January 17, 2024

Dealing with Narcissistic Ex-Partners

3D illustration of a magnifying glass over a paper bakground with focus on the word me. Concept of egocentrism

Family law matters can be complex and emotionally charged, but they become even more challenging when dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner. Narcissistic individuals often exhibit a range of behaviours that can create a tumultuous environment during divorce and separation. In this blog, we will address important steps to take when handling narcissistic ex-partners in family law matters to help you navigate this difficult terrain successfully.

Recognising Narcissism

It is important to note that someone showing narcissistic traits does not necessarily mean that they suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Narcissism is the human experience of feeling important, needing admiration and attention, and wanting success and love.  Mental health experts state that it’s common and natural to feel or act a little narcissistic, even unpleasantly so, without having a disorder. NPD involves a more extreme form of narcissism that can cause great distress and impairment over time.

Individuals with more moderate to significant narcissism typically display a pattern and significant degree of self-centeredness, a lack of empathy, and a deep need for admiration. They hate being undermined or questioned. They may manipulate, gaslight, are highly critical or engage in other toxic behaviours (including using the children, finances or any other means) to maintain control and undermine their ex-partners. Understanding these traits is the first step to effectively dealing with them. 

Seek Legal Assistance

One of the most crucial steps when dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner in family law matters is to seek the guidance of a family lawyer who has experience in dealing with narcissistic personalities and high-conflict cases. Often narcissistic personalities aren’t reasonable or logical and so their approach may catch the inexperienced lawyer off-guard. Having a switched-on and adaptable family lawyer on your side who is experienced in dealing with individuals who display narcissistic tendencies will give you the best chance to both protect your interests and resolve your matter. 

Maintain Documentation

Documentation is important in any family law matter, but its importance cannot be understated when dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner. Keep records of all communication, including text messages, emails, and voicemails. If the matter proceeds to court, or even during negotiations, this documentation can assist to protect you from false accusations or manipulative claims.

Set Boundaries

Narcissistic individuals often thrive on chaos and drama. To maintain your own mental and emotional well-being, set clear boundaries with your ex-partner. If and when you need to discuss family law, financial or children’s matters, ensure that you:

  • communicate only through written channels;
  • avoid emotional confrontation; and
  • stick to the relevant facts
If you do not feel safe or comfortable in doing so, you can engage a family lawyer to assist you to communicate with the other side.

Focus on What's Relevant

Narcissistic individuals often provoke emotional reactions to maintain control and it can be easy to get caught up in their manipulative tactics. For example, you may find yourself trying to defend against or justify something that is simply untrue. Therefore, it is important to focus on the relevant issues, which is best guided by an experienced family lawyer. What is relevant may vary from case to case, but could include, for example, the practical parenting arrangements and the well-being of your children, or what is to be done about the family home. 

Practice Self-Care

Dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner can be mentally and emotionally draining. It’s vital to prioritise self-care. Engage in activities that reduce stress and maintain your mental and emotional health, such as therapy, mindfulness, exercise, doing things you enjoy or spending time with a support network of trusted friends and family.


Navigating family law matters with a narcissistic ex-partner is undoubtedly challenging, but not impossible. It’s important to have an experienced family lawyer on your side to advise and advocate for you and help you take the right steps to protect yourself and your interests. At Oikos Family Law, we are experienced in dealing with both ex-partners with narcissistic personalities and their lawyers who enable this behaviour. 

For an obligation-free chat, please contact one of our experienced family lawyers on 0421 397 316 or jlok@oikosfamilylaw.com.au

Contact us

Fill in our contact form for a free 15-minute chat with a Family Lawyer

Your "TO-DO" List When Going Through Separation

Click below to download a free PDF checklist.