Divorcing A Narcissist

divorcing a narcissist

Entering divorce proceedings puts both spouses in a highly charged emotional environment. If your spouse has a narcissistic personality disorder, the weeks and months ahead are going to be more challenging and potentially dangerous.

At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, our Raleigh family law attorneys have handled many divorces in which one spouse’s mental health issues adversely affected the legal process required to obtain a divorce in North Carolina. We have helped clients deal with a narcissistic spouse’s impatience, combativeness, and sense of entitlement.

Our law firm offers the counsel of experienced and compassionate divorce and family law attorneys who are respected in Raleigh and across North Carolina. Attorney Charles Ullman is certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a Specialist in Family Law, a distinction earned by lawyers who have demonstrated a depth of knowledge in a specific area of law. Trust Charles Ullman & Associates to guide you through the process of separation and divorce efficiently and effectively.

Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable legal team to learn how we can help you.

What Is a Narcissist?

Does your husband or wife exhibit a heightened sense of self-confidence but become unreasonably angered by even the smallest slight? Does he or she demand attention and praise? Does he or she act like the world revolves around them?

If so, you may be married to a narcissist. You have probably spent years trying to soothe and please your spouse despite their selfishness, arrogance, and lack of empathy for others.

The Mayo Clinic describes narcissistic personality disorder as “a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence, they are not sure of their self-worth and are easily upset by the slightest criticism.”

A narcissistic personality disorder often causes problems in relationships, particularly marriage, which requires a balance of give and take from both spouses.

Symptoms of a Narcissist

Most likely, your spouse has never been properly diagnosed as a narcissist or even had a psychological evaluation, and you have tried to accommodate your spouse to deal with the situation. A narcissist is someone who displays such symptoms as:

  • Having an unreasonably high sense of self-importance and requiring constant, excessive praise.
  • Feelings of privilege and entitlement.
  • Bragging and arrogance, often despite few real accomplishments.
  • Criticizing people they consider unimportant.
  • Inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
  • Expecting favors and for others to do what they want without questions.
  • Insisting on having the best of everything — the best home, car or office, or romantic partner.
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy them.

Narcissistic personality disorder affects more men than women, the Mayo Clinic says. If you’ve finally reached your limit and decided that divorcing a narcissistic husband is the right step, a diagnosis is not what is most important now. You need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.

Dangers of Divorcing a Narcissistic Spouse

If you are considering seeking a divorce from a narcissistic spouse, we suggest you speak to a divorce lawyer who can help you prepare to file for divorce before notifying your spouse. A divorce is often seen as the failure of a marriage. A narcissist is not likely to take the idea well.

A narcissistic spouse may be surprised and confused by the idea that you would want to leave the marriage. They will almost certainly blame you. They may retreat into self-pity or lash out at you with criticism. After filing for divorce from a narcissistic spouse, you may be subject to email, texts, and voicemail insults, demands, threats, lectures, and other emotional outbursts.

A 2021 analysis of 437 independent studies concluded that “individuals with high levels of narcissism are prone to aggressive and violent behavior, especially when they are provoked.”

If you are being subjected to domestic violence, please contact our offices now for assistance or phone 911 if you are in immediate danger.

At the least, you can expect a narcissist to want to have everything their way in a divorce. They are likely to be inflexible when ideas that do not suit them are suggested. This can translate into problems when negotiating such issues as:

You need to engage a divorce attorney who has experience negotiating high-conflict contested divorces. You need a staunch advocate who understands the narcissistic personality and who will fight to help you seek what matters most to you.

Strategies for Divorcing a Narcissist

When you meet with Charles R. Ullman & Associates, we will start by sitting down with you so you may tell us your goals for a divorce. We will explain your rights under North Carolina divorce law.

We can begin work to help you obtain a legal separation from your spouse if needed. This will allow you to receive alimony, your share of marital assets, child custody, and child support pending an absolute divorce and dissolution of your marriage. Our objective will be to obtain a divorce order that meets your goals and needs and to protect you from being bullied into an unfair settlement agreement.

When preparing to negotiate the terms of your separation and divorce, we’ll be ready to use subpoenas and other discovery techniques to get necessary documents if your spouse is uncooperative. When it does not conflict with your interests, we will work to find areas of common agreement since wins are so important for a narcissist.

After you separate from a narcissistic spouse, you should begin documenting their unacceptable behavior, including any mistreatment of you personally, as well as any missed parenting time or other missed appointments, or missed support payments. When you notify us of such incidents, we can respond with letters or emails to demand compliance with your separation agreement. Because narcissists can be charming, the judge and others may not see the person you know when your divorce goes to court. Documenting your spouse’s behavior will help to show your self-centered and manipulative spouse for who they really are.

There may come a point at which you need to limit contact with a narcissistic spouse. If you have engaged us to handle your divorce, we can take over all communications with your spouse or their attorney to shield you from their narcissistic abuse and nonsense.

If necessary, we can help you obtain a restraining order, which is a legal order requiring the subject of the order to stay away from the petitioner. Under North Carolina law, emotional abuse such as continual insults, humiliation, mocking, and harassment directed at a spouse are acts of domestic violence.

We will be at your side every step of the way as we negotiate the terms of your divorce with your spouse and their lawyer. We will stand with you and speak for you in court. We will work quickly to develop your case, file your petition for separation and divorce and make sure your rights and interests are fully protected through all of the stages of divorcing a narcissist.

Contact Our Divorce Attorneys Today to Schedule a Consultation

At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, we recognize what is at stake for you and your family when divorcing a narcissistic husband or wife. There are many steps we can take to protect you from your spouse’s abuse and manipulation and ensure you end your marriage on your terms.

For more than two decades, the Raleigh divorce attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates have provided compassionate and professional legal services to individuals facing a contested separation and divorce. Clients from Raleigh, Wake County, and surrounding Triangle area cities and towns seek the assistance of our respected and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys.

Contact us online today or at (919) 829-1006 to schedule a confidential discussion of what you want from your divorce.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.