Are you divorcing a narcissist and afraid you’re not going to win? If so, you already know that dirty tricks, scamming, lying, pressuring, and even stalking and manipulating are not beneath them. But, there are ways to actually beat them at their own game.
Before we dive into what to do about that narcissist in a divorce, let’s explore some of the tricks and manipulations they try to pull.
Tricks they play
Narcissists all tend to use the same sorts of tricks. In that sense, their toxicity is actually very predictable. Here are a few of their favorite ploys.
Winning at all costs
The top thing they try to do is win at all costs. They’re going to try to make you look as bad as possible, no matter how ridiculous it seems. They’re going to twist everything.
What’s the antidote? Put everything in writing. Everything you say, do, or even the way you breathe, is going to be twisted and manipulated. Their goal is to make you look as bad as possible (and themselves as good as possible) because they’re going to try to win at all costs.
Getting the best of you
Despite their goal of winning at all costs, winning is actually not what they want to do. Not in the way you think about winning, anyway. What they want to do is get the best of you.
While it looks like they’re trying to win at all costs, what they’re actually trying to do is manipulate you at all costs. Now that you’re stepping out of their world, you don’t have value for them. That’s because, for a narcissist, other people only have value when they offer a potential gain.
Since you no longer have value in their eyes, their goal is to manipulate you and make your life miserable. They want to hurt you before you hurt them.
Using the court system as their sword
Expect the narcissist to file as many motions as possible, litigate as much as possible, and make you spend as much money as possible. Overall, they just want to make your life miserable by dragging you through the court system.
Expect the narcissist to try to obstruct you from everything. They’re not going to provide the discovery that they’re supposed to. They’re going to make you work for everything. As part of that, you’re going to end up having to file motions to compel. This, in turn, will run up your fees.
They’ll even have court orders, and they’re not going to obey them.
Now that I’ve scared the crap out of you, here’s what to do about it.
How to beat a narcissist at their own game
Develop a clear strategy
First, you’ve got to have a clear strategy. A crystal clear, strong, and powerful strategy.
Prepare to play offense, and have your leverage ready. Do your research. Do your homework. Have everything you need to incentivize so the other side will want to come to a resolution with you. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you want them to come to a nice, easy conclusion, you’re going to have to incentivize them to do that.
The only way to incentivize is to get leverage. This leverage may come in many forms: It may be knowing what motivates them, such as money, custody of the kids, or not looking bad. It may be an embarrassment factor. Whatever it is, your goal is to motivate the narcissist to be in a resolution conversation with you.
Team up with a strong divorce manager
Pick a strong divorce manager who knows what they’re doing. Make sure your divorce manager understands what type of person your soon-to-be-ex is so they can help you develop your strategy. Work with someone you trust.
And then, trust that divorce manager. We say this because your narcissist spouse is going to try to get you to distrust them. They’re going to say, “Your divorce manager is only out for the money.” Or, “Your divorce manager is out to break us up.” In short, they’ll say whatever they can think of to manipulate you into distrusting your team.
But you already know that when dealing with a narcissist, you’re dealing with a pathological liar … so why would they start telling the truth now? The only reason they want your divorce manager out of the picture is because they want to regain control over you.
Document, document, document
Put everything in writing.
The narcissist is going to say to you, “Oh, let’s just meet at Starbucks and have a conversation. We can do this ourselves.”
If you fall for that, every single thing you say will end up twisted and weaponized against you. They’re going to try to manipulate you anyway, but at least you can try to minimize it.
Remember, you can’t change the other person — but you can take steps to protect yourself and help yourself feel more on the offensive than on the defensive through this process.
Keep your cool
Keep your emotions in check, because if you don’t, you’re playing right into their hands.
They want you to lose your cool. They want to get under your skin. As soon as you allow them to do so, they’re winning. And then, whatever manipulation they’re trying to pull, it’s working.
Divorcing a narcissist is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. But consider this: You’re in hell either way. At least with the divorce, there’s a light at the end of the hell tunnel. If you were to stay, you’d feel like you were burning in hell forever. Just remember that it is possible to escape relatively unscathed.
If you’re about to negotiate with a narcissist, grab my free Crush My Negotiation Prep Worksheet to make sure you’re as prepared as possible
Sending you lots of white light as you journey through the process.