Most of us think of getting married as a happy occasion with that special someone we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes that special someone turns out to be entirely different from what we expected, or even a downright narcissist. That’s what happened to 47-year-old Vanessa Reiser from Rockland County, New York, who discovered she was planning to marry a narcissist. Vanessa ran 285 miles in her wedding dress to raise awareness for those who are currently in relationships with narcissistic individuals and suffering from narcissistic domestic abuse. What happens if you marry and later choose to divorce a narcissist in New Jersey?
What is a Narcissist?
A true narcissist, who could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, has a range of different symptoms. It’s important to note that the narcissist in your life may have any combination of these symptoms and those symptoms may vary in severity.
In general, a narcissist:
- Experiences an exaggerated sense of their own importance
- Feels a sense of entitlement and requires constant admiration
- Expects to be recognized by others as being superior in every way
- Exaggerates their own accomplishments and skills
- Is preoccupied with their own fantasies about their perfection
- Looks down on others that they believe to be inferior to them
- Expects that they will be treated better or given special favors for no reason
- Is unwilling and/or incapable of recognizing the needs/feelings of other people
- Believes others envy them
- Expects compliance with all expectations/desires
- Is incapable of handling criticism or anything they perceive as criticism
- Feels easily slighted by any action from others
There are other symptoms as well, but these can give you a little bit of an idea of what you’re looking at, and if someone in your life may be a narcissist.
What is Narcissistic Domestic Abuse?
Just because you’re in a relationship (either romantic or platonic) with a narcissist does not mean that you are necessarily suffering from narcissistic domestic abuse. So, how do you come to realize that this is what you’re actually being exposed to and that you are being emotionally abused?
If the narcissist in your life constantly makes you feel worthless or as if you would be nothing without them, you may be suffering from domestic abuse. Likewise, a narcissist will often make you feel as though you are lucky to be with them because they are so superior to you. They may destroy the boundaries that you once had about how you deserved to be treated.
A victim of narcissistic abuse may have attachment issues, anxiety, people-pleasing behaviors, low self-esteem, trouble making decisions, and self-destructive behaviors. This all occurs because of the narcissist continuously tearing down your confidence and abilities to live your life free of their influence and control.
What if My Spouse is a Narcissist?
You have options when it comes to your own life and your marriage. One of those options is to work with your spouse to try and overcome their narcissistic tendencies or their full-fledged disorder. Keep in mind that this is not something that the two of you should attempt to do on your own and instead you should engage a professional in this process.
If you are not willing to work with your spouse as they get help, you should immediately remove yourself from the situation. Note that it is often best for you to remove yourself even if your spouse is willing to get help as this allows them to focus on what they need from their therapist and allows you to work on your own symptoms from their abuse.
Also, it is entirely possible that your spouse could attempt to pull you back into the relationship in an unhealthy way even while claiming to get the help that they need. Walking away and removing yourself from the situation can protect you.
How Will a Narcissistic Spouse React to Divorce?
Generally, a narcissistic spouse will not react well to divorce because it hurts their self-esteem and their public image. Because divorce is often looked on as ‘failure’ they may feel as though it is a negative reflection on them. As a result, they will often try to find ways to blame the divorce on the other party if they feel that there is no chance of reeling you back in, or they may attempt to turn on the charm to get you to change your mind. Often, spouses with narcissistic personality disorder will fight the divorce, or every term of the divorce, which can be expensive, time-consuming and emotionally exhausting.
Can Mediation and Settlement Work with a Narcissist?
It will typically be very difficult to go through mediation and settlement with a narcissist because they believe that they are entitled to everything that they want and that they can do no wrong. As a result, they are generally unwilling to listen or to compromise on anything in the divorce proceedings.
What You Can Do
You don’t have to run a marathon to end your relationship or divorce a narcissist in New Jersey. You can work with a divorce and family law attorney who is ready and able to help you leave a harmful situation.
Your attorney can help you understand what it takes to break free from a narcissistic relationship and help you through the divorce process.
Protect What Matters Most
Divorcing a narcissist can be frustrating and emotional - and potentially expensive if they fight the divorce. Our experienced divorce and family law attorneys will help you protect what matters most. Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Family Law Group’s attorneys can help you understand your options and fight for a fair and equitable distribution of your marital assets. If you are seeking assistance with any divorce and family law matter, we are here to help. With offices in Toms River and Moorestown, our divorce and family law attorneys can help you seek a fair resolution so that you can begin to move forward with your life as soon as possible.
Contact us today at 732-585-1651 to discuss your case.