Divorces are not easy. Divorcing a spouse with any sort of psychological disorder, like narcissism, makes it all that more difficult. If you’ve been married to a spouse with a psychological disorder, you know that escape seems impossible. However, with the right kind of help, you can get yourself apart from the neuro-abnormal spouse. Divorce lawyers that have experience with these types of divorces will readily agree that these are the top 5 things you should do, when initiating the divorce.
No. 1. Plan for the worst. It’s that simple. Your spouse will not “get over” the divorce. He or she sees this as a loss on the playing field, no matter the outcome. The disordered spouse will continually strive to achieve the win against you – and at all costs. Most spouses in these types of divorces find themselves riddled with debt, and all assets spent on the divorce.
No. 2. You will need to hire a lawyer that knows what they’re doing. Hiring a family friend that dabbles in divorce will not cut the mustard on this one. Your spouse will continuously try to engage you (in person, and through lawyers), and only an experienced divorce lawyer will know how to minimize contact. Remember, your disordered spouse needs contact with you, like we all need air to breathe. It’s doesn’t matter how limited the contact, because the disordered spouse views any form of contact as a means to control, win, and or carry on with the relationship.
No. 3. Only communicate with emails, and follow the “four line” rule. Because disordered spouses thrive on control, you can minimize their destructive behavior by only communicating by email. If you don’t have children, there’s actually no need to communicate at all (let your lawyer handle that). If you do have children, keep emails to 4 lines or less. Always ask yourself, can I reply to this email with a yes or a no. If you’re able, keep the emails artificially brief. Never provide reasons or excuses for your decisions. Disordered spouses will take any and every opportunity to turn contact into a control-win game.
No. 4. Don’t ever admit defeat or a mistake. Disordered spouses have a talent for smelling blood, and when they do, their behavior worsens. Always remain in control, and convey the illusion of control – even if you have to win a Golden Globe, to do so. Spouses with significant psychological issues prey on the weak and will exploit your emotions. These spouses are always trying to regain the loss control they experienced upon you filing for a divorce. Don’t open the door for the cycle of abuse to continue.
No. 5. Never, ever, ever try to co-parent with a disordered spouse. This is an unworkable arrangement. It doesn’t matter that the divorce could end more quickly, and it doesn’t matter that the disordered spouse is willing to agree that you have primary residency of the children. Most disordered spouses crave a joint parenting arrangement to continue with control and psychological abuse. The disordered spouse knows that once the lawyers are gone and there is no longer any judicial oversight, they can get away with a lot of bad and abusive behavior. Stick with sole custody – and don’t alter from that demand – unless you want your life, and the lives of your kids to be hell.
If you suspect that your spouse suffers from a psychological disorder, and you’re looking for an exit plan, please contact me at my office, Paul D. Nordini at (630) 416-6600.