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My spouse is a narcissist. How will that impact our divorce in Connecticut?

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Sarah S. Oldham - Family Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Sarah S. Oldham

Located in Westport, CTRutkin, Oldham & Griffin, LLC

Phone: 800-591-6471
Fax: 203-222-9295

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Make no mistake, there is no easy answer for dealing with narcissists in any situation.

Here is a common divorce scenario in the Greenwich, Connecticut, area. (For the sake of this example, we will say the narcissist is male). The husband has been very successful on Wall Street. He is super smart. He demeans his subordinates at work, and he burns bridges. At home, he does what narcissists do. He is controlling and manipulative. He rarely accepts fault, and he cannot accept criticism. He might be abusive.

Finally, the other spouse has had enough and wants a divorce. The problem is: how do you deal with a narcissist in the divorce process?

To begin, it is important to “keep your eye on the ball.” In other words, keep the goal in mind. You want to achieve a fair divorce settlement, with the least damage to you, your children and to the value of your assets.

Unfortunately, narcissists typically want to win at all costs, even if this means spending an inordinate amount of money on the divorce.

Let the narcissist know right away that he is not going to steamroll through the divorce and get everything he wants. To send this signal, it can be productive for your attorney to select an issue early in the process and approach it with assertiveness and strength.

This accomplishes two things. One, it tells the narcissist he will not get his way and his typical tactics will not work. Two, it teaches the other spouse that setting boundaries in a relationship can change the dynamic of how the relationship functions.

As the divorce process continues, it is vital to continue to “corral” the narcissist with strong legal strategy and tactics.

Finally, it is crucial to hire an attorney who knows how to deal with narcissists. This is not a situation where you want your attorney to be learning as he or she goes along.

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