Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorce is always difficult and life-altering. When you’re divorcing a narcissist, there’s a whole other layer of manipulation and controlling behaviors involved. And, as painful as it is, it is less uncommon than you’d hope.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost half of all marriages end in divorce. If you are planning, experiencing, or have recently gone through a divorce with a narcissist, there are things you should know about starting over.

How Divorcing a Narcissist Affects Your Health

Research tells us that while most people are resilient after a divorce, surveys indicate that 10-15% of divorced people find it very difficult to manage to start over. If you’re dealing with a narcissist during divorce, you’re probably in that 10 to 15%, sadly. This means that your divorce was or will be quite traumatic. You may be feeling stuck, confused, lost, and abandoned.

Mental Health and Stress Issues When Divorcing a Narcissist 

You might feel like dealing with narcissistic abuse for as long as you have could leave you without the skills to cope with loss and start over. And you would not be alone in that feeling – as it turns out, we have seen thousands of narcissistic abuse survivors struggle through divorcing a narcissist. You might suffer from increased anxiety, depression, and a variety of symptoms related to C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) related to narcissistic abuse in your toxic relationship, both during and after the relationship.

You might also feel excessive stress that can lead to additional mental and physical effects. Due to the rejection you feel during divorce, you might struggle with even deeper mental health and emotional wellness issues. In a study published by Ovid Technologies, researchers found that oxytocin, a pleasure hormone associated with social bonding, may have protective health benefits. A separate study published in the American Journal of Science showed that the brain areas that sense pain are also activated with social rejection.

And, according to one researcher, dealing with your parents’ divorce as a child increases your risk for divorce. This makes sense for narcissistic abuse survivors on a deeper level, as a large percentage of narcissistic abuse survivors are also the adult children of narcissists, according to my own research and experience.

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), which measures the relationship between life events, stress, and illness, tells us that divorce is rated as one of the top stressors – and this is just general divorce – not necessarily divorce involving a narcissist. Divorce is topped only by changing jobs in the list of stressors. Other top stressors include moving to a new place

Physical Health Issues When Divorcing a Narcissist 

Divorcing a narcissist can be all-consuming, but it’s very important that you put yourself and your health first if you’re going to survive this safely. If you’re not careful, divorcing a narcissist can have serious physical health ramifications. Not only could your brain health be affected in surprising ways, but you might even die earlier than you would have otherwise. A study published in the Association for Psychological Science journal shows that people who are separated or divorced have a 23% greater mortality rate than married people.

With that being said, ongoing narcissistic abuse is known to cause mental and physical health issues that might even be more profound – and divorce may be the first step you must take in order to begin to heal yourself from the long-term trauma you’ve been dealing with. In any case, when you’re dealing with divorcing a narcissist, you’ve got to take good care of yourself.

Research tells us that staying physically healthy and mentally positive are the most effective ways to overcome the health risks associated with divorcing a narcissist.

Starting Over After Divorcing a Narcissist 

Staying mentally positive can help you overcome challenges and be resilient when starting over after a divorce. You can do some basic things to help yourself be resilient.

  • Do your research
  • Let yourself feel
  • Get professional help
  • Self-care
  • Practice coping skills
  • Embrace challenges

Research is a really easy way to empower yourself during any stage of a divorce. I always say that knowledge is power, and that is definitely true when it comes to divorce. There are many amazing self-help books you can read that are specifically related to overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships, including some on divorcing a narcissist (see our favorites here), a variety of narcissistic abuse recovery support systems you can engage, and professional legal resources available to help emotionally, mentally, and financially.

Learn What Other Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Have Experienced in Divorcing a Narcissist 

Since divorce with a narcissist might be more common than you’d expect, there are many others who have survived it. Their stories, ideas, and advice can help you start over. See some narcissistic abuse survivor stories here.

But be careful here and don’t allow anyone else’s experience overshadow what you are going through. How you feel may be different from what others have experienced, and my friend, that is completely okay. You are not required to relate or to do anything because of anyone else’s experience. Divorcing a narcissist is difficult and painful and the experience, as well as the healing, is going to be completely individualized for each person who experiences it.

That’s why it’s so important that you give yourself time to process your feelings instead of bottling them up or pushing them aside. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my own recovery from divorcing a narcissist was not allowing myself to take the time I needed to grieve the relationship. I thought that because I was “out,” things would just immediately get better. And in some ways, they did – but I needed to take the time to mourn the relationship.

Things to Avoid When Divorcing a Narcissist 

Going through narcissistic abuse is, on its own, an extended trauma in your life. Pile divorce on top of it, and you’re looking at a whole new level of concern. It is never easy, and we all make mistakes in the process. But if you are at all able to avoid the following, you will be doing yourself a big favor when it comes to your narcissistic abuse recovery process (not to mention the process of moving on after your divorce).

  • Avoid doing anything, especially making life-changing decisions, out of desperation. Always take time to THINK before you act, even if that means you refuse to make any decision related to the divorce on the spot. Get away from the narcissist and take some time to think in a stress-free zone.
  • Don’t allow the narcissist to treat your children as negotiation or manipulation tools. Do your best to keep any kids you have out of discussions that do not involve custody or the business of raising them. Stay calm and only focus on FACTS when you must communicate about the children. Try to keep your emotional energy to yourself during the divorce – at least when it comes to the narcissist and their flying monkeys.
  • Don’t share everything on social media. Be careful with how much you share about your divorce and/or your soon-to-be-ex on social media. Rather than posting on your persona page, consider joining a private online narcissistic abuse recovery and/or divorcing a narcissist support group.
  • Be careful to avoid developing or resuming bad habits or addictions. This one is harder, but while occasional indulgences might not hurt, long-term bad habits can be hard to break. Focus instead on what you can do to make yourself and/or your life better in this process. So, rather than eating ice cream every day to feel less stressed, or having a glass of wine (or three), maybe you could add in a stress-relieving walk or a daily meditation session. (Or if you’re like me, your walk can BECOME your daily meditation!)
  • Avoid becoming a hermit. Divorce can lead to social isolation. Don’t get back together with your ex or date anyone available out of desperation or loneliness. Try socializing with friends or using your time for medication and self-care instead of engaging in risky behaviors. I suggest you wait a minimum of one year beyond the finalization of your divorce to allow yourself to have plenty of time to heal.

Divorcing a Narcissist When You Have Kids

If your divorce will involve children, you might be interested in getting this free toolkit designed to help you smoothly transition into being a single parent.

Get the Help You Need When Divorcing a Narcissist 

You should not be going this whole “divorcing a narcissist” thing alone. There are plenty of resources available to you, whether you’re looking for one-on-one coaching narcissistic abuse recovery coaching, one-on-one divorce coaching, a support group, or even a therapist. In any case, it definitely helps to talk to someone, be they a coach, counselor, or another mental health professional during a divorce. In some cases, you might even be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who is willing to listen and who may understand.

Since divorce is one of the top life stressors, don’t take this lightly – your health is essential, and NOT getting the help you need can put you at unnecessary risk. Even just talking out your problems with a friend can make a difference and allow you to develop resilience.

Remember too that self-care should have a space on your priority list. While there may be practical issues to manage, like living arrangements and dividing property, do not forget to make time to allow yourself to heal. You will need to practice your coping skills to start over and seeing a professional can help you build the resilience you need. Embrace the challenges of starting over with the knowledge that you are creating a new, different, and better life for yourself.

Divorce is almost never easy, and narcissists make it miserable. At times, it may feel like your whole world has changed, and that’s because it has – but my friend, that can be a very good thing if you allow it to be. Point your eyes toward your future and start intentionally choosing what comes next. You can take charge by starting over with an intentional mindset with focused and specific goals as you move forward. You might even want to consider strategizing your own personal “comeback” with one of our coaches.

Resources for Divorcing a Narcissist

 

Why Being Raised By a Narcissist Might Cause You to Marry One

Why Being Raised By a Narcissist Might Cause You to Marry One

Narcissistic Parents and the Damaging Effects on Your Adult Relationships: Toxic Family Legacy

Can being raised by a narcissist cause you to marry a narcissist?

If you’re married to a narcissist or in a long-term relationship with one, you may have also been raised by a toxic parent. This seems to be the case more often than not. Of course, there are other reasons you can end up with a narcissist, such as other types of childhood trauma and low-self esteem. But most of the time, people who were raised by healthy parents and who have reasonable self-esteem will not tolerate the abuse that comes with being involved with a narcissist.

So, let me ask you a few questions.

  • If you were raised by a toxic parent who may have been a narcissist, did you also end up marrying one?
  • And did you ever wonder exactly why you chose to get into a toxic relationship – and why you couldn’t see it in the first place?
  • Do you ever as, yourself why you married the wrong person?

In this video, I’ll explain why narcissistic parents and the damaging effects of being raised by them can lead you to find yourself married to a narcissist, or at least continuing in toxic relationships long after you leave your family of origin.

Get Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Here

Were you raised by a narcissist? If so, these resources will be helpful for you.

Help With Recovery from Toxic Parents

Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

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BE LIMITLESS – learn how to embrace your true power!

BE LIMITLESS – learn how to embrace your true power!

Has being with a narcissist left you living in a perpetual state of fear?

Does your life make you feel helpless to change anything?

Are you living in a perpetual state of fear?

You are not alone – and it is NOT your fault!

Did you know that more people are afraid to succeed than they are to fail?

There is one big reason for this, and it may surprise you when you learn about it.

When people fail, they can find all kinds of reasons or excuses as to why they failed. Well-meaning friends and family members might chime in as to why things didn’t work out.

They will say things like, “it wasn’t meant to be” or “your heart wasn’t in it.”

But they just don’t seem to get what happened – they don’t understand what you’ve been through, do they?

It is NOT your fault.

The truth is that when you’ve been involved with a narcissist, you often live your life based on your fears. Your decisions are driven and dictated by this fear that may have become intrinsic in you, thanks to your abuse.

It’s time to take back your life, and to STOP operating out of fear.

You deserve to be happy.

You deserve to succeed – and you CAN.

When people succeed, there are no excuses.

The steps they took worked. Perhaps it was a fluke that it worked. But what if it happens again? Then, there is no way out of it. Failure has an escape plan; success does not.

The reason people are afraid of success is it forces them out of their comfort zone. They now have to solidify their game plan and continue on the successful path. They can no longer tell people it can’t be done because they did it. It’s proven.

In this five-day course, you’ll learn how to let go of limitations – those you’ve imposed on yourself and those others have imposed on you – and you’ll learn what it takes to become the person you truly want to be.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the life you really want?

You can start right here.

What You Get When You Take This Course:

*5 days of audio books and downloadable PDF lessons

*Printable affirmations and reflection questions for each day

*A printable journal to help you take your life to the next level

Are you ready to change your perception and change your life?

Start right now by signing up for this course!

Simple Strategies to Sneak More Nutritious Foods into Your Kids’ Meals

Simple Strategies to Sneak More Nutritious Foods into Your Kids’ Meals

It can be a battle to get your kids to eat healthy foods. They snub broccoli, yell if they get cauliflower, and cry over carrots. They may even be of the opinion that anything that’s good for them must taste bad.

Fortunately, you don’t have to fight over vegetables and fruits every day at mealtime. There are easy and creative ways you can get your kids to eat their veggies, and like it!

Try these easy fixes to forego the arguments while serving healthy, nutritious foods to your children:

1. Learn to puree foods. If you can puree vegetables and fruits, then it’s easier to add them to any meal without your kids even noticing.

  •  You can use a blender to puree foods. Another option is to cook the vegetables and fruits, then mash them with a fork or other utensil until they’re soft.
  •  Once you’ve pureed the healthy foods, add them to dishes like soups, sauces, or salad dressings. It’s also easy to add them to meatballs or similar foods.

2. Add more fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can really enhance the taste and flavor of your meals. Your kids may actually learn to love fresh herbs if you present them as a fun way to dress up their meals instead of a requirement to eat healthy.

3. Change cooking oils. Your kids probably won’t notice if you change the cooking oil. By changing cooking oils, you can get healthier fats into your daily dishes.

  • Use olive oil or coconut oil. They’re both delicious, and your kids will enjoy eating them. Avocado oil is another option that has healthy fats that are good for your heart.

4. Sneak greens into pasta dishes. You can add spinach or other green leafy vegetables to noodles and pasta after they’re cooked. Chop them into very small pieces.

5. Make more smoothies and juices. It’s easy to add a variety of vegetables and fruits to smoothies and juices. As long as the final product has some sweetness, your kids may actually beg you to make these more often.

  •  You can add spinach, lettuce, carrots, peppers, and other veggies to the mix. Balance the flavors by including sweet fruits like strawberries, bananas, or blueberries.
  •  You can even add healthy spices like turmeric that your kids won’t notice.
  •  Another option is to add protein from protein powder, whey, or even scoop peanut butter into the mix.

Your breakfast, lunch, or dinner doesn’t have to turn into a battle over healthy food. Try creative ways to sneak more fruits and vegetables into your kids’ diets. They may never know your techniques, but they’ll certainly reap the health benefits.

Toxic Relationships: 44 warning signs you’re being emotionally abused

Toxic Relationships: 44 warning signs you’re being emotionally abused

44 Warning Signs That You're Being Emotionally Abused by a NarcissistAs someone who has survived and thrived despite having experienced various forms of emotional abuse, thanks to involvement with narcissists in my own life, it was often hard to see while I was in the “thick of it.”

So how do you know if the relationship is really emotionally abusive? When it’s physical abuse, it’s often pretty obvious, but emotional abuse can be incredibly hard to detect, especially if your victimizer is a narcissist.

On the plus side, there are plenty of warning signs.

If your significant other is a narcissist, he (or she) might engage in certain narcissistic behaviors and types of manipulation, such as the ever-pervasive gaslighting tactic that is the bane of so many victims of narcissistic relationships.

How to Know if You’re Being Emotionally Abused

Does your significant other:

  1. Isolate you and prevent you from spending time with friends or family members?
  2. Force you to account for your time when apart from him?
  3. Act really jealous and possessive sometimes?
  4. Make excessive and unreasonable demands for your attention, even to the detriment of your other responsibilities?
  5. Make everything “all about him?”
  6. Make you the scapegoat for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
  7. Consider himself the “boss” and insist on making all the decisions in your relationship/family/life?
  8. Snoop through your stuff? Does he refuse to allow any privacy? Does he go through your mail, hack your email or Facebook account or go through your personal belongings?
  9. Get excessively angry without warning or over tiny things?
  10. Have the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” deal happening – where one side of him seems  charming or even sweet and loving, while the other is mean, spiteful and downright hurtful?
  11. Play games with your head? Tell lies in order to confuse you or blame you for something you didn’t do?
  12. Become overly critical of everything about you when you don’t do what he wants?
  13. Take control of everything in your life, such as your finances?
  14. Feel entitled to everything from your attention and UNCONDITIONAL respect, regardless of how he treats you?
  15. Feel entitled to your financial or other kinds of support?
  16. Cause damage and/or give away/steal your personal property?
  17. Harass you whenever you’re away from him because you have to be (such as work or school)?
  18. Make threats about how he will “ruin you” or otherwise cause trouble for you at work, to your family or to others?
  19. Say overly critical things about your body and appearance?
  20. Have weird sexual issues?
  21. Become excessively pushy or forceful about sex, or even hurt you during sex?
  22. Become angry or sullen (or even display narcissistic injury) if you don’t go along with his sexual demands?
  23. Drink excessively or take drugs, and then blame his awful behavior on alcohol, drugs or his own history of abuse or tragedy earlier in his life?
  24. Pressure you to use alcohol or other drugs, even when you say no?
  25. Cause you to become anxious about confronting him about literally anything?
  26. Threaten you with physical harm or make you feel afraid of how he will react when you speak or act in general?
  27. Manipulate you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending narcissistic rage?
  28. Make you feel like you’re always “walking on eggshells” or living with constant stress, anxiety or generally in fear?
  29. Withhold affection in order to punish you?
  30. Give you the “silent treatment” when you don’t do what he wants?
  31. Humiliate you?
  32. Expect you to ask for permission to do stuff, as though you’re a child?
  33. Threaten to hurt himself when he doesn’t get his way or if you threaten to leave?

Physical Abuse: DO NOT WAIT! 

Listen, emotional abuse is awful and can make you completely miserable. But physical abuse is a whole other ball of wax. While you should never stay in an abusive situation, you have to remember that when physical abuse is a factor, there is absolutely no fixing it – and your life could literally depend on you getting away safely.

Ask yourself, does your significant other:

  1. Physically abuse you in any way? Push, shove, grab, punch, hits or strike you with hands or fists?
  2. Threaten or assault you with weapons, such as household objects or knives?
  3. Blame you for his abusive behavior, saying things such as “look what you made me do,” or “well, if you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have had to hit you?”

If so, there is no time to waste – get help and get out before it’s too late. Here are some resources for you.

Sexual Abuse: GET OUT NOW!

According to Dr. Phil, the following are signs of sexual abuse. If you’re being sexually abused, you can’t wait – you need to get out ASAP. If you don’t have any support (which is unfortunately common for victims of narcissism and abuse, since abusers often isolate their victims), start here, and check out these resources as well.

You are being sexually abused if your partner:

  1. Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
  2. Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
  3. Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
  4. Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts.
  5. Held you down during sex.
  6. Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you.
  7. Involved other people in sexual activities with you.
  8. Ignored your feelings regarding sex.

More Resources for Victims of Narcissists

Visit the QueenBeeing Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resources & Support Page

If you’re in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you might want to read one of these books.

Are you experiencing (or have you experienced) emotional abuse in a toxic relationship? Find out for sure by taking this quiz.

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