While there are no definitive studies that talk about the rate of divorce, we do know that many spouses of narcissists get to the point that they can’t stand another minute. This often happens after many years, often 20-30. And usually, the narcissist already has the next spouse waiting in the wings, whether they realize it yet or not. Still, the narcissist actually does have regrets about the life they are leaving behind, but not like you would think.
So, how does a narcissist regret divorcing you? First, they DON’T regret losing you, because they are actually discarding you for the next supply. They have formed such contempt for you that they can’t really see the loss of relationship. What they DO regret is losing a really good source of supply, looking good in public, having to pay out large sums of money to support the family they are leaving, and more.
Let’s take a closer look at how the narcissist regrets divorcing you.
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Why the Narcissist Doesn’t Regret Divorcing You
The narcissist doesn’t regret divorcing you in the sense that they are losing a companion. They don’t see you as a person. They only see that you are no longer bowing to their every whim. When they want you to jump, you say no thanks. And you set up boundaries to protect yourself from their manipulation and control. That prevents them from getting what they “need” from you.
Not only does the narcissist not regret losing your companionship, they are extremely angry that you would put them in the position they find themselves in. Their lies are being called out. They can’t seem to get you to do what they demand. They are fearful that their spouse or children will give away their lack of control in public and they will be shamed. And the more shame and anger they feel, the more they will spiral out of control. Until they turn into a raging maniacal lunatic that your whole family has to avoid like the plague.
But all of this is not to say that they don’t have regrets. They certainly do!
What the Narcissist Does Regret About Divorcing You
There are actually tons of reasons that the narcissist regrets divorcing you, even though they have nothing to do with you and everything to do with what it is costing the narcissist. Let’s take a look at the major ones here (although I bet you can add more from your own experiences to this list).
- Narcissists regret not having someone to order around and expect complete obedience. First, you are no longer jumping every time he barks an order. And whatever supply he has waiting in the wings may be working hard to please him, but he can’t order her around in the love-bombing phase.
- Narcissist regret not having their children around to do all of their grunt work, whether it’s the yard work, dishes, cleaning, or whatever household work. My ex constantly used to say that our kids were his personal slaves. I would laugh along with him, thinking he was joking. Until one day I realized he was totally not joking. His favorite thing to do on Saturdays was make the kids clean the garage that he trashed through the week while he puttered around the house doing whatever he wanted. Now, he has nobody to clean his garage. His new wife certainly isn’t going to.
- Narcissists regret that they are going to have to pay out a significant amount of money after divorcing and leaving their family. Unfortunately, as much as it does cost them, it still puts the wife and kids in a less than favorable situation. In our case, we are living extremely conservatively in an apartment after he forced us out of the family home (he took the money and left me unable to pay the mortgage and unwilling to pay it unless we left and he moved back in. The courts were backed up so much that my credit would have been ruined if I had stayed to fight). And he is now with his current wife in her home, living as though he has not a financial care in the world. But yet he will tell everyone how he’s taking such good care of us and can’t figure out why we would leave him when he has loved us so much. BUT: we actually love living in our little apartment compared to life with him in our large home. We will land on our feet and be just fine!
- Narcissists regret that the divorce meant that the public saw things were not perfect in their home. They feel they will be seen as not in total control of their household and family. And because they view control as a necessary part of being the “best,” they feel shame that others see them as not the best.
- Narcissists regret that they get called out for their bad behavior. Counselors, church leadership, lawyers, judges, mediators, and many others tried to speak truth into my ex. But instead of listening to them and trying to heal, he went further off the rails. The public outbursts, anger, and dishonesty was seen by all in moments that he became so infuriated that he lost control. Realizing later that he had been seen in that manner had to be incredibly difficult to him, but not enough to make amends and return. Just enough to go start a totally new life.
- Narcissists regret getting caught. But only because they’ve been discovered, not because they feel bad about what they’ve done. They have to look like they are winning, and divorce certainly does not look like winning.
- They regret that somehow they lost the ability to love bomb you and get you willing to comply with anything they tell you to do. And they likely fear that the next one will eventually walk away as well. Until they talk themselves back into thinking that they are too good for anyone to refuse or resist.
There are plenty more, but this list gives you a pretty good idea.
How to Work Through Your Own Regrets in Divorcing a Narcissist
On the flip side, there are certainly regrets that you have from the marriage. How did you not see what you were getting into? Suddenly, the red flags that you excused away can no longer be unseen. They are now so obvious. Why didn’t you stand up for yourself better? How did you allow your thinking to become so cloudy? How did you manage to lose yourself in your spouse’s huge ego and personality? This list also can go on forever.
What you are guilty of is having compassion and not expecting perfection. For being forgiving of things that happened from the very beginning. And for loving them and having hope for many years that your spouse would eventually see your love for them and come around. Except that instead of coming around, things became much worse.
Your mind can play funny tricks on you during this time. Like the fact that even if you regret marrying your narcissist, you can’t regret the kids you have that are a product of the marriage. And good things happened between you and your narcissist. They aren’t 100% evil. Nobody is.
So, the best way to work through the regrets of being married to a narcissist is to realize that everything is not black and white. And to let the anger turn into long distance compassion. If you are a Christian, pray for your narcissist, even after divorce. Feel sorrow for whatever it was that caused them to put on this horrible mask and be willing to dehumanize everyone they are in relationship with.
And move on in healing for you and your children! Don’t sit in that regret for longer than you need to. Feel it, then deal with it and move on. If that includes venting to a friend or two and a counselor (and yes, it absolutely should include those things), then do it sooner than later!
Narcissists definitely regret getting divorced, but not for any of the same reasons that you feel and work through regret. They only regret that they are not still being treated like God Himself. They will quickly forget that regret the moment their next source of supply falls in line.
If you are currently going through a divorce and not sure where to turn, you have to get your hands on a book called, Will I Ever be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family. My pastor’s wife gave me this book when she was helping our family through the mess. And it gave me such clarity in the middle of the chaos that I couldn’t see my way out of. I am sure it will help you too!
How did your narcissist show his regret? Did you see different behaviors than listed above? How did you work through them? How did you work through your own regret and subsequent emotional growth? What advice would you give to a friend experiencing all of this? I would love to hear your story.
Feel free to comment below, or if you don’t feel safe commenting in a public forum, feel free to contact me here.
Blessings and hugs,
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