Discovering that a spouse is actually someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a revelation that is hard for any partner to accept. The decision to divorce, under any circumstances, is difficult. Ending a marriage with a narcissist may be legally possible. However, even in freedom, the toxic behavior will likely continue, if not get worse.
Children do not enjoy the “luxury” that comes with ending a toxic marriage. For them, relationships continue as one household becomes two. They cannot take legal action or actually separate from their parents. “Ghosting” is simply not practical as time will be likely spent with both parents.
Proactive parenting is paramount
Ongoing communication and support can make things easier. Recently divorced, non-NPD parents must step up and help their offspring deal with a new dynamic. Providing them options to speak to a therapist, guidance counselor, coach, or member of the clergy gives children options to communicate with a neutral party. Support groups can also be an option as well to gain insight into what other kids experience.
Narcissists are not known for having revelations following anything resembling self-reflection. Gaslighting, bullying, and controlling will likely intensify when constant admiration is denied and lack of empathy continues. Children knowing effective boundary-setting phrases in response to the narcissistic parent’s effect on them can be a helpful tool.
Open lines of communication with children combined with potential legal options to curb the dysfunction will likely not change the narcissist. However, one parent looking out for the best interests of children can be an invaluable asset as they navigate through their parental relationships. Quality time should be spent validating feelings and experiences as they enter new chapters of their lives.