“Narcissistic personality disorder” is a mental condition in which the individual has an
exaggerated sense of their own importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a deep need for
excessive attention and validation from others. They are almost always the smartest person in
the room, and they will not accept advice or criticism from anyone, even often professionals
who are considered experts in their field. Because of their exaggerated sense of self-worth and
lack of empathy for their spouse, negotiating with a true Narcissist in the process of a divorce is
next to impossible.
There is nothing wrong with having self-confidence or a recognition of your own strengths. But
narcissism is something else. It is an extreme self-obsession that makes the individual crave an
unhealthy amount of attention and admiration. This inflated sense of self-worth can damage
relationships, making people around the narcissist feel insecure, inadequate, and undermined.
As a result of the narcissistic tendencies, your narcissist is likely to lie about his/her income,
they will hide documents you need for your divorce process making your divorce process
harder, more complicated and take longer than the average divorce. You need to do a little
If you suspect your partner/spouse is a narcissist or has narcissist tendencies, it means they have
likely displayed the following personality traits:
If you have made the final decision to divorce your narcissistic spouse, the process ahead will
be more challenging than a typical divorce case in California.
If your spouse knows your email or cell phone pass-codes, change them now. First of all, as
much as your spouse may have led you to believe, it is NOT normal for your spouse to know
your email passwords. If they forced you to tell them your passwords, they don’t trust you and
this is a HUGE red flag. Do not change any passwords for joint accounts, only your own
Start setting up your finances now. You will want a separate bank account. You will need
credit cards in your own name. You may need to apply for new credit cards now.
If you file for divorce, documents and information equate to actual dollar values. And, if you
file for divorce, you will need all the financial documents you can put your hands on. Grab
them, you will thank me later for saving you time, effort, anger, frustration and as much as
thousands of dollars trying to locate the documents and the information on those documents.
You will need documents such as years’ worth of bank statement, credit card statements,
retirement statements, etc. YES, I mean YEARS! Get several years’ worth of all of financial
documents. Start collecting all document (or an actual copy of the document) for everything
that is related to all; Income, Asset, Expenses, Debts, and any type or property, including
personal property such as cars, jewelry, and of course real estate.
Do NOT keep those documents in the house, in the garage, in your car, in your purse or
anywhere else your spouse has access to. Put them in a box, or two, or 6! And keep those
documents at your work, at your friend’s house or some other location away from your house
and spouse. Trust me, if you keep them in your attic or your trunk, your spouse will find them
and the jig is up!
If you have a Safe Deposit Box or a Safe, whatever is in there WILL disappear. I am not being
overly dramatic. I have a case where the husband took a million dollars’ worth of gold coins
the family had been purchasing for 30 years and acted like they never existed. No receipts were
ever kept and nobody ever even took a photo of them. They were off in the wind. I had another
case where the husband took about $100,000 cash from the safe, but it was too late, my client
had already documented it with photos, including a newspaper showing the date that the money
existed just weeks before he said the money didn’t exist. The judge charged him with taking all
If you take the items BEFORE you file for divorce and pout them somewhere safe for later
distribution, you will thank me later.
Keep track of as many important moments, decisions, or events as you can. A narcissistic
spouse almost always makes false allegations against the other spouse; the detailed
documentation will help you present a solid case and defend yourself, and witnesses to actual
events are incredibly valuable.
A divorce attorney can handle all communication with your spouse on your behalf, minimizing
the amount of stress and conflict. If the attorney is smart and has your best interest at heart, they
can expose the truth about your spouse’s abusive behavior and help you get divorced as fast and
inexpensively as possible.
An experienced Family Law attorney should be hired early, to help you plan for your divorce
BEFORE you actually file your divorce.
If your spouse has controlling or violent tendencies, warn the people around you that your
spouse may take severe measures to hurt you during the divorce proceedings. Keep in mind that
people with a narcissistic personality are extremely difficult (impossible even) to reason with.
So, trying them to agree with you on child custody, property division, and other matters can
seem hopeless without professional help.
Take a little more time to learn everything you can about the narcissistic personality disorder,
even if your spouse is an undiagnosed narcissist. This will help you get better prepared for
what is likely to come. There is a ton of information on the internet. There are brilliant books,
articles, and scientific studies online that shed a lot of light on narcissism.
Take the time, it will help you manage and navigate your way through the divorce process.