9 Tips to Deal With Your Narcissist Ex

A narcissist may come across as arrogant and selfish. They undermine others to inflate their own sense of self. They truly believe that the world revolves around them. People and things are there for them to use when and if they please. They are unable to show true empathy for others, which make it difficult to maintain a loving, healthy relationship.

When you first met your ex, he was probably a charmer. You truly believed that you had met your prince charming. In time, the fairytale began to crumble. He began criticizing you for the tiniest little thing. He blamed you for everything that he perceived to be wrong in his life and would point out all of your faults – real or imaginary. He became manipulative and controlling.

At one time, you may have believed that he loved you. It is important to ask yourself, if he really loved you or if he was in love with love, or just in love with the fact that you worshiped the ground he walked on.

On the other hand, your ex could have been self-centered during your marriage, but would communicate and appeared to act relatively normal during the marriage. Then the stresses of the divorce took over and unleashed a monster within. You may be wondering what happened because your ex has no resemblance to the man you married.

Your ex can become increasingly manipulative during and after divorce due to the stress, he may feel because of monetary issues, legal issues and custody battles as well as feelings of abandonment, betrayal and loss of control.

When dealing with the narcissist ex it is important to remain calm. The calmer you are, the more in control you will be.

 Here are 9 tips for dealing with the narcissist ex:

1. Get a good attorney that will look out for your rights regarding spousal and child support as well as equal division of the marital property.
2.  Accept the fact that you will not change him or his beliefs. Most, if not all of his demands during the divorce will be about what is convenient for him without regards to the feelings and needs of others involved.

3.  Refrain from the temptation to make other people see your side of the story. Your narcissist ex may be so charming that he has convinced other people that you are in the wrong and crazy for leaving him. People that never lived with him will find the truth hard to believe.

4.  Learn from your past mistakes. You may have been co-dependent with him or your own dependency may have given him complete power over you.

5.  Stick to your ground and do not let him sway you to give in. If you give in once, you are giving him power over you and it may lead into a cycle of him blaming and you giving in. Keep you power!

6.  Meet him in public places when it is necessary to see him. Discuss only the matter at hand. Before your meeting, visualize yourself remaining calm and in control. This will help you to maintain your composure when he tries to take control by pushing your buttons. You might also consider getting a mediator.

7. Block his number. He will still be able to leave messages and/or text you but you will be in control as to when you speak to him. When you hear him ranting or raving, remind yourself that you are responsible for your own actions, thoughts and feelings and he has no power over you unless you give it to him. Believe that you can and will control this situation in a matter that will continue to empower you.

8. Keep a journal regarding all contact you have with him. File a restraining order if he begins to threaten you or has became physically abusive.

9. Lastly, the easiest way for you to deal with your narcissist ex is to establish a “No Contact” rule. Do not contact him for anything and do not expect anything from him. Of course, this only works if you are fortunate enough not to have young children with him.



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  1. MM says

    Cindy, hi.

    I was checking your website as well as others similar (on divorced moms coaching) because I am on my way to become a coach too. I just wanted to say that among all sites I checked I found yours to have most substance and depth, and I also appreciated you honesty and openness to share your story.
    I came out of a >2 yr long divorce penniless and so emotionally battered (threats, name calling, manipulation). I gave up everything materially just to get off the hook and have peace. He wanted the money, the big house, and next week he actually remarries bringing his new spouse in the house I paid for during so many years. Me and the kids live in a place half the size and we are happy. I invested lots of the money I made after separation on my and my kids’ education (classes, mentors, coaches, etc). I am so glad I did this and now I am on the verge of moving towards work that I love and fulfills me, instead of wasting my time on him as other women do (they may feel choiceless). Like you, I want to show them that you can have a wonderful life after divorce, that you can finally be yourself fully and truly :-).
    At least our suffering will not be in vain…
    Blessings for the change you bring in the world,

  2. Denise says

    I too am dealing with a narcissist ex. I not only gave up on the material things. I have shared parenting with him, we have four children ages 17,15,11 and 9. He has tried to prove me an unfit mother time and time again. He does not speak or see our first born, and she is a good kid. He hurts me through the children. I do not speak to him only text him. He only gives me $166 a month for child support. I get $ 750 a month for spousal . and that will spot june 27th of 2015. It is not so much about the money, I just can’t find a lawyer that will listen to me. or does not want to deal with my ex…. Please help my kids.


  3. Judith says

    I cannot say if my ex-husband is narcissistic or not. I divorced him 2 1/2 years ago after 34 years of marriage. My daughters now 32 and 25, do not have a good relationship with him. He said hurtful things to them growing up. He had arguments with my son. My son and he had a better relationship usually through sports. I think my son has internalized some negative thinking from him. I tried to intervene during blowups with the kids. Everybody got very emotional and I would try to be the voice of reason. I was really afraid of being a single mother and thought it would be worse for the kids. I also had my in laws next door who were a buffer, such being there for the kids when I worked evenings. When my in laws passed away, it became really evident to me that my husband had some kind of difficulties with any kind of problem. He did the blaming thing and yelled at me daily. Now that we are divorced, he seems to be a different person. He has a girlfriend 10 years younger than himself. He is always calm with me and says that therapy really helped him. We had gone to 2 1/2 years of marriage counselling together but he refused to go alone even though I told him we could stay together if he would try to resolve his problems. It has been better for me, not being married to him. He did have 2 personalities. One nice one for the public, and a nasty one for home.

  4. Tanja says

    I just divorced this extreme narcicisst. After a 20 plus year Mariage of Affairs and betrayals I had enough . After hiring an aggressive male attorney I went no contact. There are no minor children. All of sudden I was in control and came out the winner in the divorce. He lost everything. His house, his money, his son and all he had. Divorcing him was the best decision I ever made. No contact is the only way I keep my control. I will never look at him or talk to him again. He is pure evil. Thanks to the little minion he met. She can have him.

  5. Lisa says

    My narcissist ex (we dated for 3 years) broke up with me in August of this year (conveniently right after his birthday) and he has been hot and cold since…all classic narcissist behavior from what i have read…every time i stopped trying to contact him after a week he would cave in and contact me i would fall for his “I miss you” texts and be sucked back in then he would pull the same bs all over again…rinse and repeat. I thought things were finally going well in last month until I found out he cheated on me at the destination wedding he went to. The worst part? I picked him up and dropped him off at the airport we talked every day and he told me how much he missed me….meanwhile someone posted a picture on facebook of him with the brides sister and the caption was “smitten”…I confronted him about it over text and not only did he not respond he blocked me from everything and has not talked to me in almost 3 weeks!!! My sister just had a baby and he has only sent me ONE email after one i sent him that said “congrats on being an aunt hopefully this makes you a better calmer person” yes i will admit sometimes i did act crazy and react out of anger BUT it was always a reaction to something he did to provoke a response from me. He basically told me to “leave him be for a while” and I know its because there is someone else in the picture because this is the longest he has ever gone without talking to me and he seems so happy. My question is we used to gchat daily while we were both at work and gchat was one of the first things he blocked me on after i confronted him about cheating…BUT since i have my gmail up every day while i am at work anyways i have noticed that every single day at least 2-3 times a day he will unblock me for a minute then reblock me again and do the same thing 2-3 more times throughout the day…this has gone on for 3 weeks. Is he just doing it to mess with me? He is driving me crazy and so is this “silent treatment” ugh….I feel so helpless

    • Yana says

      Girl! Go no contact! Cut the guy out! If there’s his much doubt he is abusing you badly and you need to take care of yourself and reassert your boundaries! Find at least 10 other guys and notify them of your situation, you’ll find compassion quickly, if not a sense of humor.

      Seriously there are too many obliged assholes out there. Think nothing of them.

    • Kim Elizabeth says

      You are so better off without him. Get through the craziness of being without him and you will be able to move on. Cry, scream, throw fits (in the privacy of your own home :) and let him go. I know it’s hard. He is toxic and all you’re doing is wasting time. It’s okay to be alone. Find yourself. I’ve been there, many times. Life is so much better without some guy’s “crazy” running your life.

  6. Bec says

    My situation is slightly different from the others that posted. I married a man who’s ex wife is absolutely crazy, and has not once in 4 years thought of the best interest of her child with my now husband. She makes every little thing difficult, the latest is she won’t allow my husband an extra day for vacation so we can all go away. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with a crazy ex wife, for either my husband or myself? It’s getting out of control!!! Thank you?

    • says

      My son has been dealing with this exact situation for 5 years now and has 2 children. It has been the most terrible 5 years of my entire family’s life. We have all been hoping and praying that it will come to an end but there is no hope in sight. He is in court constantly for various silly reasons. I wish there was someone out there that could help you and my family with this
      terrible situation, that seems to have no true answer. The alienation of my beautiful grandchildren is so heart breaking. Please if there is someone out there who could make a difference in our lives. Please contact me. Thank you. God bless you.

    • Jen says

      Wow! I have a similar situation. It has been going on for 12 years. It probably won’t stop. I just laugh now! Her loss! She is the unhappy one.

  7. Jim says

    Hi Cindy,
    I may be a bit different than most of the comments I am reading here. But my angle is that my wife of four years now has to deal with an incredibly narcissistic ex husband. Almost everything that has been described above, we deal with on an almost daily basis. He had multiple affairs on her during their marriage and hold her that it was her fault that he had the affairs. He abandoned her and the children for almost two years, remarried and is now back in town. We have been to court about 4 times now, and as soon as the last one is done another is on the way. He manipulates and hurts my wife using the kids. Constantly telling her that the kids want to live with him, that she should do what they want and let them live with him, and always telling her that she is the reason that the kids don’t like her, or trust her. My wife is quite possible the sweetest and most meek person I have ever met. I can go on and on and it never improves. There are no boundaries that he will not break, its absolutely insane.
    As the “new husband” its so hard to watch and of course he as also made me out to the be the evil step parent.
    Is there anything we can do? any legal recourse that can stop the harassment, cohersion and manipulation? My heart breaks for anyone going through this, and is hands down the most difficult thing to deal with.

  8. John says

    I have read your comments with great interest. I am a man who had to deal with a bully of a wife who manipulated me and the children. She also cheated on me, showing empathy and was happy to see me spiralling into a depression. We went for the jugular and demanded the equity from the house, including all our life savings and the children. But I’ve been to court and got 50/50 of the children and hoping the financial settlement will be the same. There is hope for the victim, whether it be male or female

    • Cindy says

      John, Thank you so much for your comment! I think its important to realize that people of both sexes can be narcissistic and create heartache for their ex. I am happy to hear that you got 50/50 custody. :-)

      • Rich Breimann says

        I had the same situation as John dealing with a Narcissistic abusivie sociopath woman (who cheated with numerous men throughout our 21 year marriage) who I divorced 5 years ago. Although I did make the mistake of giving in on the divorce agreement which I do regret to this day, because you definitely do give up your power. I think it’s important to bring to light in your article that either sex can enter into an abusive relationship with a Narcissistic abusive person. Men certainly do not have a monopoly on being a Narcissist. I have to say that Judges and Marriage counselors believed she was normal and I was the crazy one – so bizzare!

  9. Claire says

    I was married for nearly 20 years and over that time, as my husband became more successful in his career, he lost the ability to empathise with others and accept their vulnerabilities. I gave up my career to have children, and our relationship gradually became akin to that of a parent/child rather than two adults working as a team. This wrecked my self esteem and I became very lonely and low. His job took me away from family and friends and I had very little support. He had a very scathing attitude about depression and would tell his friends, professional colleagues and family that I had a mental illness. This wasn’t true, I was just unhappy. I loved my home but he would control everything and didn’t even trust me to buy kitchen utensils. He wouldn’t let me have a role; he needed to be perfect and be in charge of everything.
    I scraped together my self-esteem by studying and retraining to become a teacher; against his wishes. It was very hard as he resented the fact that my studies took my attention away from him and he would slam doors and have temper outbursts if I hadn’t made dinner. He showed no interest in attending my graduation.
    The final straw came when he bought a 2nd home with his female business partner and they started to act as though they were married by choosing furniture together and always pairing up when we were there. He would tell people that he preferred it to our family home. It hurt massively but his response was that I had to move on.
    I couldn’t. Inevitably I met someone else and had an affair. My husband found out and I had to leave the matrimonial home in disgrace. His family disowned me.
    Two years on, he manipulates the children to stay with him on my weekends and overides my plans. He is unable to be repectful or civil.He treats me like an animal. The day of our court order agreement, he held a big party and invited all my friends. He showers my family with gifts. This is intended to undermine me. He went for months without giving me any maintenance.
    This narcisstic man is particularly cruel because his self belief is so strong that he never sees fault in anything he does and has an army of minions massaging his ego.
    He is too dominant for me to compete. The loneliness is overwhelming. Thank you for reading.

  10. robert f says

    what to do when you do have minor children? i am thoroughly at a loss as to how to manage the NPD ex wife with my 15 yo boy and 13 and 6yo girls…spent the day at home from work mentally fatigued over it all….suggestions when having to manage children with a bad ex?

    • Rosie says

      Co-parenting is very difficult with narcissistic ex spouses. Their focus is always on themselves, never the kids. They play mind games with the other parent and with the kids and always change the rules to benefit themselves. Their version of past history is completely warped to suit their needs. I haven’t seen my ex face to face in nearly 2 years even while co-parenting. I block him from my cell and communicate only through an email account i set up just for dealing with him. Minimal to no contact and just simple yes or no answers. And never bend the rules for them because they will always expect and demand more. It is overwhelming but some days are better than others and the kids make it all worth it!

  11. Eileen says

    Is there such a thing as someone showing strong narcissistic traits, but not a complete narcissists?

    30 yrs married, and my husband had an affair at the 28 yr mark of a good marriage.
    Only since our separation do I see things that I never saw before, but at the same time he has been very generous in making sure I still live as I always had. But it all done, “in the name of love” now, and this is where the narcissistic traits show big time.

  12. Rupert says

    I have found that when dealing with an unpleasant divorce with someone diagnosed with a severe mental illness (BP1) and who also is no doubt borderline, my assessment, as well, that the only way to handle it, even if kids are involved, is to maintain strict no contact. Let your attorney do all of the talking. Granted, with kids this is tough. Do this strictly via email. Mine texts, calls, shows up unexpectedly etc. I do nothing, other than sit with a phone placed on record. This tactic, as crappy as it is, has really helped establish a significant pattern of severe abuse towards me and our children. However, and be careful, once they realize that you are no longer depressed, and that you won’t react to their constant, even ridiculous attempts at provocation, they grow even more unreasonable. Their power over you is their power to make you react. Be it stealing, lying, cheating, abusing drugs, alcohol, neglecting, hitting and screaming at their kids, initiating public distortion and defamation campaigns, folks like this will stop at nothing to maintain their victim status. Remember, that every action and behavior THEY ACTUALLY EXHIBITED is your fault. Regardless of the piles of evidence legally presented before them. Despite the advice of their own attorney, they will keep coming. They will continue abusing and disrupting.
    So, if you are getting hammered. If your kids are being abused. If all you want is to be left alone and in peace the key is no contact, do not react, secure a good attorney and provide all of the evidence, not your feelings, evidence, you can muster. Trust me, individuals like this will give you plenty, especially when they realize that you have truly moved on.
    Mine abused me in a thousand ways. I fought back, ceaselessly, futilely. Broken, exhausted, miserable, depressed. Humiliated in the end. This person fled the marriage, screaming abuse, but now when faced with truth (evidence…a mountain of) is now only growing more desperate to protect being exposed for what she really is. A child abuser. A spouse abuser. A cheat. A thief. A drunk. A drug addict, and a pathological liar. What’s even crazier is how dagone convincing she is to people who don’t know her. So sweet and charming. The perpetual victim. It’ll drive you crazy. But don’t let it. Shake off the muck. I know how hard that is but you can do it with work…and distance. Get your mind right. Don’t react to it. Cut off all contact. Get a good lawyer. Pull all the evidence you can (don’t worry they’ll give you plenty) be prepared for a seemingly never ending fight. To try to find reason within someone who is this sick is an impossibility. Try not to beat yourself up for being human. And for the love of heavens get as far away from this toxicity as you can….AND DO NOT FOLD. DO NOT JUST GIVE IN TO THEM. Fight, fight, fight. You are in the right. Be patient. Be aware. Just stick to no contact, a good attorney, and evidence. One day, and it may be through a restraining order, it may be that they find someone else to feed off, it may be that they end up in a hospital, or jail, maybe they’ll get better, but one day, this nightmare WILL end. At least I hope so. So do my kids. So does my family and friends. So does my girlfriend. So does any rational and sane person. No one chooses to be mentally ill. However, when one is diagnosed repeatedly and still does nothing to amend it….well, I say, no mercy. Gloves off. No room for pity or forgiveness. They have got to go.
    Mental illness is real. A tragedy for the one who suffers from it, especially, and in spite of diagnosis, and a litany of crazy behaviors,they still deny it. A living nightmare for those forced to endure it. Stick to your guns. Get tough. You’ll need all of your wits to survive this one. DO NOT REACT. Let a lawyer do it. This is the key as hard as it is to sit back and watch your kids get crushed, your reputation be devastated, it is critical that you adhere to this advice….at least in my opinion. Good luck and fight, fight, fight, but fight smartly….do not get dragged back into their muck….this is what they thrive on….you should know this by now.
    Last, and remember this. A court doesn’t give a hoot about he said she said. Every divorce is because two people didn’t like each other and did bad things to each other. Two to tango, and so on. Rarely is a divorce amicable. The law only cares about FACTS supported with evidence. In the end, all that matters to any human being, mentally ill, or not, is peace of mind. You, we all, deserve this. Sometimes you just gotta get nasty is all. That, and all of the hurt, is what stinks, but you will get past this.

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