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What manipulation tactics can a narcissist use during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Divorce

Divorcing a narcissist can be quite a challenge. It may require utmost preparation as their qualities may be on full display during the process. These qualities may include grandiosity, lack of empathy, a chronic need for admiration, and a sense of entitlement, to name a few. These behaviors may likely lead to manipulation, making the divorce process even more complicated than it already is.

Below are three manipulation tactics you might expect when divorcing a narcissist – and what you can do about them:

They may give out false statements

Narcissists typically avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They may present false accusations to shift the blame on you. They may also act like the victim and resort to emotional outbursts to gain sympathy. Additionally, they may offer empty promises.

When your soon-to-be ex acts up, it is a good idea to stay calm and seek help. A therapist can help you manage your emotional responses, while an experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options.

They may resort to parental alienation

If you have children, the other narcissistic parent may lie or exaggerate events to cast you in a negative light. This may damage your relationship with your children, so you should watch out for any changes in behavior, such as the children being rude, cold or ungrateful towards you, particularly after spending time with the other parent. Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse that may cause deep suffering both for you and your children.

When this happens, you should consider bringing in professional help to allow the children to process their emotions and adapt to the changes in your family dynamics. If the situation continues or becomes worse, you should seek out an experienced attorney to see what options are available in terms of legal relief.

They may delay the process

When you divorce a narcissist, you are taking power away from them – and they do not like it. Delaying the divorce extends the time they have control over you.

Applying the gray rock method – which requires you to be as emotionless and unreactive “as a rock” – may benefit you by showing you are not succumbing to pressure and unfair solutions. Refusing to react the way the other party expects you to react may end the process sooner.

Seeking advice from an experienced divorce attorney may help you plan your next steps and maintain your bearings while dealing with a narcissist.