Category Archives: Stages of Divorce

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

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Divorcing a Narcissist and Winning

While divorce is inherently overwhelming and emotionally challenging, those of us who are faced with divorcing a narcissist experienced a heightened level of fear and frustration.  By the mere definition of a narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-centered, it is impossible to engage in a dialogue where both parties needs are heard and acknowledged.

I am divorced from a narcissist.  Often our ‘conversations’ are simply me listening to his monologue. His ability to dialogue, to hear my perspective and consider it is severely limited by his narcissistic personality disorder.  The other challenge is because their perspective is the only one they are capable of  seeing, they are 100% sure and confident that they are right.  A healthier person considers the other perspective and as a result might question and adjust their own.

An understandable question is how to divorce a narcissist and win when the narcissist is wired to need to win and often will fight to the detriment of the children and finances.  They may even feel like the victim throughout the process, again due to their single minded belief that their needs and opinions are right and are all that matter. They also see your concerns as unfair criticism and are unable to look at the possibility that they are part of the problem.  

So what can you do if you are divorcing a narcissist?

First, it is vital that you have a healthy sounding board.  You most likely have ‘lost yourself’ amidst your spouse’s certainty that s/he is right and you are wrong.  You also need to look at your ability to set boundaries…and uphold them as most narcissists are boundary oblivious.  Finally, you are well served to notice your own behavior.  

  • Are you surprised or angered each time he or she does not acknowledge your perspective or needs? 
  • How long has this been going on for?  
  • And why would you expect them to behave differently now?  

I am speaking about acceptance.  When you accept that a narcissist cannot and will not see your perspective (because that is how they are wired) you stop trying to shove a round peg into a square hole. By accepting the limitations of your narcissistic spouse, you free yourself to find new solutions.  He or she will continue to behave the same way.  

When divorcing a narcissist, notice your insanity…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It is up to you to change the dance you have been engaging with your spouse.

One thing I changed was I began to hang up on my ex (after numerous warnings that I have to do).  It stills feels bad.  However, I know that if I don’t I will be kept on the phone for hours.  It is my responsibility to set my boundaries and to uphold them.  

  • Where are you still feeling like the victim of your narcissistic ex?  
  • What is your role in your frustration?  

Find new ways of behaving to minimize the pain of divorcing a narcissist.

Finally, for those who feel deeply victimized by the narcissist, a shift in perspective is valuable.  Your narcissistic ex did not ask to be born with this personality disorder.  There is no talk therapy nor pharmaceutical drugs that can help him or her heal from this disorder.  When I learned this, I found my way to have compassion for my narcissistic ex.  It took a long time and it feels great to be rid of my ‘I am a victim of him’ mentality.  He must live with this disorder for the rest of his life and all the damage it does to his relationships.  I on the other hand, am healthy and free. He is my teacher, my Buddha, my Cross and I get to work on my patience, compassion, acceptance, expectations and boundaries  regularly because we will be connected for the rest of our lives through our children.  I no longer hate.  I no longer hurt. I am at peace.

You have a choice about how the rest of your life will be impacted by your narcissistic ex. Create a healthy support network, join a community of peers today.

Karen McMahon, Journey Beyond Divorce Founder

KM1 3_16Our team of coaches at JBD is passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

Finding My Way to Acceptance Through Cartwheels and Square Pegs

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By Karen Basmagy

My marriage, like so many others, had floundered for years. Alternating between trying to work on the relationship and then falling back into those comfortable dysfunctional places, I would become so discontent that in my struggle for a solution, I would read yet another self-help book to try to understand why I just couldn’t make the damn thing work. What was I missing? Where was I falling short?

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5 Ways to Feel Better About Divorce

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Guest Post By Amanda S. Trigg, Esq.

Divorce presents one of the most stressful situations that we endure and some attorneys will promise to make it easy. The truth is that even the best attorney has limited ability to do that. You, on the other hand, have the power to significantly improve your opportunities for a divorce that is easier on you and your children, shorter in duration and less expensive.

  1. Learn A Lot: What’s at stake? Not all money is created equal. Often, one spouse manages the money or knows more about the overall financial situation. Usually, that represents a reasonable division of responsibilities within the marriage and does not signify any real problem with financial management (but you can read a little more about this in my on-line blog post on adultery from April 7, 2014). If that was not your role in the relationship, take two steps. Continue reading

Faith & Surrender: An Invaluable Practice During Divorce

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By Karen McMahon


This article is not about religious beliefs, it is about a spiritual light in the darkness of the unknown.  It is about the practice of Faith and Surrender.


“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”

― Paulo Coelho, Brida

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My Ideal Partnership

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By Patty, A Journey Beyond Client

My ideal partnership is one that feels as easy and natural as floating around on a raft. Not driven by obligation or restricted by fear, or clouded with compromise.

Back to the positive…my ideal partnership is completely accepting and supportive of each other, truly listening unselfishly without judgment.  It includes encouraging and supporting each others’ goals and purpose for being and fully knowing each others’ past, present and dreams for the future. Continue reading

Finding Room for New Happiness

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Guest Post By Nancy Lay King

What is divorce like at 56 years old? I believe divorce at any age is devastating. It’s the absolute stopping point for believing in the idealism of a committed relationship, in my case, one that had existed for over half of my life. It is the loss of one identity while taking on another that is unknown; it feels like a huge, black void. When children are involved, even grown children, it is a sad change in the dynamics of a family for them and creates questions about what they believe about their parents and their family as a whole. Continue reading

Unearth Your Deepest Desires: An exercise in heart-centered new beginnings

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By Karen McMahon

During my years of coaching I have been fascinated at how often as adults we forget how to dream.  When asked what their ideal is where a job, relationship, home or life, clients more often than not, “I don’t know”.  When we dig deeper, most discuss what they don’t want and that is what they focus on.  When our attention is focused on the very thing we don’t want, we unconsciously manifest it.


What We Appreciate Appreciates!  What we focus our attention on grows! Continue reading

Time-In: A Practice for Creating a Life You Love Post Divorce

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By Lisa Brick


Reflective time or Time-In one of the seven vital wellness practices necessary to harness your brain to support you in designing and implementing an awesome life.  Time-In is the practice of setting aside a period of each day, be it a minute, ten minutes, or throughout the day, for conscious and focused mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the awareness of what is happening within you without attachment or judgement.  There are sensations, thoughts, feelings, memories that arise, all of which you observe rather than actively engage with.  Unlike other times where you follow thoughts, come to conclusions, choose an avenue of action, etc., during Time-In you observe what arises in your body and mind without following, fantasizing, or fixing.


Out of the seven practices for creating a post-divorce life you’ll love, Time-In is a cornerstone. Let’s look at why Time-In is so critical for creating a rewarding next chapter of your life and a few ways of practicing it.

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Stepping Out of Chaos: 3 Essentials to Surviving Divorce

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By Lisa Brick & Karen McMahon

What if the dissolution of a marriage could be a crash course in discovering outdated and limiting belief systems and thought patterns about life, love, relationships, family, and money and letting them go forever?

Would your pain have less sting and more promise if you could discover what you needed to learn about yourself that would allow you to experience the quality of life that you desire through the process of your divorce? Continue reading

Marriage Counseling - Mending Your Marriage NYC

Mending Your Marriage

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If  you are seeking marriage counseling consider the following:

How long it’s been since you were truly happy in your marriage? Has a sudden change in you or your spouse turned your marriage upside down and left you unsure of your future?

Below, we will examine the differences between marriage counseling and individual and couples coaching.

But first, if you are worried about the state of your marriage and are looking for support and direction for how to mend your marriage, keep reading…

5 Essentials for a Healthy Marriage

  1. Communication – Talk to each other alone intimately about your relationship (average couples spends 4 minutes a day on this!). It is a skill that you have to learn. Men and women communicate differently and you expect your partner to think the same way you do.
  2. Consideration – Pay attention to what your spouse says and feels. Treat each other with respect and consideration.
  3. Compromise – Unselfish, not demanding your way. Every marriage has conflict and there will be things you never agree on. The greater your difference the greater the potential for emotional growth and maturity. You need to compromise on issues ranging from kids, money, sexual intimacy, in-laws, and leisure time…
  4. Courtship – Romance, physical affection, fun, sex, time together to enjoy affection and attention toward each other. Keep courting! You have to keep on dating your spouse and keep the romance going. Make your relationship a priority and become best friends.
  5. Commitment – Be faithful. Throw out the option of divorce and make every effort to mend your relationship. Stand by your commitment and do everything possible to rebuild and revitalize your relationship. Commitment means being willing to be unhappy until you work it out; to be willing to go through the pain and struggle.

How do you measure up?

On a scale of 1 – 10 how do you rate YOUR role in each Essential listed above?

In order to embrace these 5 Essentials, you must first  take full responsibility for you part in the difficulties that arise.

Taking Responsibility for your part in the marriage

It is easy to know what your spouse’s fault in the challenges is, yet the true gift is in seeing your own perspectives and behaviors that are not working and focusing on transforming yourself so that you can reconnect  honoring your values and build a new foundation with two healthy co-independent, fully responsible individuals ready to create a dynamic, lasting partnership.

marriage counseling

What are your options to begin to Mend Your Marriage?

Marriage Counseling vs. Individual and Couples Coaching

If you are looking for a laser-like approach to revitalizing your relationship, coaching compared with traditional marriage counseling may be the perfect choice for you.  As coaches, we strategically guide you in understanding YOUR PART in the challenges you are facing in your marriage and coach you to become aware of the perspectives and behaviors that you have that are not working for you.  Typically, clients come to us seeing clearly their spouse’s part in the problem but don’t see so clearly their own.

While marriage counseling sessions are almost always with both husband and wife, working on how to communicate and work through issues together, we often suggest individual coaching FIRST.  Attempting to work on each individual’s issues with the other in attendance, is often a slow and cumbersome approach.

Imagine you have two parts that need mending before they can work as a whole.  Doesn’t it make sense to mend each  separately and then smoothly join them together for a smooth running whole?

Once you have each worked on your own issues in a supportive, nonjudgmental coaching environment, coming together as a couple to rebuild as partners occurs quickly and seamlessly.  Our suggestion is individual coaching followed by a few couple coaching sessions.

Couples coaching is different than marriage counseling

As coaches, we drill down into explicit issues that are causing a rub in the relationship, getting to the heart of the matter quickly and ending with an action plan for both individuals and couples.  This approach enables couples to move rapidly through the process, revitalizing their romantic relationship in a fraction of the time.

Client’s are rejoicing…

“I have worked with several therapists and life coaches over the years…None were effective. In 4 months of working with JBD, I have transformed my life…” ~ Angel

“In the midst of one of the most terrifying periods of my life…After one coaching conversation, I left with an action plan and small achievable goals that I was determined to achieve –  which I did. It really was like speed therapy!”

Check out our Resources Page

Here are a few  Blog Posts to get you started


Find out if coaching is right for you.  Take a quick survey and see if you are ready to make a positive and lasting change in your life.  Click here to begin.

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