One of our clients lucked out when it came to divorcing her narcissistic husband. He had threatened to leave her many times during the 17 years they’d been married, and she always ended up begging him to stay. However, when she finally realized her marriage was toxic and she needed to get out, she simply waited until he got angry and told her he had decided they should get divorced… and she told him he was right, as usual. (This way he could feel like it was his idea and she was just agreeing with him.)
An abuser doesn’t let go of their victims easily
For most people in abusive relationships, however, it’s never that simple. Abusers, whether they’re physically violent or psychologically manipulative, always want to keep the upper hand. They like being in control, and they like having a victim that feeds into their delusions of superiority. So unless the divorce happens to be their idea, they’re not going to take kindly to being “left” or “abandoned” by the person they thought they were controlling. So how do you do it and keep yourself from being sucked back in?
If you’re leaving an abuser, you need to:
- Have a good support system in place. Get a therapist or counsellor who can help you work through your codependent issues, and rebuild your self esteem. Victims of abuse are systematically broken down over time by their abusers. You need to work on building yourself back up, and you can’t do it alone.
- Work towards independence. Save some money if you are able to. Get a job. Reach out to friends and family to reestablish relationships. Whatever you can do to gain autonomy and set yourself up for success living alone, or at least as a single person, is a good thing.
- Work on being more assertive, and learning how to set boundaries. The stronger you get as a person, and the more easily you are able to protect yourself from others who would use you as a doormat, the brighter and better your future is likely to be.
- Get a good lawyer. Not every family law attorney knows how to deal with a manipulative spouse, or has handled divorces where one of the spouses is a narcissist. It takes a special kind of patience and a very thick skin to deal with the level of vindictiveness present in toxic marriages.
- If you or your children are at risk of physical harm, get out immediately and seek safety. If you don’t know of a local shelter, or have a family member willing to harbor you, talk to your attorney. They will be able to help you get to safety.
Leaving an abusive relationship is very hard
Current statistics show that the average victim leaves their abuser up to seven times before they are able to stay away for good. This cycle of leaving and returning, which is often the result of trauma bonding, is hard for people to understand when they haven’t experienced it themselves. But abuse is insidious, and most victims need a lot of support in order to start life over after a toxic relationship.
Here at The Kronzek Firm we know what you’re up against
Over the many years that we’ve practiced family law in mid-Michigan, we’ve helped a great many people work through divorces from abusive spouses. We know how to handle toxic spouses, and we’ve dealt with more than our fair share of narcissistic people. If you’re ready to end your marriage and get away from your abuser, call our skilled and compassionate divorce lawyers at 866 766 5245. We’re here round the clock to help.