The Realities of Divorcing a Narcissist: Meanness and Petty Cruelties

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years analyzing, lamenting about and discussing the complex subject of divorce and narcissism. Why? Because it’s a major issue that a frightening number of spouses have had to deal with personally during their marriages and divorces in recent years. In representing people from all over St. Johns, Lansing, Eaton County, and Jackson County, we’ve seen just how devastating it can be to spend years in a relationship with a narcissist. And how destructive, abusive and intimidating they can be during, and even after the divorce process. Sadly, we see these bullies and their petty cruelties in nearly every county that we work in. 

A large wooden mallet coming down to crush a delicate egg in an egg cup.

Narcissists have predictable patterns they follow, especially when confronted with challenges to their power and control. They deeply resent it when their victims, who they have worked hard to undermine and control over the course of the marriage, stand up to them. So when someone decides to divorce a narcissist, they’re usually “punished” for that choice. And the punishment tends to come in the form of endless viciousness and spite. It doesn’t stop and it won’t stop unless somebody intervenes to put an end to it. 

Narcissists will resort to cruelties for no other reason beyond hurting you.

A recent story published by highlighted this exact problem. They shared a story written by a wife about how her narcissistic husband kept her wedding dress and refused to give it back to her. The dress, she explained, was something that she treasured (despite the fact that she wore it to marry her abuser) because it’s selection and symbolism were so precious to her.

She had been with her grandmother the day she first tried it on, and her grandmother, now deceased, had cried when she saw her step out of the dressing room. This lady wrote about how special that day with her grandmother had been, and how beautiful she had felt when wearing it. The dress itself has no resale value, and can’t be worn by her spouse (even if he wanted to, it wouldn’t fit him.) So he has no reason to refuse to give it to her, beyond simply punishing her by depriving her of something that was precious to her. . 

Narcissists are experts at emotionally torturing their spouses.

The lady with the wedding dress says she has begged him. She has sent copious emails asking him to give it back, and explaining why she desperately wants it, and why he has no reason to keep it from her. Her lawyer has repeatedly approached his lawyer in an effort to discuss terms for getting it back. Nothing has worked. Why? Because her spouse is a narcissist. And narcissists, when you leave them, translate their rage into an endless series of cruelties and little unkindnesses in an effort to get back at you.

An attorney with more experience dealing with narcissistic bullies would have quickly requested a court order to return the wedding dress. That would have been the proper strategy for two reasons. First, to get the wedding dress back. And secondly, to send the message to the bully that his antics will not be tolerated any longer. It’s a slow process that we’ve done many times. Beating the bully down. Making the narcissist accountable to the judge. Over and over again. It’s a process but the victim has to begin it sometime or the bad conduct will just continue. 

Narcissistic partners have spent years getting to know their victims. They know all the buttons to push, all the dials to tweak in order to cause the maximum amount of pain. And they derive great pleasure from hurting you. After all, you’ve “hurt” them by not doing what you’re told, and now you need to be put back in your place and made to pay for what you’ve done (like filing for divorce). It may not make any sense to a rational person, but to a narcissist it’s the only thing that matters.

Do you want to divorce a narcissistic spouse but are afraid of the consequences?

Divorcing a narcissist is a long and arduous process, drought with pain and obstacles. They are calculating, and will go to extreme lengths to punish their spouses for leaving them while simultaneously playing the victim to everyone else. They care very much about how they appear to others. They are sneaky, devious, and experts at manipulation. Which is why you can’t do this alone. You need help from someone who understands the particular cruelties you’re up against. You need a divorce lawyer who knows what narcissism looks like, and how to deal with it during the entire divorce process.

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and aggressive divorce lawyers have helped people from all over Ingham, Jackson, Eaton, Livingston and Clinton Counties work through their divorces from narcissistic spouses. We understand what you’re up against, and we know exactly how to manage these types of situations. So if you’re considering leaving an emotionally abusive and gaslighting spouse, call us immediately at 517 886 1000 and make sure you’re on a team of experts. We’re available 24 hours a day to help. We’ve got you – we can do this together.