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How To Divorce A Narcissist (Dr. Karyl McBride)

will-i-ever-be-free-of-you-9781476755694_lgC.R. writes:

In Will I Ever Be Free Of You, Karyl McBride, PhD, author of the national bestseller Will I Ever Be Good Enough, has created the compact but thorough guide to successfully handling and surviving a divorce—if you’re married to a narcissist.

Those whose lives have been helped with Karyl McBride’s previous book will not be surprised that her latest is packed with useful advice.

One of my favorite things about her first book was her proactive, goal-oriented approach, and Will I Ever Be Free Of You does not disappoint.

Am I Married To A Narcissist? Am I Being Emotionally or Physically Abused? 
In Part One: Recognizing the Problem, the author shares with readers useful information on how to identify if they are being emotionally abused, and if this abuse is due to narcissism on the part of their spouse. (Not all narcissists are overtly abusive, it depends on where they fall on the NPD spectrum).

Sadly, spousal abuse exists—but knowing what it is, and isn’t, may not be as easy as it sounds While physical abuse is sometimes engaged in by narcissists,  emotional abuse always is.

Physical abuse is fairly easy to recognize, emotional abuse may be subtle.

Emotional abuse is not mere disagreements, differing perspectives, or the occasional harsh words hurled in the event of a passionate argument. Emotional abuse can be verbal (but doesn’t have to be) and can be seriously damaging and painful.

(Many theories abound that emotional abuse of children actually causes some cases of narcissism, and the cycle continues with the narcissist’s own children.)

Narcissistic emotional abuse can be tricky to identify at first because it comes with a host of confounding manipulations. It might chip away at your self-confidence and make you question your own observations, doubt your ability to accurately analyze the situation, especially if the narcissist plays typical games such as gas-lighting or limits the abuse to times where no one else can see.

Should I Get A Divorce?

If emotional abuse is having an impact on your happiness and emotional health should you make the decision to divorce a narcissistic spouse? Part Two: Breaking Free, gives you insights into making your decision to stay or go, and how to proceed if you do decide to divorce.

If you are divorcing, this book shows you how to survive the narcissistic battles you will face and how to plan for the fallout. Karyl McBride is not conclusively pushing divorce, but if you end up deciding that divorce is the only option to save yourself (and your children, if you have them), this book provides valuable information. It illustrates her advice with examples from her case studies and also contains advice from those in the legal profession.

In Chapter 5, The Divorce Process: Court Warfare and Chapter 6, Getting Help: Troops to Defend You, the reader is given a range of succinctly written yet vital tips on how to proceed. The entire book is full of valuable checklists. In these vital chapters, for example, are lists that help you choose the right legal firm to represent you, and what kinds of questions to ask a court evaluator in order to ensure they understand that a narcissistic spouse is involved in the case.

How Can I Heal And Move On?

Part Three: Healing From The Debilitating Impact of Narcissistic Relationships gives sound advice on how to heal, and how to move forward. This part helps you understand your internal messages, develop healthy boundaries, communicate clearly and more. Since it is possible that you are more likely to marry a narcissist if your parent or parents were narcissists, exploring the nature of your relationship with your parents may also give you insights in the healing process, and Will I Ever Be Free Of You helps you do that, too.


The author isn’t satisfied with helping the thousands of men and women whose lives have been damaged by narcissists and are involved in high-conflict divorces. She wants to help the children, too.

In Chapter 10, Dr. McBride lays out her plan for a pilot project she calls AIMS (Am I Missing Something), designed to aim for the best results for children of high-conflict divorce. She is troubled by the number of these kinds of divorces and wants to do something about it. Her AIMS model uses therapeutic strategies to accomplish three important goals:

1. Reduce parental conflict in and out of court

2. Help individual parents improve their parenting and coparenting skills

3. Advocate in constructive ways to understand and support the children’s best interests, with a special focus on their mental health and emotional needs.

If you are involved in a contentious divorce (even if you aren’t sure your spouse is a narcissist), or if you are by profession or know divorce attorneys, judges, therapists, and others working in the divorce “industry” encourage them to learn about the AIMS project.

Will I Ever Be Free Of You by Karyl McBride, PhD, is due out this February–you can pre-order your copy today. We recommend it.



Please see (or search for) Therapy Soup’s related posts on narcissism, narcissists in marriage and other relationships, and parental alienation.


How To Divorce A Narcissist (Dr. Karyl McBride)

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2014). How To Divorce A Narcissist (Dr. Karyl McBride). Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Dec 2014
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