Lots of people may come across as boastful or self-absorbed, but in rare cases people are affected by narcissistic personality disorder, which is a mental condition characterized by a pronounced lack of empathy for others. According to research, approximately 7.7% of men and 4.8% of women suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissists are insecure and fragile persons wearing a mask of overconfidence, an inflated sense of their importance, along with a lack of consideration for other people. 

What are the symptoms of narcissism? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, persons with narcissism often exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

Divorce when your spouse is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Not surprisingly, narcissists tend to have a hard time maintaining a healthy marriage relationship, so of course, they and their partner will often end up in a divorce court. Although the ex-spouse will benefit in the long term by divorcing a narcissist, the process can be a nightmare.

There’s one thing you must know about narcissists- they are “in it to win it.” They are extremely unlikely to seek compromise or an outcome that both sides can be happy with. Instead, they choose to use the legal system to terrorize and subjugate their ex-spouse. Here are some things a narcissist is likely to do in a family court battle:

  1. Run up the legal bills for both sides
  2. Be focused on trying to “punish” their ex
  3. File frivolous motions
  4. Try to paint a picture of their ex as totally evil or awful
  5. Refuse to settle
  6. Try to restart a matter after it has finally been settled

That is very bad news if that is you. But there is hope- with the right legal team and the right strategy, you can defeat narcissistic strategies that can otherwise ruin your life.

You can count on the fact that a narcissist will complicate the proceedings in one way or another. There may be an increased level of vindictive and frivolous legal maneuvers. There may be excessive spending from mutual accounts, an inability to hold down employment or pay support orders, or just a general vindictiveness that intensifies the the stress, cost, and drama already associated with divorce.

Clearly, all of the above complications can happen even when both spouses are free of any mental illness. But there is no doubt that untreated mental illness can greatly complicate divorce proceedings. This is why you need experienced counsel- at our firm, we specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by mental illness.

Child custody when you or your spouse is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A child custody battle when your spouse is a narcissist is likely to be much worse than a typical custody battle- narcissists, as we said before, are always “in it to win it.” Instead of considering what’s best for their children, they may see the children as pawns to get power over you or revenge against you. A true narcissist is not likely to be an involved and healthy parent who attends to the needs of their children. The adult children of narcissists often need years of therapy to unwind some of the damage being raised by a narcissist creates. It’s incredibly important for the spouse of a narcissist to have the right legal team in place who knows how to make the right moves that will neutralize narcissistic power games.

Our Firm Specializes in Southern California Divorces Complicated by Mental Illness, Including Narcissism

Do you have a divorce or family law question?

Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation.  to learn more.

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