Divorcing a Narcissist

Should I Divorce My Narcissistic Spouse?

Whether or not to divorce is a personal decision that should only be reached after careful consideration. Sometimes, divorce is the only viable option to escape a toxic relationship. If you’re married to a narcissist, you’re probably in a toxic relationship and without treatment, a narcissist will never be able to meet your needs, since he/she is too preoccupied with meeting his/own needs. Quite often, a narcissist will deny having any personality problems, and the narcissist-spouse may even blame you, become overly angry or rage at any suggestions of such. In many cases, divorce may be necessary.

Famous Narcissists and Greek Mythology

Narcissus was a mythological Greek character who fell in love with his own image. After discovering his own image was not really another person, this Greek myth tells us that he dies from deep sorrow and grief because his image did not belong to another person. He fell in love with himself. In the late-60’s, a psychiatrist coined the term “narcissism” to describe someone with a clinical personality disorder where delusions of grandeur were prevalent. Famous people with narcissism include OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton and Alec Baldwin. Historical, narcissistic figures includes Nero, Hitler and Machiavelli.

Divorce and Personality Disorders

Personality disorders seem to be responsible for many divorces. It’s not unusual for a divorce attorney to hear a client filing for divorce to accuse his/her spouse of some type of personality or mental health disorder. Only a small percentage of people suffer from actual personality disorders, and I truly believe most people can exhibit personality traits commonly recognized in personality disorders without actually suffering from personality disorders or receiving a clinical diagnosis. In my professional experience, the most common personality disorder complained of by divorcing spouses is narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder.

According to the DSM-IV, narcissism is a “Cluster B” personality disorder. Other types of “Cluster B” personality disorders are those suffering from antisocial behaviors, borderline personality disorders, and those with histrionic tendencies (extreme exaggeration and overreaction to common events). Narcissists behave differently than others. Common characteristics and symptoms of narcissists, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), include having an obsession with self, exaggeration of talents, self-important feelings, expectations that others should treat them with respect and favoritism, disregarding others’ feelings, lack of empathy, preoccupation with power and success, and overreacting or reacting poorly to criticism.

Married to a Narcissist

Do you believe you’re married to a narcissist who will never seek professional help for the serious underlying personality disorder? Make sure you put your own safety and your children’s safety first. Get professional help for yourselves and involve law enforcement, if necessary. If divorce is imminent or necessary, make sure you speak with an experienced divorce attorney or divorce lawyer.

If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia family law attorney or divorce lawyer, contact Keithley Law, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.

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