Narcissistic Abuse in Marriages: A Singaporean Perspective

narcissistic abuse in marriages

By Ms Gloria James

In my nearly three decades of practising divorce law in Singapore, I’ve encountered many cases that break the heart and challenge the soul. Among the more insidious and less understood is narcissistic abuse within the institution of marriage.

Narcissistic abuse, in essence, revolves around an individual exhibiting traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Such individuals can manipulate emotionally and psychologically, often exerting coercive control over their spouses to maintain a sense of superiority and power.

The Singaporean Context

With its strong emphasis on familial respect and unity, Singaporean society can, unfortunately, provide a mask behind which narcissistic behaviours can hide.

The core values of respect and perseverance sometimes unintentionally encourage victims to endure, rationalize, or even remain silent about the abuse they’re facing.

The societal pressure to maintain a “perfect family image” can exacerbate the situation, making the abused partner feel trapped.

Manifestations of Narcissistic Abuse

Within the confines of marriage, narcissistic abuse may manifest as:

  • Belittling and constant criticism: Making the spouse feel worthless or in the wrong.
  • Gaslighting: Manipulating someone into doubting their reality or sanity.
  • Financial control: Restricting access to finances or making unilateral financial decisions.
  • Isolation: Restricting the spouse from socializing or seeing family.
  • Using children as pawns: Manipulating or using children to control or hurt the other spouse.

Read more: What to Expect When Divorcing a Narcissist

The Legal Aspect

Singapore’s legal framework has evolved to recognize the intricacies of relationships and the toll they can take on individuals. A significant part of this understanding is acknowledging mental cruelty as a credible fact for divorce, classifying it under the umbrella of “unreasonable behaviour”.

Maintaining records is crucial for anyone seeking a divorce on these grounds. It might include:

  • Texts and emails: They can provide a pattern of abusive behaviour.
  • Therapist or counsellor notes: While confidential, with permission, they can sometimes offer insights into the abused’s ongoing mental and emotional state.
  • Testimonies: Statements from close family or friends who have witnessed or been confided in about the abuse.

Read more: 5 Tips on How to Deal with a Narcissist Spouse during the Divorce Proceedings

How I Can Assist as Your Lawyer

With 28 years in divorce law, I’ve come to understand the profound complexities victims face, especially in cases of narcissistic abuse.

Firstly, I offer a holistic case evaluation, focusing on the legalities and the wealth of my experience. By guiding you on effective evidence collection, from textual exchanges to therapist insights, I aim to present a compelling case in court.

Protection remains paramount. If there’s an immediate threat, seeking measures, like injunctions and protection orders, is a priority.

Additionally, my extensive skill set enables me to mediate between parties effectively, ensuring the well-being of all involved and if necessary, represent you staunchly in trial.

Lastly, my role extends beyond the courtroom. After a divorce, I support pressing matters like child custody and financial settlements, helping you transition into life’s next chapter with assurance and clarity.

Read more: 5 Essential Rules for Divorcing a Narcissist in Singapore

Moving Forward

Awareness is the first step towards change. As society becomes more informed about narcissistic abuse, victims will hopefully find more avenues for support and understanding.

Victims must seek professional help, whether it’s legal advice, counselling, or both. Having someone who understands, whether a friend, family member, or professional, can make all the difference.

In my 28 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, everyone deserves respect, love, and understanding in a marriage. If you or someone you know is facing narcissistic abuse, remember you are not alone, and there is hope.

gloria james

gloria james

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