How to Divorce a Narcissist & Reclaim Your Life

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Every divorce is difficult. But divorce from a narcissist is a different story. Divorcing a narcissist can be just as emotionally draining as being in a relationship with one. Even more so.

So, how to divorce a narcissist in the least painful way possible?

Understanding Narcissistic Traits in Relationships

People with narcissistic personality tendencies or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are preoccupied with a sense of superiority, entitlement, and importance. They are arrogant and have little to no regard for others.

In their relationships, narcissists exhibit an excessive need for dominance and control, using various manipulation strategies to get what they want.

They exaggerate their self-importance, success, and power while demeaning others and exploiting them with no shame to gain personal gain. Narcissists crave attention and admiration and constantly require you to feed their egos. They will use threats, lies, and pleas to get what they want from you. They may even turn others against you or isolate you from friends and family to manipulate and control you more easily.

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Identifying Narcissistic Behavior and Patterns

Narcissists have an obsessive need for attention and adoration. They will do anything to keep you as their supply, as long as they find you attractive.

Love Bombing

During the early stages of a relationship with a narcissist, you could feel pampered and worshipped. But the only reason they love-bomb you is to make you feel like you owe them something and give them more power over you.

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself trapped in a narcissistic abuse cycle. As soon as the thrill of the new relationship wears off, a narcissist will devalue and finally discard you.


A narcissist will use random reinforcement to put you in constant doubt and uncertainty. They might sometimes be distant and cold yet quite affectionate the rest of the time.


They may gaslight you into doubting yourself, your perceptions, and reality. They will tell you blatant lies, tell you they didn’t say or do something, even if you can prove they did, and discredit you by turning other people against you and you against them.

Verbal abuse

Your narcissistic partner may use criticism and insults to hurt your self-esteem and make you feel vulnerable and insecure.


They will refuse to accept responsibility for anything, playing the victim, blaming you for their mistakes, and always making you feel guilty.

Finally, the narcissist will end the relationship when you no longer meet their needs or when you finally decide to stand up for yourself.

Recognizing the Impact of Narcissism on Your Well-Being

A toxic relationship with a narcissist can take a toll on your mental health and well-being, causing you to struggle with feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, self-doubt, grief, and shame. You may feel insecure and have trouble making decisions.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can also make it difficult to trust people. So, you may isolate yourself from family and friends. Additionally, you may feel as if you’ve lost touch with yourself. 

You may begin to think you caused the abuse or are not worthy of love. You may make excuses for the narcissist’s behavior and feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault.

What to Expect When You Divorce a Narcissist

couple sitting on a couch going through a divorce

The narcissist believes they are entitled to victory. And they will go to any length to win. Therefore, you need to know what to expect.

They May Try to Play the Victim

Your spouse may accuse you and blame you for the failure of your marriage. They may use triangulation to turn your children, family, and friends against you and use your defensive behaviors to demonstrate that they are mistreated.

They Might Try to Manipulate You (Or the System)

Narcissists often come across as charismatic and confident. They will use manipulation to force you to justify or explain yourself, crushing your boundaries and discrediting you wherever possible. They may also use straight lies or other manipulation tactics to persuade the court system that they have been mistreated.

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How to Divorce a Narcissist (4 Tips)

Divorcing a narcissist has unique challenges and requires a special strategy. So, here are four tips on how to divorce a narcissist.

1) Establish a Support System

Surround yourself with a social support network and connect with those with similar experiences. Talk to trustworthy people who genuinely care about you. However, it could be a good idea to seek professional mental health treatment if you believe that your divorce from a narcissist is too overwhelming.

2) Have a Plan in Place

Nobody decides to divorce on the spur of the moment, so devise a plan when divorcing a narcissist.

Don’t expect your narcissistic partner to cooperate during the divorce process. So, make sure you have all details set in place and create a safety plan for you (and your children) in advance. Ensure you find an experienced marital lawyer who understands your situation’s complexity and will not respond to your spouse’s drama.

3) Set Clear Boundaries (From the Start)

Limit communication with your partner as much as possible. Don’t let them control who you see or talk to during the divorce process. If they have access to your accounts, reset the passwords. Also, if you co-parent or have to stay in touch for any other reason, ensure they contact you through your lawyer. Don’t give in to pressure or agree to terms that are unfavorable to you.

4) Document Everything and Keep Records

Communicate only in writing and document everything. Take photos or make copies of all important documents, such as insurance paperwork, bank accounts, personal papers, etc.

During a divorce with a narcissist, the only way to make sure everyone plays by the rules is to record important papers and conversations.

Building a New Life After Divorcing a Narcissist

Even if it feels like a hurricane has gone through your life, you will heal and move on after divorcing a narcissist.

You have to muster all your resources. Find a competent counselor who can help you set boundaries, stop the cycle of abuse, and regain your sense of self-worth.

I can assist you in prioritizing self-care, improving your coping skills, and raising your resilience.If you want to protect your well-being after breaking free from narcissistic abuse, contact me to set up a free empowering conversation.

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Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood is a Certified Life Coach, and best-selling author. Her mission is to empower high-performing adults and teens to become resilient self-leaders by reducing stress and anxiety, overcoming imposter syndrome, working through trauma, and re-discovering their AuthenticMe®.

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My name is Kamini Wood, and I’m here to accompany you on your journey toward understanding yourself on a deeper level so can create the life you want personally and professionally. It’s time to embrace your AuthenticMe ™