When people are going through divorce, they often claim that their spouse is a narcissist. They feel like their spouse only thinks about themselves and doesn’t care about anyone else. They may even say that this attitude is the reason for the divorce.
This certainly can be true, but a narcissistic personality disorder is very rare. At most, it impacts about 5% of the population. It could be as low as half that. So the majority of people who get divorced are not divorcing a narcissist, even if they think that they are.
But what may actually be happening is that the divorce itself is turning their spouse into a narcissist – or at least causing situational narcissistic tendencies.
Why would this happen?
Researchers have found that most people don’t have a personality disorder, but they may exhibit narcissistic traits in specific situations. Divorce is one of those situations because it destabilizes their life. They become nervous or afraid about what the future holds. Their narcissistic tendencies are a reaction to this fear.
This is why your spouse may act selfishly during a divorce. Perhaps they didn’t expect the end of the relationship and they don’t know what it’s going to mean for their life. They are intentionally only focusing on themselves because they are desperately trying to create a sense of security once again. It is a coping mechanism, and it may even be something they do subconsciously.
Whether it is a personality disorder or a situational issue, this can make your divorce complicated. Be sure you know what legal options you have.