Although men are more often associated as narcissists than women (they outnumber women two to one on the extreme end of the narcissist spectrum,) women can also be narcissists. If your husband or wife is arrogant, filled with anger, an ego-maniac or even heartless at times, don’t just assume they are a narcissist.

Narcissist often display one key trait that shadows all others; a complete lack of empathy and admission of guilt. Whether they emotionally or physically abused their spouse or ran over the neighbor’s pet, a narcissist will show zero empathy and will always manipulate the conversation to direct guilt away from themselves.

Other common traits that could help you decide if you are living with a narcissist include:

  • A desperate need for attention and special treatment
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Extreme sensitivity and a tendency to show emotional pain due to little provocation (this is an attempt to get their way by blaming the opposing party)
  • Takes advantage of others
  • Lacks empathy
  • Consistently reacts to criticism with anger, humiliation or shame

If you’re spouse displays a good number of these traits, they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD.) People like this will wear you down day by day until you no longer have the strength to fight. It would be wise to consider a divorce. If that’s the path you choose to take, take head of the four tips below before acting on your decision.

Gather your documents

As soon as they find out that you want a divorce, whether you tell them, or it leaks, the narcissist will try their hardest to gain full control of the situation and leave you with crumbs. One thing they will do is attempt to gather all necessary documentation and assets at their disposal. If you can, secure this information first. If you don’t want to be holding sensitive paper copies, take pictures and load them into an ultra-secure cloud storage (Microsoft One Note, iCloud and Google Drive are some options.) you’ll want to secure the following documents and any others you find important to your future.

  • Property and asset purchase and ownership documents
  • Any documents that show the details of your mortgage
  • Credit statements
  • Investment account statements
  • Bank account statements
  • Recent pay stubs
  • At least three years of past tax returns
  • Insurance information
  • Vehicle registration
  • Frequent flyer numbers and your passport
  • Birth certificate and marriage certificate

Open a “safety” fund

In the best interest of your safety, you can’t just drain you and narcissistic spouses bank accounts and hide with the money throughout the divorce process. Start a safety fund in case your spouse pulls a fast one and you can no longer access your bank accounts for a while. If you use a trusted third party to make the transactions or use cash, you can tell your lawyer what you have taken, and it can be assessed as part of the common asset pool when financial assets are divided.

Hire a divorce coach

A divorce coach, especially one who has experienced the same emotional and treacherous ordeal you’re about to venture into, can guide you on personal actions to take, how to act and respond to your narcissistic partner. They can also help you stay in control of your emotions when everything feels too overwhelming.

Hire an expert attorney

When divorcing someone with NPD, they will attack your character, emotional well-being, finances and most other things you hold dear that could break you and lead you to giving up. Thus, an experienced divorce attorney is also an investment in your future because the outcome of your divorce will affect your future in a multitude of ways.