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June 01, 20232 min read

Struggling with your relationship and considering divorce? Many couples who are having trouble in their relationship will choose to work with a therapist to try to fix some of their problems. While this may be a logical and successful route for many, some women may actually find this more harmful to their well-being — particularly if their former partner has narcissistic tendencies. Not sure how to tell if your ex might be a narcissist? Start by looking for these five red flags:

Lack of empathy: Narcissists may have difficulty understanding or caring about others’ feelings and needs.

Grandiosity: Narcissists often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and may believe they are entitled to special treatment.

Manipulation: Narcissists may use manipulation tactics such as gaslighting, lying, or guilt-tripping to control others.

Criticism: Narcissists may be highly critical of others, while often being defensive or unwilling to accept criticism themselves.

Boundary violations: Narcissists may disregard others’ personal boundaries and engage in behaviour that is inappropriate or harmful.

Not all individuals who display these traits necessarily have a narcissistic personality disorder — only a trained mental health professional can make a formal diagnosis. However, if you suspect that your partner may have narcissistic traits and you do want to pursue couples’ therapy with them, make sure you find a therapist who specializes in working with personality disorders and to prioritize your safety and well-being throughout the therapeutic process.

Narcissists often struggle with empathy and self-reflection, making it super tough for any real progress in therapy. They might resist change, try to manipulate the therapist, or even show harmful behavior towards them and others. It's important to have a supportive therapist in your corner to navigate this tricky situation.

Additionally, going to therapy with a narcissist can seriously mess with your emotional and mental well-being. Dealing with their constant manipulation and criticism can destroy your self-esteem, leaving you feeling guilty, confused, and full of self-doubt. That's why it's important to consider other options like individual therapy or joining support groups. These alternatives provide a safer and healthier environment where you can concentrate on your own personal growth and healing.

Therapy can be successful for many couples — research does suggest that couples who go to therapy together have a better chance of staying together than those who don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best — or safest — option for everyone. You deserve a space free from the toxic vibes of a narcissistic partner, so make sure to prioritize your well-being and find the support that suits you best.

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