You’ve had enough of the manipulative behaviour and emotional abuse from your narcissist spouse.

Divorcing a Narcissist? Know What to Expect.

Although you’ve filed for divorce and want to move forward, your children are still going to have to deal with the narcissist parent. Until they’re old enough to make their own decisions about how to be in a relationship with both parents, they will continue to be subjected to manipulative behaviours and emotional distress.

It’s important that you know what to expect from your ex during the divorce and how this might impact your children. You want to be able to protect them and ensure their continued well-being. Even after the divorce, your kids are likely to be used by your narcissist ex. Nothing and no one is off-limits to keep their inflated ego intact.

 “Since narcissists deep down feel themselves to be faultless,

it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world,

they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault.”

-M. Scott Peck

Preparing for the future now could save you all a lot of grief in the future.

Your Narcissist Ex Wants to Win – No Matter What

Narcissists perceive themselves as perfect and having no faults.

As a result, your toxic ex sees themselves as the victim.  They will do anything to persuade others that you are the guilty party – including turning your own children against you. Your ex will go to great lengths to control the children, including lying and psychological manipulation.

To a narcissist, maintaining loyalty from their children is an important part of winning the divorce popularity contest. Since their already fragile ego has become damaged, they will lash out at anyone that rejects their own grandiose vision of themselves. Eventually, this will include the children, as they begin to realize that they have been lied to.

The Impact of a Narcissist on Your Kids

All children begin to question their parents’ ideas and principles as they get older. It’s a natural process in forming a self-identity and understanding their role in a family. Divorcing a spouse might prompt your children to start questioning sooner rather than later.

To a narcissist, direct challenges are seen as a threat and will not be tolerated. While your children are happy with your ex and providing the glowing approval a narcissist needs, they will receive good parenting.

Unfortunately, once this stops or begins to be questioned, a narcissistic parent will stop paying attention to them. That is, unless they can be used as a way to turn the spotlight back onto them. Either way, neglect and emotional abuse are likely to be the result.

The repercussions can be harsh for your child, with low self-esteem, stress, self-doubt and a lack of confidence being immediate results. Long-term impacts can occur too. When a child isn’t able to find their own identity and role in a family easily and with support, it can cause severe mental health issues further down the line.

5 Helpful Tips to Protect Your Children When You’re Divorcing a Narcissist

While your narcissist ex is trying to turn your children against you, you’re not in the best position to provide the support they need. Divorcing a narcissist is difficult: you will doubt yourself continually and your children may not open up to you. Especially if your ex is successful in turning them against you.

    1. Have your kids visit a counselor or therapist. While they may be reluctant to speak to a stranger, a neutral person is vital. Exploring thoughts and emotions without judgement is vital to keep their self-esteem and confidence high and prevent issues that might arise with their friendships and school life.
    2. Try to keep things as normal as possible in your day to day life. Your natural parental instincts to protect them can sometimes take over – but if you find yourself saying no to things more often, consider why that might be the case. Would you have said no before the divorce? Maintaining friendships, hobbies and a healthy school life are important for your children during the divorce.
    3. Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your children. A narcissist will do all they can to turn your children against you, and as a result, you might hear some upsetting comments from your children. It’s important to stay calm and divert the conversation away from your ex – and away from negative, unproductive comments.
    4. Look after yourself during the divorce process. Emergency instructions for a plane crash tell parents to put the oxygen mask on themselves first – before the children – as not doing so could mean neither survives. Divorcing a narcissist creates an emergency situation for you and your children. It is vital to take care of your mental health during this difficult time.
    1. Surround yourself (and your kids) with a strong support system. Even the most amicable divorces can feel isolating at times. But when you’re divorcing a narcissist, the isolation can be unbearable. Long-time relationships you may have had as a couple are often eroded. That’s why it’s essential to build a network of supportive individuals who have your best
      interests in mind.

It is advisable to seek a therapist to ensure your needs are being met and that you’re doing all you can to live the life you want to lead.

If you are divorcing a toxic ex and need help in navigating the obstacles and protecting your children, feel free to contact me to discover how I can help you in your journey.

Developing elegant solutions to complex personal issues

Daniel Lichtman MA (Couns Psych)

Daniel offers single session and multi-session packages of in-person and online counseling.  Online coaching allows you to gain support privately and discretely, wherever you are in the world.

Registered Psychotherapist (PACFA Australia) and Certified Transformational Coach (Circling Institute, USA) with over 8,000 hours experience.


Daniel White Integrated Way coaching and counselling Hong Kong