The majority of my client work is with individuals who are separated/divorced from a narcissistic ex. They all tell a similar story – the ex simply will not let go and continues to try to control and abuse them either through the children or court (often both).
When you separate or divorce a narcissist, their attachment networks are activated (disorganised and avoidant) resulting in intense anxiety from three sources:
- trauma related anxiety from the internal representations for attachment figures that contain a pattern of “abusive parent/victimized child”
- narcissistic anxiety from the threatened collapse of narcissistic defense against the experience of core self inadequancy
- borderline personality anxiety from an intense fear of abandonment activated by the loss of attachment figure (you)
The narcissist misattributes their anxiety as being an emotional signal that you are a threat.
They therefore have to go all out to nullify that threat with either a fight or flight response (trauma response). Usually they fight.
- lack of accountability (evident during the relationship as well) and blaming you for everything
- accusations of you being an unfit parent
- controlling and triangulating behaviours with you and the children in an attempt to navigate around your boundaries
- gross exaggerations
- involvement of police and other services to help with the projection (smear campaign)
- lies and delusional thinking
If you are just deciding to divorce your narcissistic ex, it is important you have a plan and get support. We advise:
For those of you who have been going through the divorce process for a while we offer this advice:
We are The Nurturing Coach understand the dynamics and behaviours of narcissists. We have seen and heard (as well as experienced) all the tricks in their armory. We know the games they will play and most importantly we understand the mechanisms behind their behaviour meaning you don’t need to “hope” that we get it. This expert insight can also help you to plan your strategy to target their weaknesses as they do yours.