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Wisconsin Family Law Articles

Ending a marriage with a narcissist

Divorce can bring out negative qualities in both people which they barely recognize.  However, sometimes a person’s dysfunctional behavior goes deeper than the divorce and may be rooted in their personality. When your partner is a narcissist, their inflated self-importance, fragile self-esteem, lack of empathy, and intense rage are probably some of the reasons you are thinking of leaving the relationship. This can make both collaborate divorces and traditional divorces extra difficult. While ending a marriage with a narcissist can be difficult, there are ways to minimize their destructive impact during the process.

Thinking About Leaving a Narcissist

Leaving a relationship with a narcissist is almost never a simple proposition. Because of their inability to assume responsibility and sense of entitlement and self-importance, a narcissist is likely to react extremely poorly to the news that their partner is saying goodbye. You know better than anyone what your former partner is capable of and are in the best position to gauge how they may respond.

Preparing to File

If you are considering leaving a narcissist, you need to make it a priority to find a divorce attorney with experience in family law who can help you prepare for what is to come.  Having counsel who understands the situation and the type of person you are dealing with means you will have the protection and guidance you need throughout the process.

Before filing for divorce, identify and get all of your financial documents in order and have a plan for where you can stay if you have to leave your home. Another way to prepare is by making sure you have funds to support yourself and credit in your own name. Otherwise, your ex could use your financial vulnerability to manipulate and punish you when you attempt to leave the relationship.

Filing for Divorce

Once you file for divorce, you can expect your ex to create conflict and do everything in their power to punish you for rejecting them. You can also anticipate manipulative behavior.  For example, your ex may contact you through email and text under the guise of being concerned about you and cooperative while really intending to trick you into responding in a way which helps their case. Direct any substantive communication to your attorney and keep your contact to a bare minimum.


Leaving a marriage with a narcissist can be more traumatic than the marriage itself, but by taking the right steps, you can protect your interest and get out of an unhealthy relationship. Attorney Karyn Youso is highly experienced in helping clients during divorce and understands the issues which come with ending a marriage with someone who has narcissistic traits. Contact us for a consultation so we can take a “first look” at your case and figure out what needs to happen next.

To learn more about Wisconsin divorce law, contact Karyn Youso, the family law attorney and mediator with over 27 years of experience. Get a free 30-minute consultation!