Divorcing a Narcissist

Karyl McBride, a family therapist and author of “Will I Ever Be Free of You?” has dedicated her career to helping families with narcissists heal. She has found, through years of family therapy that, being married to a person with narcissistic personality disorder can be hard; divorcing them can prove to be even harder. 

What is Narcissism?

McBride explains that narcissistic personality disorder is manifested in a person’s inability to feel empathy or emotional awareness of the people around them. People affected with this disorder arrange their worlds to have them as the center.  Initially, a narcissist can be very charming, but this is only to manipulate the people around them into behaving in a way that is beneficial to them. Narcissistic people exploit people for their own gain and manipulate the people around them to serve them.

How Do I Know If My Spouse is Narcissistic?

Narcissism is a spectrum; many people have narcissistic traits, like being self-absorbed, but are still self-aware enough to recognize these behaviors or patterns as dangerous and unhealthy. Full-blown narcissists are completely unaware of their behavior.  According to Karyl: “full blown narcissistic personality disorder afflicts 8 percent of men and 5 percent of women.”

Protecting Yourself in Court

The Michigan court system is a great platform for a narcissist, as it allows people to seek revenge and make the other partner pay for their choices. Because narcissists are so good at persuading people and manipulating them, its important to have a dedicated Grand Rapids divorce lawyer on your side to make sure that your case is represented accurately and objectively.

Precautions to Take

Children are the best tool for a narcissistic parent to use to seek revenge on their spouse or ex-spouse, so making sure you are aware of how children are processing the divorce and knowing that they are loved and supported is important. Seeing a family therapist who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder can help this. 


Parker-Pope, T. (2015, August 24). Divorcing a Narcissist. The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2015