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Tips for divorcing a controlling, self-centered spouse

He or she used to be the most attractive person you'd ever met. He or she was charming, successful, confident, alluring...until the bliss of the honeymoon wore off. Then, you discovered the truth: Your spouse was far more concerned about power than about you. His or her self-centered ambitions began to manifest as manipulation, verbal or physical abuse, exploitation and more.

Such individuals, obsessed with themselves and blaming everyone else for life's problems, are often called "narcissists."According to an article on Forbes, you're likely to encounter some of the following issues if your soon-to-be ex is such a narcissist:

  • Your spouse won't provide requested financial documents.
  • He or she won't negotiate or compromise on anything.
  • He or she blames you entirely for the breakdown of the marriage.
  • He or she ignores the court's orders or his or her own lawyer's advice.
  • He or she fights for custody simply to gain leverage in the divorce.

So what can you do to protect yourself from your spouse's dangerous personality as you navigate the divorce process? Here are three tips:

1. Prepare for a financial battle. Make sure you have money available for litigation. You should also gather copies of all your financial documents and keep them in a safe place (out of your spouse's reach). Establishing credit in your own name is also a good idea.

2. Consider both your emotional and financial needs. You may want to find an empathetic therapist or counselor who can provide the emotional support you need to move forward in a healthy way. It's also wise to speak with a financial planner who can offer expert advice about your economic future.

3. Choose the right attorney. Pick a divorce lawyer who has experience dealing with narcissistic individuals and knows how to combat their tactics. Having the right legal advocate on your side can make a world of difference.

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