Divorcing A Narcissist Can Be A Nightmare: Here’s How To Plan For It

First and foremost, make sure the person you’re calling a narcissist in court is actually a narcissist. That doesn’t mean you have to hire a psychologist to diagnose them—generally, it’s not too hard to figure out. “Narcissists have a very predictable pattern of behavior—it starts with love-bombing, then heads into devaluing and discarding,” Zung says. 

These people will have no empathy or compassion for your emotions. Usually, they’ll make their partner feel erased, and the relationship will lack reciprocity, according to Behary. In general, these behaviors will amplify during the divorce process. 

“They have no sense of self, so they have to derive all of their value from the external world. That value is called narcissistic supply,” Zung explains. In a divorce, they get their narcissistic supply from manipulating the court proceedings, in the various ways mentioned (threat of custody battles, refusing to sign documents, etc.). “That’s why it takes so long to divorce a narcissist and why it costs so much,” she adds.