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Guarding Against the Narcissist’s Divorce Tactics

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC

Quite a few people believe narcissists are demon possessed.  Check out my article about that here.  One of the primary reasons people think this is because all narcissists seem to operate from the same rule book.  No matter where in culture or history you look at narcissists, their mannerisms, words, and tactics always seem to be the same.  The only thing that seems to be different among narcissists is where they fall on the spectrum of narcissism.  The higher on the spectrum, the more heinous their behavior will be.

The narcissist’s divorce tactics include stacking the deck in their favor, gaslighting, using the kids against you, making themselves the victim, turning friends against you, bullying, and ignoring everyone’s advice.  You can combat this!  Be prepared with support, finances, and documentation BEFORE you file anything with the court.

Of course, there is much more to this answer than a single paragraph.  Read on to get the whole story!

Table of Contents

Identifying the Narcissist’s Divorce Tactics

The narcissist’s divorce tactics look just about exactly like your everday life did.  Except that everything is ramped up.  He (or she–adjust the pronouns to work for your case) is angrier with you than ever before.  And now he finds himself in the biggest battle of his life.  He can’t afford to lose.  So he is going to do everything he can to win and obliterate you in the process because you dared to stand up to him and fight for yourself and your health.

Here are several of the narcissist’s divorce tactics that are the most prevalent:

Realize That the Narcissist Won’t Play Fair

As I mentioned already, narcissists need to win.  By telling him that you are done and filing for divorce, you have given them an astronomically huge narcissistic injury.  They must be seen as winning in all circumstances to all people.  And once everyone hears about the divorce, he feels like the shame will be insurmountable.

In order to head off this unbearable shame, narcissists will take down anything that threatens them.  In short order.  If you are a threat to them, they will be the first to attack in the unltimate show of self-preservation.

Your narcissist charmed you right into marriage.  He was charming, kind, and generous enough for you to never see the gaslighting, projection, blame-shifting, lying, anger, and other narcissistic behaviors.  I am guessing it probably took you a while to realize what was really going on.  It took me over 20 years.  Okay, I know I was slow because I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt.  But my point is that if you fell for the narcissist’s tricks for so long, the lawyers, judge, and other relevant people in your case will not see it right away either.  Unless you can show them through documented proven incidents what you are up against.

I was fortunate that my narcissist was not very good at hiding his craziness anymore.  And the more abusive he got in our marriage, the more obvious it got.  Not everybody gets the benefit of an obvious narcissist who isn’t playing fair because he has to do everything he can to climb back up to the top.

And make sure that whatever you do, you are playing fair!  It sounds incredibly unfair when only one of you is playing by the rules.  But I can assure you that if you stoop to his level to one-up him, you will not come out of this okay.  You may not win all the battles, but you will win the war!

If You Have Children, The Narcissist Will Use Them Against You in the Divorce

This was about all my ex-husband had left to hold against me, except for the money that wasn’t especially easy for him to manipulate.  I accepted less money than I could have gotten.  But I was more concerned about this kids’ needs and well-being, so that was my focus in the divorce hearings.  I will talk more about the finances below.

My kids and I were all avoiding my ex for the last few years he lived with us in the house.  The abuse had continued to escalate over time.  So our solution was to live in my bedroom whenever he was in the home.  When he went to work or to bed, then we could emerge from the room and function somewhat normally.

So, when he was removed from our home by our church, the kids wanted nothing to do with him.  There were a few visits in the beginning.  But they didn’t last long.  And the kids wanted no part of it.  He answered by suing us for custody of the kids so they would be forced to be with him.  It didn’t matter that he had been removed by the home for safety issues.  And it didn’t matter what the kids wanted or were comfortable with.

He just knew that he still needed to be seen as the authority and leader of our home and in control of us.  And he was going to do whatever it took to make sure everyone knew that.

It was helpful for me to have counselors and church leadership that knew how the kids felt and the circumstances in our home.  So when he went after the kids in court, there was plenty of documentation as to why he could not get joint physical custody.  And a guardian-ad-litem that listened to all of the relevant parties to make her recommendation to the judge.

They Will Try to Make Themselves the Victim

When things blew up with the separation and divorce proceedings, my ex pretty much left his whole life behind.  First, he found a new church that would stand behind his claims of innocence in spite of the evidence and our church letting them know what he was running away from.  He said all the right words to them to convince them that he was innocent and loved his family and God.  Also, he would say he “had no idea why his family would just up and walk away from him.”

He told this story to whoever would listen.  And within a year, he had walked away from his old life and formed a new group of friends, neighbors, job, and church.  And a new wife just six days after the divorce who has no idea what actually happened.  Or that she can’t trust all of the things that she thinks are truth.

The first time I talked to her, in the space of an hour she had excused his behavior three times.  Her words were along the line of, “I’m sure he wouldn’t do that intentionally.”  I said that for many years.  I wanted to believe he was sincere and would never do anything maliciously.  So I can hardly blame others who want to take what he says at face value and believe that he is a decent human being, just like most of the rest of the world.  And because he realizes that the majority of people in the world want to believe in the good of people, he knows it is a perfect inroad to find his next source of narcissistic supply.

This one is a hard one to get past when trying to heal.  It is so hard to know when narcissists are being sincere and when they are not.  But you can bet that anything having to do with the courtroom is an act and that they will do whatever they can to convince the judge and other interested parties that they are innocent in everything and totally the victim.

You will need to have a lawyer that is well-versed in the narcissist’s divorce tactics.  Many lawyers have seen this in the courtroom before.  And so have the judges.  They will not respond well to you if you go in there with guns blazing and yelling narcissism.  But they will be able to put the pieces together when you speak about specific incidences of abuse, gaslighting, and inappropriate control over you and the kids.

The Narcissist Will Lie and Gaslight You in the Courtroom

Speaking of gaslighting, this will be one of the narcissist’s biggest tools in the courtroom.  If they can convince the court that “there is something really wrong with you” (what my ex said to me daily for years every time he picked a fight and I refused to go along or agree with him on literally crazy things), then they have done their job well.

It is incredibly important that  you do not respond in a way that will allow the judge or others to see you as having the issues your spouse is trying to pin on you.  He banks on the fact that  you will be triggered by his stealthy attacks and act out in court.  Keeping your calm will help the judge and lawyers to see that you are not the problem.

On the flip side, as the lawyers question your husband or wife, you will find them getting triggered and their narcissistic mask will begin to slip.  The best lawyers that are experienced in narcissism put the narcissist’s full behavior and words on display for the judge to clearly see.  And you will go home knowing that you did a good job preparing for your day in court.

The Narcissist Will Shift the Blame to You in the Courtroom

Blameshifting is another huge tool that your narcissist will use in the courtroom.  Also called projection, they will accuse and blame you of the very things they have done.  And they can be very convincing about it.  It can be very scary to be on the listening end of this type of attack against you.

Once again, your lawyer should be able to turn things back in the right direction.  This is where documentation is critical.  The best forms are written communication, witnesses, counselors, and even family who is willing to testify.  The more evidence you can produce, the more your lawyer can show the judge whose story is consistent and who is using blame shifting and projection techniques.

Keeping the narcissist from being able to invent and control the narrative is critical.  And believe it or not, it isn’t that hard to do.  While the narcissist can be quite crafty, they can’t possibly keep track of all of the lies they have been telling everywhere.  So when all of the involved parties are in the same room and can verify the true story, he has no defense.

I will talk more about documentation below.  But just know that the more documentation from all kinds of different sources you have, the better your case will be.

They Will Not Work With You Through the Mediation Process

Narcissists are not about to start working with you to meet in the middle.  They didn’t do it throughout the marriage, they aren’t going to start now.

By the end of our marriage, our counselors were working with our church leadership to try to find some accountability measures that would help my then husband to heal and grow emotionally and spiritually.  The more they tried to speak truth into him, the angrier he got and the more he proclaimed that nobody was going to tell him how to run his marriage and family.

By the time we separated, the counseling agency had talked about mediation instead of going straight to lawyers, saying that if we could work things out that way, it would save us money over having to retain legal counsel.

My husband loved the idea of saving money, but he especially loved the idea of mediation.  In actuality, he saw it as a tool to manipulate me further.  And my church leadership saw it coming a mile away.  But something very interesting ended up happening on the first mediation attempt.

My church leadership worried that my ex would trample over the mediator the same way he did with me, the counselors, church leadership, and anyone who tried to help our family.  They asked the mediator what could be done to help.  And she recommended bringing a retired judge alongside her for our mediation session.  Then our pastor warned both of us to make sure we made what we wanted clear so that the mediation process would be fair.

This put my ex in a very difficult position.  Because he is a religious narcissist, he needs to convince everyone of what an amazing, loving, kind, sacrificial Christian he is.  But in his narcissism, he also needed to take me down.  How was he going to accomplish both in this meeting?  He couldn’t, and in the end his narcissism won over.

The Weirdest Mediation for Separation Ever

As it turned out, for the first meeting, he suggested less time with the kids than I was planning to give him per what my counselor said was the norm.  And for the money, he was already out of the house and tallied his bills and a little bit of spending money and gave me the rest for the kids and me and to maintain the house and all existing household expenses.  It wasn’t enough for us to live on, but I had gotten a job two weeks prior because I knew I was going to need it for separation.  That is a whole other story for another day!

Even more, he paid the entire mediation bill.

The mediators were shocked, especially after being warned that he was going to go in there and control the room.  Everyone was pleasantly surprised.  But we still needed to get the newly minted separation agreement notarized.  Incredibly, that happened a few days later, also without a hitch.  He was even jovial and nice to the notary, making small conversation and acting as though we were just running an errand on a pleasant date.  Weird.

The trouble came about a week later.  My ex changed his entire story.  He now said that everyone told him he had to be agreeable at the mediation and that he was forced to sign something he didn’t agree with.  Even though most of it was his suggestion, not something he had to agree or disagree to.  He fought tooth and nail for another mediation to change the agreement.  And everyone involved told me not to do it.  We held it off for as long as possible, but ended up back in front of the mediator and retired judge a couple months later.  And this time, the narcissism came out in full view.

After two hours of demands and anger, the retired judge shut down the mediation after telling my ex he wasn’t listening to a single thing anyone was saying.  This was also after he had taken extra money outside of the separation agreement and gotten himself another house (he would end up moving 7 times in the two years of separation, until he chose to illegally take our house away from us, another story for another day).

The moral of the story here is that if you try to reason things out with a narcissist, especially in mediation, he will not work with you.  You are just as worthless in the mediation process as you were throughout the marriage.  Except now he has a reason to hate you even more because you are taking away his biggest source of narcissistic supply.

Narcissists Will Not Give You the Information Needed to Move Forward in Divorce Productively

One more of the narcissist’s divorce tactics is to make it very difficult for you to get the information and documents you need to move forward in the divorce.  If he hides financial numbers or documents, moves money around, or otherwise hides things, you cannot get an accurate picture of where things should be split fairly.  And if they are things you didn’t know about to start with, you won’t know what you should be looking for.

There are financial forensic investigators that can find hidden money for you.  But, believe it or not, you can find out a lot of information on your own.  IRS filings, mortgage loan applications that have other debts listed, keeping track of large amounts of money being deposited or withdrawn, and other means to find disappearing money can tip you off to a hidden money trail.  I found this article incredibly helpful for discovering obscure ways money and assets can be hidden.

Narcissists Will Not Adhere to Anyone’s Guidance, Including Their Own Lawyer and the Judge

Of all of the narcissist’s divorce tactics, this one puzzles me the most.  Maybe it is his way of asserting his perceived power over everyone else.  Or maybe he thinks he can be persuasive to all of the people involved in his case.  Regardless of his reasons, the narcissist will be told something by the judge, his lawyer, your lawyer through his lawyer, or literally anyone involved in the case, and then turn around and immediately say or do something totally different in response.

This used to frustrate me so much because I felt that even the legal system couldn’t convince him to do the right thing.  But after watching him do these things, my counselors, lawyer, the kids’ guardian ad litem, and nearly everyone said it is good for the court to see how much he disregards everyone else for the sake of his own agenda.

It didn’t take long for me to see that with every incident of him ignoring instructions and counsel, his chances of winning this case were dwindling.  And when my lawyer told me that his lawyer couldn’t stand dealing with him and couldn’t wait until his case was over, it was icing on the cake.  Even his own lawyer could be sympathetic toward me in having to deal with his constant narcissistic behavior.

As for his lawyer, he didn’t even have to finish the case because my ex ran out of money after several spending sprees and let his lawyer go for lack of funds.

And finally, as for the divorce/custody, on the last custody hearing, my ex spent six hours trying to convince the judge to let him have whatever he wanted,  not because it was the right decision for his son and in his best interests, but because he insisted he had the right to control his family.  And after listening to the lawyer’s and guardian-ad-litem’s recommendations for our son, he ignored all of it in his closing statement and continued to ask for things that were proven in court to be harmful to our son’s wellbeing.  I was fortunate that he was so clueless because the judge saw all of it and ruled accordingly.

If you can find a lawyer that is able to see your narcissist’s behavior for what it is and pull that behavior out of him in court, you should have no problem proving what is in the best interest of your children.  The same will go for property settlements.  And if the judge sees that your ex is using money and property to hold things against you, it will not end well for him as long as your judge is fair and aware of what is going on.  In fact, it may make things even better for you in the final ruling.

Narcissists Will Defy any Legal Agreements You Have

Narcissist’s divorce tactics show how much they can only see themselves and nobody else in the process.  And this point is probably one of the best evidences of that.

In my state, not paying child support will land a parent in jail.  That means that the amount of child support I receive has not been bothered since there has been a final court order regarding it.  But the separation agreement was a totally different ballgame.  Even though my ex suggested the terms of the separation agreement, he later claimed that he disagreed with them and therefore didn’t have to abide by them.

He tried to force me back into mediation so he could demand new terms.   There would be no negotiating or working with the mediators as I mentioned above.  But the retired judge at the last mediation did pointedly tell him that by taking away thousands of dollars a month from me just because he wanted it was not legal or appropriate for someone who was claiming to be looking out for the best interests of his family.  The shame in that lecture was enough for my ex to start paying the amount of money agreed upon and try to renegotiate it legally through the court system.

Honestly, I grew too tired to fight for the money and figured that I would just agree to his new terms while building my own financial security.  I saw it as the most liberating thing to get on my feet sooner than later.  Then I could tell him to take his support money and stick it…I’ll let you finish that sentence wherever you want to!

The main takeaway for this point is that unless there are severe consequences that will prevent a narcissist from violating  the legal agreements, he will violate them because he feels like it is his right to take whatever he wants.  He cannot see any other side but his own.  So he will never have sympathy for the pain he causes others in asserting his own desires.

Narcissists Will Turn People Against You, Often Without Saying a Negative Word

The covert and/or spiritual narcissist’s superpower is to turn people against you by using the nicest of terms.  They will camouflage their insults and destruction in concern for their loved one or a request for prayer.  And they will put on a great act.

Once of the best examples I have seen of this is in the movie, Gaslight.  In this movie, Gregory, in an effort to discredit and destroy his wife, Paula’s, reputation, he speaks with the house staff about how concerned he is for her wellbeing and that she is mentally and physically ill.  He quickly garners their sympathy.  And then he makes sure to tell them not to disturb her so she can get the rest and recovery she needs.

This isolates her from them so they can’t see that she is, in fact, fine and a victim of his false accusations.  To bolster his argument, he hides things and points out to the staff that she has moved them.  Of course, she has no memory of this and begins to think she may actually be as crazy as he is making her out to be.

You will have to watch it to find out what else he does to manipulate and destroy her and how it all ends up.  Click on the picture below for more information on Amazon:

If you watch any movie about narcissism, it needs to be this one!  My counselor assigned it to me and it changed my whole world.  I couldn’t believe that there were people in the world who do this kind of stuff intentionally.   Amazingly, this movie was produced in 1944 and yet so relevant to the narcissism issues that are seen everywhere today.

Narcissists Drag Out the Divorce Until They are Truly Done With You

This is a truly strange narcissist divorce tactic because it can turn into the opposite almost instantly.  They will drag out the divorce for as long as they think there is a chance to get you back as their biggest source of supply.  They will hoover and love bomb you until they know there is not even the slightest chance that you will once again fall for their lies and attempts to suck you back in.

As soon as they realize that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of you coming back to them, they are instantly done with you.  And you may wonder what in the world just happened.  Know that him dropping you and disappearing is the best thing that could happen to you!

In the case of co-parenting, you won’t be so lucky.  Your ex-narcissist could have a new spouse, family, neighbors, church, new everything.  But if they are spending any tme with their children, and by default, you as the other parent, they will be working to control and manipulate you through the children.  The narcissist manipulates everyone they know in some way.  It could be manipulation in the kindest way to get the unsuspecting person under their thumb.  Or it could be to elevate themselves and destroy you.  Whatever it is, they need you to fulfill some ulterior motive.

This is when you need to be setting the best of healthy boundaries.  Keep yourself safe.  Don’t make yourself available any more than you legally need to.  And focus on healthy patterns in your own life: good sleep, healthy food, exercise, good friends and support, community-minded life.

And with that, we are now going to move into how to guard yourself against the narcissist’s divorce tactics.

Guarding Against the Narcissist’s Tactics in Court

When you are in the middle of a divorce, life is difficult.  I don’t really even need to say this.  It is a given.  But in a divorce with a narcissist, your head can be spinning so badly that you don’t feel like you will ever emerge from the crap you are buried under.  I remember feeling that and voicing my despair to my counselor and church leaders many times.  And they all said I would emerge and I would be so much better.  They were all right.

Let’s take a look at some of the things that will not only help you to get through a contentious divorce with a narcissist, but come out healthier than you’ve ever been.

Stay Calm When Dealing With Your Narcissist

Staying calm when dealing with your narcissist will actually serve two purposes.  First, your narcissist won’t be able to convince others that you are the problem when he can’t get you to react wildly to his crazy-making behavior.  And second, you won’t feed into the narcissist’s need to keep you confused and spun up.  You will no longer be under the narcissist’s control.  Let’s take a closer look at both of these points.

The most important thing you need to do is learn to stay calm in the midst of a narcissistic attack.  The narcissist will try to spin you up and make you look like the crazy person.  Nobody else can see their underhanded attacks.  But they do see you react when when have been driven beyond the breaking point.  And without much work on his part, the narcissist has shifted his craziness onto you and the whole world has seen it. They don’t see that you were pushed to your limit before anybody saw what was really going on.

The best way to react to your narcissist’s abuse is to not react.  If you can keep your cool and avoid being angry at the narcissist, no matter what they do to you, then you will have the strength and grace necessary to get people to believe you over the long haul.  This doesn’t mean  you become the narcissist’s door mat.  You no longer get stirred up by the narcissist’s crazy words.

Counselors named this whole process gray rock.  The concept is that if your reactions to the narcissist’s provocative behavior don’t stir you up or get you to react in seemingly crazy ways,  then he cannot gain narcissistic supply from you.  He can’t get the reaction he is looking for.  So, he gives up trying to stir you up and moves on to easier sources of narcissistic supply.

And the end result of staying calm is that you will feel more balanced, more self-assured that you are thinking clearly, more able to handle things well that are thrown at you from out of the blue.  You will feel at peace!

Get Your Paperwork, Evidence in Order BEFORE Filing for Separation or Divorce With Your Narcissist

I spent a good amount of time preparing for separation and divorce before actually doing it.  My counselor and church leadership talked about separation with me for over a year before it finally happened.  And honestly, I was very content to stay in that holding pattern for a while.  While I can be spontaneous about lots of things, I am so not spontaneous about huge life decisions.  I made sure all the bases were covered before going out on my own.  I had been a homemaker, doing 30+ hours of children’s and other ministries a week for nearly all of my marriage.  And I worried that if we were barely making it financially as a household, how in the world would we be able to establish two separate households?

In addition to my concerns regarding starting a new independent life, I needed to know that my kids and I would be safe once we did leave my narcissistic ex.  But because I took so long to do it, establishing safety measures and documenting what was going on and why we needed to leave was actually pretty easy.

Then, when our counselors and church started working with us on our issues, my ex started bristling at the fact that people were starting to notice his inconsistencies in behavior.  While he was such a wonderful godly person in front of others, behind closed doors he was a different person.  One person from our church who worked in the same location as him shared with me that the person my ex was at his job was not the same person he was at church.  So when the struggles went public, he knew right away that there was truth to my story.

As counselors and our church started addressing his behavior toward his family, he got angry with them and started pointing narcissistic abuse toward them.  This was one of the best things that could have happened because now they were experiencing these things firsthand, which gave my stories credibility.  And the more they tried to speak truth into him, the more angry and abusive he got.

By the time we did separate and start working through the legal system, people everywhere could see what was going on.  The further we got, the more he fought to keep control of us.  And he spiraled out of control.

I had text and email conversations.  I no longer spoke to my ex behind closed doors without witnesses.  All communication was in writing.  This proved the lies and abuse because I could fall back on what was really being said.

By the end of our court case, literally everyone could clearly see what was going on.  The biggest thing that made this happen was not allowing him to isolate any of the involved parties and to stay on the same page.  We all knew everything that was going on so he couldn’t successfully pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.

Keep communication with everyone involved very open!  And confirm everything regarding your narcissist is in writing or in front of witnesses who are involved and know what is going on.  You will land on your feet!

Set And Keep Necessary Boundaries With Your Narcissist Throughout the Divorce Process

Most victims of narcissism don’t feel comfortable setting boundaries, especially with a spouse.  They have been conditioned to believe that boundaries are inappropriate because they are supposed to give everything to their narcissistic spouse.  And often, we do all want to share all of ourselves openly and honestly with our spouses.  But it doesn’t mean we have to give up all of ourselves, and that is what happens in a narcissistic relationship.

If you are not sure where to begin with setting and keeping boundaries, the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is a literal godsend.  It will show you why boundaries are necessary, what healthy boundaries you should be setting and how to keep them when your narcissist tries to tear them down.  This book will be critical to your success in breaking free of your narcissist!  Check it out on Amazon by clicking on the book here:


Keep a journal so you can remember when he does things that harm you and your children.  This was one of the hardest things for me to do.  My counselor held me to this one.  I didn’t like journaling.  I didn’t have a lot of time or the desire to write about these things.  But she also knew that when I wasn’t jounaling about the daily things he was doing to us, I was forgetting about them and unable to document the abuse and craziness as much.

I needed to keep the journal both for court evidence, for documentation that the counselors could provide, and most importantly, to keep my own head clear on what was going on.  I no longer need to do it because that life is long since over.  But it was good and necessary leading up to the separation and divorce and until the final court hearing.

Make Sure You Have Some Cash Reserves Before Filing Legal Documents

Every day when my then-husband came home from work, he would get on his computer and look up our online bank statements for the day.  Then he would come to me and tell me what I had spent that day and where I had spent it.  He made it very clear to me that he was watching everything I did.  My counselor told me that I needed to pull out cash when I went to the grocery store so that he wouldn’t be able to see the cash and I could do what I needed to make myself financially safe.

This enabled the kids and I to go about our normal life and not be “followed” by my ex.  Just to be clear, we were not using the money irresponsibly.  Keeping our spending private kept him from controlling every single thing I did throughout the day.  He would tell me he knew I went to the grocery store and spent ____ on groceries.  Then he would tell me I went to the shoe repair to get my boots re-heeled.  Plus, I went to the bank and deposited money.  It wasn’t about him calling me out for improperly spending.  It was that he knew what I did and how much it cost.  Every single day.  It was maddening.

This is financial abuse.  And you don’t have to put up with it.  Further, if he is preventing you from having money, you will need to take money out at the store and keep it somewhere safe.  You do not need to show him receipts.  If  you need to, throw them away before you get home.  You generally aren’t going to need to return food items to a store, so the receipts are generally unnecessary anyway.

Speak to your counselor or a trusted friend about this so they can help you keep a clear head.  Even more importantly, if you think you are in any danger in your relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  Or you can visit online at

To Succeed Against the Narcissist’s Divorce Tactics, Be Strategic Instead of Emotional

Your narcissist knows how to push your buttons.  And over the years, you have probably not realized how much he has worn you down.  But now, you need to get ahead of the emotional fog and craziness he has put you in.  And you need to begin thinking strategically about where you are and where you need to be.  Then combine that with how you are going to let him treat you going forward.  This speaks specifically to setting and keeping the necessary boundaries that we talked about above.  It also speaks to gray-rocking.

The more balanced you can get your thinking, the more you will succeed at getting your emotions under control and your thoughts and actions steadied.  I have yet another book to recommend to you to help you grasp this step toward healing.  The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick will help you more than you even realized you needed it!

Her book starts with a test to help you determine if you are in a difficult marriage or a destructive one.  It isn’t a long test.  Once you figure that out and read through her results and analysis, she then goes on to show you how to work through each type of marriage.  She allows you to figure out what you need to do to get to an emotionally healthy place.  And then she allows you to determine your own course of action.  That is why I loved this book so much.  She give you all the tools you need to KNOW what to do and then to DO it!

She formulated an acronym for CORE principles to get you on a healthy road.  They are as follows:

C – I will be committed to truth, both internally in my own heart and mind and externally. I refuse to pretend.

O – I will be open to the Holy Spirit and wise others, teaching me, maturing me, and guiding me into his way of living my life.

R – I will be responsible for my own responses to destructive behavior and commit to being respectful without dishonoring myself.

E – I will be empathic and compassionate toward others without enabling people to continue to abuse and disrespect me.

In a response to a follower, she goes on to say, “When you know and believe that you are a loved, valuable, worthwhile human being and live from that core place, toxic people lose their power to manipulate you. They can’t control and intimidate you as they once did when you felt worthless, dependent and needy.”

Once I learned these 4 really important steps and starting practicing them, my whole world changed.  I know yours will too!  I was easily able to move from being out of control emotionally to easily regulating my emotional responses.

You can get all the information you need and literally thousands of reviews on Amazon from others who have used her book for their healing by clicking the book here:

Hire a Lawyer Experienced in Narcissism

My ex interviewed every top lawyer in our city so that I could not use them.  By the time I got to the third lawyer, she knew what was going on.  She told me it is  called conflicting out–when someone pays to interview every lawyer they can to cause a conflict of interest and prevent you from using that lawyer.

My church had been telling me to get a lawyer for six months.  And I had dropped the ball.  Now I felt like my chances of finding a good lawyer were gone.  But God had my back.  I told my oldest adult daughter what was going on when she asked how things were progressing.  And then she said I should just use her lawyer.  She had retained a lawyer who went up against her state to pay the required Medicare coverage that they were trying to deny coverage for.  This lawyer put the state’s very illegal case down in 5 minutes.  She is one of the best lawyers in the state.  So I figured I would give it a try.

The interview went  well.  I was surprised that she asked the perfect questions about my case and seemed to understand way beyond the answers I was giving her.  She ended up taking my case.  And then she told me that she had been married to a narcissist and knew exactly what I was going through.  The way she represented me in court and otherwise proved that point.  She was amazing.

If there is one criteria that you need to adhere to for your lawyer, it has to be someone experienced with narcissism.  Personal experience in addition to professional experience is icing on the cake!  She knew exactly what questions to ask my ex that would allow the other lawyers and judges to see exactly what was going on.

Do not hire a bulldog lawyer!  I know this sounds counterintuitive.  But your narcissist (and his possibly narcissistic lawyer working in tandem with him) will see this as a challenge and work even harder to bring you and your lawyer down.  Finding a balanced, well-spoken, knowledgeable lawyer will be your best defense against the  narcissist’s divorce tactics.

Have a Support Team in Place

Having a good support team in place is critical to your emotional, physcial, spiritual, and financial health.  And you need it long before you start thinking about court.  If you are just beginning this process, you need a counselor and a couple of trusted friends that you know will keep your business private.  They will be able to work with you to help you keep things balanced when you feel like you are going over the edge.  And they will be able to help you document what is going on in the best way.

If you go to church, having your counselor(s)  work with the church is a great and necessary step for them to also see what is going on from a neutral party.  It takes away the element of he said/she said.  But, if you find the church supporting the husband as the leader of the household without any accountability for his narcissistic behavior, you need to get out of that situation!  Find a church that will recognize the abuse for what it really is!  Unfortunately, there are still a lot of churches that think the man gets to rule over the woman and children and dominate them instead of loving and relating to them.  Don’t get caught up in that kind of cultish behavior!

Make Sure All Communication With Your Narcissist is in Writing

I know I have already talked about this point a few times already in reference to helping you get a jump on the narcissist’s divorce tactics, but I really want to emphasize it here.  You MUST make sure all communication is in writing!  And you need to make sure that you aren’t talking with your narcissist in private because he will use it all against you.

Beyond being able to prove your narcissist’s words when he changes the story, there are direct benefits for you by getting everything in writing.  It allows you to see things clearly when your thoughts and memories are foggy.  You can reference back to see what was actually said and how accurate it is to what you believe or remember.

And, of course, it will be invaluable in court and with your lawyer as they build your case.  Just make sure that you are honest–about absolutely everything!  One small lie can evaporate your credibility.  You narcissist will lose his credibility on his own.  Your honesty will stand in stark contrast to his lies.  It may be your single biggest defense against his lies!

Be Willing to Give Your Narcissist Some Wins in the Courtroom

Your narcissist will be fighting to win with every tool he has.  The narcissist’s divorce tactics will not include anything that will cut you a break.  One of the hallmarks of every narcissist as to be seen as a winner and never a loser.  And believe it or not, there are some things you can give him in court to make him feel like he is winning and maybe let up on the battle a little bit.

Decide what you really want to protect.  I chose the custody case over the finances and actually gave up a significant amount of money so that he felt like he was getting something valuable.  He didn’t relate to his children on a personal level, so his custody fight was more to punish us than to get more time with them.  But the money–that is what spoke to him the most.  And honestly, if I could get to the point I was financially independent enough to tell him to keep his money, he would have nothing left to hold over my head.

Will the Judge See Through the Narcissist in Court?

If you have a lawyer who is well-versed in the narcissist’s divorce tactics, you will have no problem proving to the court and the judge that your narcissist is abusing you and your family.  Your lawyer will also be able to make sure the guardian-ad-litem or other supporter for your  children understands clearly.

Your lawyer will know what questions to ask to bring out the true thoughts and feelings of your narcissist.  And often, the narcissist will start spewing out abusive thoughts and bragging about abusive things they have done because they don’t see their abuse as it really is.  They see it as them leading their family or maintaining control over their possessions.  Most judges will not see family members as possessions the way your narcissist does, though.

My lawyer also reserved a whole day for the judge so that she could make sure the judge understood everything very clearly.  And it worked perfectly.  By the end of the six hours we had in front of the judge, she understood well what was going on.  And she lit into him about his behavior throughout the six hours, but especially in her decision.

It turned out that in our case, the judge was a devout Christian and she was absolutely horrified by the fact that my ex was willing to abuse his family religiously among most other forms of abuse.  And she let him know that when she told him he would not be able to see his son on Sundays anymore.  She also only allowed visitation in public places and not in his home or for overnights.  He gets 6 hours one week and 3 hours every other week until our son is old enough to say he doesn’t want to anymore.

I can’t guarantee what your judge will decide or that their decision will even be fair.  But I do know that if you do all of the best preparation you can for you and your legal team, your chances will be much better.  That is all you can do!  And if you are a spiritual person, pray!


There are a lot of moving parts in fighting your narcissist’s divorce tactics.  But if you take them one at a time and put your best and most honest foot forward, you will have done all you can to make life better.

Your narcissist can seem very charming and convincing at first, just like he was when you met him.  But with a savvy lawyer and lots of evidence, you can show the judge his true colors.

Are you in the middle of a court case now?  Or are you jsut started the process and have no idea where to begin?

I would love to hear your story.  Please feel free to share below, or if you don’t feel safe commenting in a public forum, feel free to contact me here.

Blessings and hugs,

If you found this article valuable, I think you will also find the following articles valuable:

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband

What is the Narcissist Divorce Rate?

Who Does a Narcissist Marry?

How Many Times Does a Narcissist Marry?

Narcissists and Marriage:  The Complete Picture

How Does a Narcissist Stay Married for so Long?

Does Narcissism Worsen With Age?

Does a Narcissist Realize What They’ve Lost?

Do Narcissists End up Alone?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Father?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Mother?

Will a Narcissist Hurt Their Child?

Can Narcissists be Good Parents?

Can Narcissists Love Their Children?

How Can You Tell if Someone is a Religious Narcissist?

Can Two Narcissists be in Relationship With Each Other?

Understanding the Tactics of a Religious Narcissistic Father 

Dealing With the Trauma of a Religious Narcissistic Mother

When Narcissism Becomes Pathological

Will God Punish a Narcissist?

What to do When Your Narcissist Threatens You

The Bible Used as a Weapon Against You:  You Can Overcome! 

What Does the Bible Say About Abusive Husbands?

The Link Between Spiritual Abuse and Narcissism

Why Narcissists Want to Apear Godly

What Healing From a Narcissist Looks Like

Why Narcissists Love Going to Church 

How Religious Narcissists Think

Are Narcissists Evil?

Narcissistic Behavior:  What to Look Out For

Praying for Your Narcissistic Husband

Are Spiritual Narcissists Overt or Covert? 

Religious Trauma Syndrome:  How to Preserve Your Spiritual Journey

How to Navigate Religious Narcissistic Parents

What Happens to the Soul of a Narcissist?

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist? 

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist

What Can we Say to a Christian Friend Who’s Divorcing?

Why Does God Hate Divorce? 

12 Ways the Church Helps Narcissists Abuse Their Victims

When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist do When You try to Leave?

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

What Does the Bible say About Narcissism?

Can a Narcissist be a Christian?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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