Yes, it’s true: you should be glad you married a narcissist. But let me explain what I mean before you start sending me nasty comments.
You see, as a former divorce attorney and now as a divorce coach, I have dealt with many narcissists in the divorce process and in the courts. I’ll be the first to agree with you that it’s not pretty. I’m on your side.
Divorcing a narcissist can take years. If attorneys are involved, you better hope your spouse’s attorney is not a narcissist. There are plenty of them, trust me. While attorneys should be part of the solutions, the wrong attorney for your divorce can be part of the problem. Choose wisely.
Negotiating with a Narcissist is Not Easy
If you try to mediate your divorce, you may be wasting time and money unless the mediator is aware and trained to handle narcissists. I always say that it takes two to make mediation work. If your narcissistic spouse is not participating in good faith, it won’t work.
Interestingly, there are many people who didn’t even know what a narcissist was before doing research and looking for answers for why their relationships weren’t working the way they hoped it would and why they feel lost and worthless in their marriage. Then, they had that “ah-ha” moment and knew they weren’t crazy after all. They’re not.
A Narcissist by Any Other Name…
Now, the term “narcissist” is overused by many people to label their intimate partner, classify him/her, and put them in a box. Sometimes, the person they are describing actually is a diagnosable narcissist. Many times, they’re not. I guess it makes us feel better to be able to articulate to others the type of person we’re dealing with.
But, it doesn’t matter what you call him/her.
Both as an attorney and as a coach, I deal with a person’s behavior and conduct. That’s the focus and that’s what you have to deal with in your divorce. Call them a narcissist or whatever you want.
So You Married a Narcissist. What Now?
While the actual process of divorcing a narcissist is not pleasant, it can set you up for future success in your intimate relationships. When you understand what went wrong in your marriage and can identify the specific things your spouse did to manipulate you and make you feel like everything was your fault, you can use that information to make sure it never happens again.
Knowledge Truly Is Power
It may take some time, but if you put in the work and heal yourself after a toxic relationship, you are better armed to see red flags and stay away from similar toxic conduct in future relationships. And, don’t you want to have healthy relationships? If not, you could have stayed in a dysfunctional marriage and not chosen to get divorced. Good for you for wanting better!
If you don’t take the time to properly heal after divorcing a narcissist, you are setting yourself up for failure. Therapy can help you heal the quickest. Being married to a narcissist has taught you a wealth of information not only about how narcissists act and the ways they manipulate their subjects but also given you information about yourself and how you react to certain people and situations.
In my private Facebook divorce group, I can’t tell you how often I read about people being concerned about repeating the same mistakes in new relationships after their divorce is over. They regularly question if their new mate is acting like a narcissist and if they should be concerned about his/her conduct early on in the new relationship. To me, that is a sign that they haven’t put in the work yet to heal themselves and learn from what happened during their marriage.
Don’t Rush the Healing Process
Healing takes time and it shouldn’t be rushed. I understand the wish to move on and get involved in another relationship but resist until you’re ready. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a similar situation. Narcissists are experts on finding their prey.
You deserve a future of peace and happiness. Whether that’s alone, or in another relationship is up to you. But, if you never married a narcissist, you probably wouldn’t have this level of insight about yourself and be able to identify red flags of toxic relationships.