Divorcing a Narcissistic Husband
Many clients contact us with questions about divorcing a narcissistic husband. Is your husband a narcissist or does he suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? These are two questions that our clients commonly ask themselves. Why? Because they have been in toxic marriages and often feel broken and hopeless. Thankfully, you have come to the right place. And, sometimes your spouse is simply “narcissistic”. We have all met these types. The world revolves around them and they are the center of the world. But, other times, your husband actually has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Although both “narcissists” and those suffering from NPD can be difficult to live with, divorcing a spouse with NPD comes with unique challenges. We are a family law boutique firm in the San Francisco Bay Area and our focus is on divorcing narcissists.
Thus, if you are reading this post and are married to a Narcissistic Wife, please stay tuned for our blog coming out soon regarding divorcing a Narcissistic Wife or review our other posts on Narcissism and divorce.
Does My Husband Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder ?
If you need to divorce a narcissistic husband, you have come to the right place. Statistically, men are more likely to suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But, women suffer from NPD as well. NPD is a complex personality disorder which often exists with other affective and personality disorders. The characteristics of NPD are a need for admiration, lack of empathy, and pattern of grandiosity per the DSM-5. Thus, persons with NPD often have other mental health issues and have difficulty maintaining jobs and relationships.
NPD is under the umbrella of Cluster B personality disorders, which include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. People with NPD doubt their own self-worth and often become angry or violent at the slightest perceived criticism.
I have had clients describe husbands that are jealous and vengeful of their children, even babies, and accuse them of being “manipulative” for needing maternal care. Clients may describe their spouse as highly charming and loving at times but distant and angry at other times: the true Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde.
What are the Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Although this list is not all-inclusive, some of the generally recognized symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are as follows:
- Inflated sense of self-importance.
- Preoccupation with success, beauty or power
- Will only be around people who are “important” or “special”
- Highly critical of others
- Will exploit others for personal gain.
- Lack empathy.
- Must be admired or feel like the hero
But, for those close to people with NPD, they often describe that they see glimpses of a highly insecure and fragile person behind the façade. This “weakness” often makes it hard to leave a narcissistic spouse. Many people describe the reason for returning to the relationship is actually feeling sorry for the NPD spouse.
Is My Husband Just a Narcissist or Does He Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
There are many differences between simple narcissists and those who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. As you may know, many people can occasionally be narcissistic. They make statements like “I’m the best on the team” or “I’m the best looking one here”. On the other hand, Narcissistic personality disorder is a serious mental health disorder with persistent symptoms that impact their quality of life and that of their families and spouses.
Thus, a key difference between having narcissistic traits and NPD is the ability to take accountability for your actions. Someone with narcissistic traits should not lack empathy. So, they are generally able to see how their actions or behavior has hurt others and take accountability. Those with NPD, have difficulty with empathy and cannot take accountability. Unfortunately, taking accountability is necessary for change. And so, it is difficult for those with NPD to accept or want help. Because the NPD spouse cannot tolerate the slightest criticism, any suggestion that he suffers from NPD may be met with denial or outrage.
How Do I Divorce a Narcissist?
If you are reading this article, you are already taking a step in the right direction. It is possible to divorce a narcissist and get to the other side. One of the best ways to approach this difficult process is to consult with an attorney who has in-depth experience handling divorces with people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Contact Our Team of Marin County Divorce Lawyers
Please contact our team if you are looking for representation in your divorce.
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