How to Tell a Narcissist You Want a Divorce [4 TIPS]

Telling a narcissist that you want a divorce, without huge issues, may seem impossible but all you need is a good strategy, loads of planning, and excellent communication skills. Legal help from a divorce lawyer is also strongly advised when going through the divorce process with a narcissist (or any divorce where complications are expected).

A bad relationship can make you feel more alone than you ever have before. This is especially true when you’re married to a narcissist. Now you want to divorce the narcissist, but how do you tell them?

Telling a narcissist you want a divorce is not likely going to be an easy or pain-free process. It will probably get messy. At least there are a few ways to make the process less painful.

woman signing divorce paper work with narcissist husband

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How to Tell a Narcissist You Want a Divorce

The key is to start any communication in a way that won’t cause drama. Narcissists are fragile. Telling them you want a divorce will give their egos a huge knock. They are likely to respond by attacking you and shifting the blame for the failed marriage onto your shoulders.

Telling a narcissist you want a divorce and the actual process of divorcing a narcissist can get ugly and may take forever. Make sure you have a rock-solid plan and lots of support before considering starting to have the conversation.

It’s important not to list their faults or attack them personally. Instead, stay calm, speak with a friendly tone, and keep it general as to why you wish to commence the divorce process.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. Let’s start at the beginning: communicating with a narcissist.

Communicating With a Narcissist

Communicating a divorce request to a narcissist can be a nightmare. You need to be prepared and think before you speak. In a perfect situation, a divorce is a mutual decision, amicably settled, no court, and no battles. Divorcing a narcissist is not likely going to be that easy; you need a bulletproof strategy. 

Here are a few tricks to make your life easier.

1. Don’t Play the Blame Game

Although you may want to divorce the narcissist because of their personality and all the things they do wrong in the marriage, don’t list their faults or blame them. I would advise you not to make the conversation a personal attack on the narcissist. Instead, keep your reasons for wanting a divorce vague. Twist the truth if needed, keep communication strictly factual, and keep emotions out of it.

2. Be Direct

It’s not easy to stay calm and emotionless when communicating your desire to get a divorce from a narcissist, but it needs to be done. Don’t cry, get angry, or make yourself vulnerable.

This will only give the narcissist ammo. See divorce communication as a business deal, do it quick and cold. Stick to the list you made for yourself prior to the discussion. Don’t apologize. This will only give the narcissist a feeling of power.

3. Believe In Yourself

Narcissists are programmed to play the blame game. Even if the end of the marriage is not your fault, they will make it seem like it is. Keep reminding yourself why you are getting a divorce in the first place. It may be hard, but it doesn’t matter if you receive the blame from your spouse as long as the end result is you getting the divorce you want.

While communicating a divorce request to a narcissist, remember to put yourself and your feelings first in the process. Don’t let empty promises change your mind. Always keep in mind that a narcissist will never change!

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4. Take Their Reaction with a Pinch of Salt

When you are telling a narcissist you want a divorce, it’s important to prepare yourself for what is to come. There are going to be comebacks and attacks from the narcissist. They may also try to manipulate you into feeling bad for them or pitying them.

Focus on your mental health during the divorce process. You are busy taking power, something that a narcissist hates. They will likely attack you personally and shift the blame to you. Ignore their rants and move on. Whatever you do, don’t give in to their “sweet talk,” as this is only manipulation to make their world perfect again.

Telling a Narcissist You Want a Divorce: Strategy

Telling a narcissist you want a divorce can’t be an impulsive decision. Before sitting down to have the conversation, you need to plan! Here are some tips and tricks when setting up your plan.

  • Take control of your finances and set aside some money for yourself.
  • Do the research and find the perfect divorce lawyer
  • Get legal advice and/or secure your lawyer
  • Make living arrangements, for once the divorce proceeding starts
  • Make a list of why you are leaving

Once you have all of the above in place, take a moment for yourself and what you are about to put yourself through. Make a list of possible attacks the narcissist will throw your way. Practice mindfulness to stay calm while you have the divorce conversation.

Keep in mind that when you communicate these reasons to the narcissist, they will turn it around and make it your fault. Don’t get emotional! Don’t show vulnerability! Stick to your point.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Divorcing a Narcissist

You have your list, you have your support, and you have had the divorce conversation with the narcissist.

Sadly, this is just the beginning of the process. The rest of the process can be made easier if the right steps are followed and the correct legal advice is obtained.

Nobody prepares you for what comes after. Prepare yourself for a possibly ugly and long fight in court. In the narcissist’s eyes, you are still in the wrong, and they will try and take everything from you. You need to develop a solid plan with your divorce lawyer. Here are five things to keep in mind throughout the whole process.

  1. Nothing is your fault; you are walking away for a reason
  2. Stay cool, calm, and collected
  3. Put yourself and your children (if you have any) first
  4. Be prepared to battle in court
  5. Everything will be okay

The best idea is to keep the communication to a minimum, through neutral parties like a mediator or your lawyers, and commit to the process.

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A Narcissist’s Talk Is Cheap

Be direct and emotionless. Don’t allow for any opportunity for the narcissist to convince you to stay. When narcissists are placed in situations where power is taken away from them, they will say and do absolutely anything to regain the feeling of having power over the situation.

Remember, in their eyes; you are taking back the power that they had over you. It’s in their DNA to manipulate you. You may want to get emotional, cry, and scream at them. This is not the way to go. Rather, swallow your tears and stick to your point, don’t try and reason with the narcissist. This will only complicate the situation even further.

Also, be ready to deflect any attempts for the narcissist to blame you or make it seem like everything is your fault. It may be better to ignore these attempts of shifting the blame. If you respond to every “blame shift” the narcissist throws your way, you will only end up arguing in circles.

Continue Reading: How to Respond to Divorce Threats


Telling a narcissist you want a divorce is not easy, it’s not quick, and it’s likely to be an excruciating process.

The only choice you have is to make the process easier and quicker. Planning ahead and being prepared should help you stay calm, hide your emotions, and be cold. Communicating with a narcissist must be emotionless and direct. I would advise that you find yourself a fantastic divorce lawyer.

If you can follow all these steps and stick to your plan, you can get through this. The most important thing to remember is a narcissist will never change!

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