this divorce.
Don’t just stand to the side and wait for everything to settle itself. It won’t happen. You’re under so much stress and you’ve been through so much trauma because of him that your brain doesn’t know which way to go anymore.
So do whatever it is that makes you feel good about yourself. Journal, take a bubble bath, go on a short vacation, find a new hobby that’ll keep you occupied.
Most importantly, don’t engage with people who’ll only make you feel even worse about this whole situation. You’ve already got your mind telling you those awful things, you don’t need outside sources to keep you under constant fear as well.
Would joint custody with a narcissist even work?
If you have children, divorcing a narcissistic husband may be a little trickier. But it’s still not worth staying in a broken marriage, trust me.
You’re tied to him because you need to co-parent your kids with that narcissist. I know that you want to protect your kids from this psycho, but you can’t just take them away from their dad.
That would be parent alienation and you could face issues in court because of it. So you need to understand that things may not work in your favor unless you play your cards right.
Depending on what type of narcissist you were with, co-parenting could be possible. There should be a rather extensive conversation and/or legal interference.
Regardless, you need some guidance on the things you should do in this situation.
1. Make a parenting plan
Every single time you make a mistake and you don’t create a very detailed plan, your ex will exploit it. He’ll turn over every rock until he finds a way to take your kids away or to use them to his advantage.
Have every detail ready because you can’t leave anything to your ex-husband. You can even make this plan with your attorney. Make sure that there’s no space for your ex to get his hands involved.
Your parenting plan needs to benefit your kids as well as you.
2. Expect many challenges
When you’re divorcing your narcissistic husband, you need to understand that the divorce itself isn’t the biggest challenge. What comes afterward is just as awful.
He’s going to make things more difficult for you by the day. Whenever you try to create peace in your life, he’ll be right there to turn everything upside down.
It’ll be a very challenging time, but you can always involve the police if he starts creating more issues for you. He’s not going to be happy that you left him, so he’ll likely start to act out and become extremely petty and childish.
Don’t expect a peaceful life straight after the divorce.
3. Keep communication at a minimum
There’s no need for you to communicate with him daily.
How often are the kids seeing him? Does he come to pick them up? Is there something that happened that he needs to tell you about that’s directly related to your kids?
Well, then, go ahead. Talk about these things – but don’t fall victim to his shifty mind games.
He’ll want to talk to you very often. He’ll even try to meet up with you and come into your house. You know that man has serious issues. Don’t let yourself get caught in his little web.
Set a very clear boundary that’ll help you get away from him. There’s no need for you to talk to him when it’s not about your children. You don’t need to be polite towards him.
4. But document everything
It doesn’t matter what he says or how he says it. It doesn’t matter if he shows up at your door, calls you, or sends you text messages.
You need to document everything.
This is a master manipulator you’re dealing with. He’s got away with so many things in the past and he knows what he’s doing.
So always keep screenshots and receipts of the things he says and does. Never assume that someone is going to believe you without any evidence.
Have everything on hand in case things go out of control and you need to protect yourself and your kids.
5. Be the best parent you can be
When divorcing your narcissistic husband, your children become very susceptive to the stress. They don’t understand what’s going on or why you’re trying so hard to get away from him.
Your children just know that their mom and dad are fighting. They may even think it’s their fault that it’s happening.
As you know, your ex is completely incapable of love and understanding. And if he manipulates your kids to believe otherwise, remember that he’s doing that to spite you.
The only thing you can do in this situation is be the best parent you can be. You don’t need to be exceptional and, understandably, you’ll make mistakes. You’re a victim in this story as well.
Your children need their mother and you need yourself. Be there for them, show them that you still love them, and always be open to communication.
Your kids will thank you for it one day.
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