divorcing a narcissist?

Is there an ex out there who isn’t at some point labelled a narcissist?

The truth is narcissism is a spectrum and we all exist on it somewhere. But extreme narcissists and individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder share distinctive characteristics that make the divorce process exponentially more difficult and damaging. In this series, you’ll get some valuable insights on the underpinnings of narcissism and concrete strategies for successful negotiation. You’ll also learn the most effective ways to help your children remain healthy and resilient both during and after your split.

1. What IS a narcissist?

Surely this descriptor is the most overused adjective in the world of divorce. So, what is a narcissist exactly? And what does it mean to be separating or divorcing from someone with severe narcissistic tendencies? Are there effective strategies for communicating or negotiating with an actual narcissist?

2. Narcissism: Strategies

In this session, we’ll learn more strategies for success from our two professionals, attorney Shelley Klein and psychologist Lauren Behrman. We’ll also hear from some women who’ve navigated a split with a narcissistic spouse and lived to tell about it- specifically what helped and what didn’t.

3. Narcissism + your kids

In this session, we’ll hear from psychologist Lauren Behrman about how children of even extreme narcissists can chart a new course–with your help. Mediation attorney, Shelley Klein will weigh in on how your divorce process and divorce settlement can make a difference, too.

4. Office Hours with the Experts

 An informational session with mediation attorney Shelley Klein and child psychologist Lauren Behrman, during which our members brought ALL of their questions about divorcing a narcissist and got real-time answers that are still applicable today to these tricky divorce cases.

Meet the Experts:

Shelley Klein provides family mediation through her private law practice, Divorced and Intact, as well as through the NY Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). She began her career at Paul, Weiss in corporate litigation, clerked for a Federal court judge in Brooklyn, and worked extensively in social justice before starting her own family law practice in New York. She is the Associate Director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change (CISC) at Columbia Law School and the Assistant Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University.

Lauren Behrman, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist, mediator, collaborative divorce professional and parent coordinator in private practice in Westchester and Manhattan. She is a counselor and psychotherapist for children, adolescents and adults. She is also a sought after divorce professional, working with individuals, couples and families. Her divorce related services include parent coordination, co-parent counseling with high conflict parents, neutral child specialist work for mediation cases, process facilitation and divorce coaching.

I'm not sure if my ex is a narcissist - will this help me?

Part One is for you! This session looks at the actual definition of the narcissistic personality disorder and why it can really complicate a divorce. Start there, and if you find that are dealing with a narcissist, you’ll likely find the other videos helpful.

I've already hired an attorney - is it too late to watch this series?

Not at all! The videos do get into some of the things you should consider when working with an attorney, but they also discuss strategies. (You can also always switch attorneys – and the videos, particularly Part 2, will help you figure out if that will be important for you).

I'm not interested in mediation - will I still learn from these videos?

Absolutely. Other divorce processes like litigation are also discussed. You might also be surprised by some of the reasons why mediation is offered as something to consider when divorcing a narcissist.

What if I don't have kids?

Part 1 and Part 2 touch on how divorcing a narcissist might affect the kids and some ways to try to smooth the path for them – but only Part 3 is dedicated to divorcing a narcissist and your kids. There’s a lot of other information in Part 1 and Part 2.

I'm an UNtied member - do I need to buy this content?

No! UNtied members can access these videos in the replay section. 

If you’re interested in becoming a member, you can learn more here.

Part 1


Part 1 is a broad overview of everything that you can expect when you are divorcing a narcissist and touches on both litigation and mediation, and more:

The true characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder

Why divorcing a narcissist requires a different strategy

What you should expect when you initiate a divorce with a narcissist

What you may expect if your narcissistic partner is the one to initiate the divorce

Why mediation is worth trying if you think it could be an option for you (and how you can tell)

What you should keep in mind when selecting an attorney (and why you don’t want a  “shark”)

How to make the mediation process work for you when you are divorcing a narcissist

How to help your kids navigate post-divorce life with their narcissist parent


Part 2


Part 2 is a deeper dive into the divorce strategy when separating from a narcissistic spouse, told through the stories of two women who have done it and are happily on the other side. Our experts Shelley Klein and Lauren Behrman ask them questions and point out the pieces that tend to be common threads.

Whatever your experience is with “your” narcissist, you’ll feel seen and come away with some important things to think about when:

Initiating a divorce with a narcissist

Choosing a mediation attorney

Going through the courts process

Post-divorce surprises come up


Part 3


Part 3 looks at the question “But what about the kids?” and looks at the good, the bad and the ugly during and post- divorce:

How a narcissistic parent typically tends to view their children

The potential effects of narcissistic parenting on a child

What you can do during the divorce process to start of the co-parenting relationship in the best possible way

Resources and third parties you can utilize to create a better experience for the children

How to help children stand up for themselves without calling out your narcissist ex


Thank you for creating a safe space for women in the different stages of divorce to share, support, and learn from each other. For many of us, there is no community to turn to for support. Of course, our friends and loved ones reach out to comfort us, but connecting with others going through similar experiences is invaluable.


I got my lawyer through UNtied! I was totally clueless about collaborative divorce before going to one of your panels. UNtied saved me a lot of time, pain and money. Eternally grateful!

At a moment when I was in complete shock, stunned and had absolutely no idea how to proceed, it was enormously comforting and helpful to have a group of brilliant women to turn to, each of whom had suggestions, and stories. Knowing you are not alone is big!