Can Mediation Work When You’re Married to a Narcissist?

Narcissism has become an increasingly hot topic. As our society gains a better understanding of mental health and how it impacts our relationships, many people have found their partner is diagnosed with the disorder, or suspect they may be married to someone with narcissistic traits. Can you pursue divorce mediation when your spouse is a narcissist?

Narcissism and divorce

Narcissists can be overt (the type we’re used to seeing in pop culture) or covert, where the behavior patterns are similar but the expression is less flamboyant. They typically have a grandiose sense of self-importance and harbor fantasies of power, success, intelligence and beauty—and feel entitled to them. They need excessive admiration thanks to a fragile sense of self, and tend to exploit others without any sense of empathy, guilt or remorse.

Even though many narcissists have a bombastic outward personality, they are extremely insecure. Divorce is often threatening to them, which can make them defensive and aggressive. When they’re unable to keep their marriage the way they want it, they often try to make their spouses as miserable as possible. Gaslighting, a technique in which someone tries to make the other person doubt their own perceptions, is a common tool for narcissists.

Ultimately, these traits can make pursuing a traditional divorce difficult. Because mediation relies on both parties trying to reach a reasonable compromise, it’s not a good idea when one spouse is prone to lying, manipulating or aggression. There are no lawyers involved in mediation, which means that you won’t have an advocate to ensure you get your fair share of the marital assets and custody. If you decide to try mediation with a narcissist, be prepared for the possibility that you’ll still need to go to court to resolve your issues.

Interested in learning more about mediation? Contact the knowledgeable Long Island divorce meditators at Solutions Divorce Mediation today.

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