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How do you handle a narcissistic ex-spouse?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2020 | Divorce

Some individuals meet divorce with a fair amount of spite and anger, but what happens when your ex-spouse exhibits narcissistic behavior? The Mayo Clinic notes that those with the symptoms of this disorder have feelings of superiority, are easily insulted and often expect special treatment from others.

Handling an ex-spouse with a narcissistic personality is usually difficult, but there are a few strategies you can use to avoid serious conflict when discussing co-parenting, child support and other factors related to your divorce.

Set limitations for communication

After a divorce, your narcissistic ex-spouse still might expect you to answer texts, phone calls and social media posts right away. You can set limits for him or her by letting them know when they can expect a response ahead of time and that repeating texts and calling repeatedly will only delay your answer. This may curb your ex’s desire to make your time all about meeting his or her perceived needs.

Do not expect a change

Expecting your ex-spouse to undergo a massive change in his or her behavior after the divorce will probably only result in disappointment. Remember that you divorced him or her for a reason and that the event likely did little to change how they see themselves as the center of the universe. Keep your temper as much as possible and remember that your ex’s issues are not for you to fix and never were.

Narcissistic individuals often have issues forming long-lasting relationships and may suffer from other emotional disorders as well. While this can make co-parenting and child custody issues difficult, you can avoid toxic behavior from your ex during or after your divorce.