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How a narcissistic spouse can affect the divorce process

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2022 | Family Law

Divorce is usually a very emotional process that can involve pain, grief and tension. When one of the spouses is a narcissist, the process can become even more complex, as some Virginia residents have discovered. Seeking a divorce from a narcissistic spouse can take various forms, but it is usually long, exhausting and painful for all involved.

The high-conflict divorce

When a narcissistic spouse is involved, the divorce process can be contentious. This can have a destructive impact on the other spouse and the couple’s children. Some of the effects of a high-conflict divorce from a narcissistic spouse include:

  • Long, drawn-out court battles
  • A more expensive process
  • The break-down of communication
  • Lack of collaboration
  • Emotional manipulation from the narcissistic spouse

The emotional toll this kind of divorce takes on the children is of particular concern, as the children might be used by the narcissistic parent as pawns in the process. This can result in the children experiencing higher tension, depression and anger for a long time after the divorce is finalized

The passive-aggressive process

Some narcissistic spouses are not obvious about their methods. They do not overtly attack their estranged spouses and often present themselves as the victims of the situation, meanwhile still working to undermine the divorce process. They might spread rumors about their spouses or encourage their legal team to be particularly aggressive about their tactics while portraying themselves as lacking control over the process. Their methods, however, are designed to tire out their spouse until the person gives in to all their demands.

Divorcing a narcissistic spouse can have both an emotional and financial toll. The process might take a long time and cost much more than a collaborative divorce, therefore also threatening the other spouse’s financial stability.