Divorcing A Borderline, Narcissist or Sociopath?
Difficult people can make for difficult relationships. And divorcing difficult people can be hard to do. How do you manage to dissolve a relationship with such an individual?
Avoiding ManipulationManipulation may have gotten you into the relationship to start -- if you describe your spouse as a Jekyll and Hyde, then others may see them as difficult too. Should you choose to terminate your marital relationship with such a person, know that it is difficult if not impossible to obtain a complete closure with such folks. Narcissists tend to "box up" anything bad that has happened to them, and throw that box away. Despite visions of grandeur, they have self-esteem issues -- part of holding themselves out as "the best" is diminishing their nearest and dearest -- co-workers, children and spouses. They see the world as revolving around them. Anything they do is reasonable -- as opposed to anything anyone else does, which they have high odds of viewing as unreasonable. How to leave such a person? When you decide to step away, you are making an informed decision to blast out of that person's orbit. Doing so often incites riot with such a person. How will they bring balance to the universe? By undermining your value and decision making power. Don't take it personally -- if they can convince themselves that you do not bring value to their galaxy, then your departure from their orbit is not perceived as harmful.
SeductionWho were you with when you said your vows? Jekyll or Hyde? The person you now seek to divorce is a compelling individual. They've charmed you. They've charmed your family and friends. Such indiviuals are experts at charm and seduction. Were you emotionally needy? Are you still in the whirl of manipulation? Stop letting them punch your buttons!
You Don't Deserve to be AbusedNarcissist. Sociopath. You don't deserve to be abused by such an individual. But don't bet on changing that person through divorce. You did not change them via marriage, and divorce will not change them either. Think of this as a battle. Think of yourself as Colin Powell. You have got to be a fierce general. And it may take troops to get the job done -- a financial expert such as a forensic accountant, a mental health professional who can keep you on track, another mental health professional to engage in a child custody evaluation of your children if you cannot come to terms on custody with your spouse, a mediator, and most certainly, an excellent lawyer. Strategize with all of them, but remember as my mother used to say -- you can talk to one hundred people, but you still have to decide for yourself.
EndgameKeep your goals in sight. Have strategy sessions with your lawyer. Leaving as peaceably as possible sometimes means going to the Courthouse. You have to find a way to speak to your spouse in his or her language -- make the settlement more attractive than going to the Courthouse, or than your staying in the marriage, but failing to worship them as you have before. End the cycle of derogation -- and manage yourself well in the process. If life was "crazy" when married, the divorce process is likely to be an adventure too. Need help in this process in the Metroplex? See www.elisareiter.com. (214) 219-9800 -- I'd be delighted to help.