When you decided to legally end your marriage in a Pennsylvania court, you no doubt expected to encounter some challenges and experience a certain amount of stress. Perhaps, you expected your stress level to exceed the average because your spouse is a narcissist. Living with someone who has narcissistic tendencies is difficult, and going through divorce proceedings with such a person may be one of the most trying experiences of your life.
There is no reason, however, to assume that your divorce is going to ruin your life. Especially if you know your rights and how to protect your interests in court, you can make sure you walk away with a fair settlement. As for dealing with the more personal issues that may arise during the process, you can be proactive to set boundaries and combat any obstacles your ex tries to set in your path.
When your spouse is an expert at creating conflict
Settling your divorce as swiftly and painlessly as possible may be quite the challenge when the person you were married to is a narcissist. Litigation may be necessary, especially if your ex is intent on trying to gain the upper hand in property division or is being unreasonable regarding child custody issues.
If your spouse tries to create conflict, try to remember that you do not have to allow yourself to get drawn into the drama. It's best to try to stick to facts, head to court with a basic understanding of Pennsylvania divorce laws and know where to seek immediate assistance if a problem arises.
Don't allow your spouse to blame you
If you were married to a narcissist for any length of time, you might already have experienced situations where he or she tries to blame you for anything and everything that goes wrong in his or her life. Most narcissists want to project blame on others so that they don't have to be accountable for their own actions.
There are specific issues to resolve in order to settle a divorce. You do not, however, have to get dragged into confrontation about all the issues in your marital relationship that led to the divorce. Stick to the necessary issues, such as child custody, property division or alimony. Do your best to negotiate fair terms and remember that the court can intervene as necessary.
Narcissists often show passive aggressive behavior
The judge overseeing your case and others who may be involved in your divorce will not necessarily be able to tell that your spouse is a narcissist. Narcissists are good at hiding their behavior. Your spouse might appear to others as though he or she is trying to be kind to you when, in fact, you know it's a passive means for showing aggression.
You might consider discussing ways to protect yourself when dealing with a narcissist with a licensed counselor or other person who is well-versed on issues regarding narcissism. Even speaking to a friend who has gone through similar experiences might help. It's also a good idea to build a strong legal support network from the start.