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Leaving a Narcissist? What a High Conflict Divorce Coach Is and Why You Need One

Written by: Liz Merrill, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


You know what it’s like to be married to a narcissist, but do you know what it’s like to divorce one? If you’re leaving a narcissist, you need to prepare yourself in ways you may not have imagined. How do I know this? Unfortunately, I experienced it firsthand during my own long and litigious divorce.

On a positive note, that experience added an essential perspective to my professional experience as a certified divorce mediator and high conflict divorce coach, and I have helped hundreds of people navigate their high conflict relationships and divorces, many of them with one thing in common: the person they’re leaving is a narcissist (more on that later).

Most people know what a narcissist is, but many of you are probably asking, what the heck is a “divorce mediator” or “divorce coach,” for that matter? And you’re probably saying with a bit of sarcasm, “What, are you going to get some pom poms and cheer for me when I’m in court?” I get it. I’ve been there. But the hard truth is it’s in your and your family’s best interest to be mentally and emotionally prepared for how a divorce will affect your lives.

This is where divorce coaches come in, helping and supporting clients through pre-divorce, divorce, and post-divorce issues. They can reduce legal fees, remove roadblocks and procrastination, and act as an independent third party to provide guidance, encouragement, and motivation. They can be a part of a collaborative divorce team or work independently during mediated or litigated divorces. See what Psychology Today has to say about the benefits of hiring a divorce coach (

As a divorce coach, I assist in many ways, including:

  • Walking you through the process, step by step.

  • Preparing you so that you aren’t blindsided by surprises.

  • Helping you manage emotions so that they don’t interfere with negotiations.

  • Teaching you to improve your communication skills to reduce conflict.

  • Equipping you with effective negotiation skills to use during mediation.

  • Helping you plan for co-parenting and other family-related issues.

  • Guiding you to set realistic goals and expectations and envision your life post-divorce.

And if you’re facing a high conflict divorce, having support is even more crucial to your emotional and financial well-being. This is my area of expertise, and I speak regularly on the subject and run multiple support groups and workshops. The truth is that the legal process is only one aspect of divorce. Attorneys don’t address the emotional part, and they aren’t usually trained in financial planning. Also, they aren’t going to mediate for you, and, frankly, it’s expensive to cry in their offices about things they have no control over.

Having someone guide you through the process and help you communicate and strategize with other divorce professionals will save you time and money in the long run, every time. What many people don’t know is that there is help beyond attorneys, especially when the person you’re divorcing is a narcissist.

Yes, narcissism is a buzzword, and for a while, I thought it was just people overusing the word. But according to many studies, narcissism is on the rise in this country. And then I started talking to more and more people who really were in relationships with narcissists, many of them verbally and physically abusive.

People in abusive relationships are often isolated and feel like no one, not even their own friends and family much less divorce professionals and the court, will understand their situation. But I will. And I know the most effective tools and strategies you need to feel confident when you face the emotional and financial challenges of divorcing a narcissist, including:

  • Understanding the narcissist and other high conflict personalities.

  • Learning how to disengage and break the conflict cycle and trauma bonds.

  • Preparing for divorce and mediation.

  • Preparing for life post-divorce.

I believe that with the right kind of information and support early on, a lot of the pitfalls that we see in high conflict divorces can be mitigated or at least managed more efficiently and effectively. It’s all about being prepared for what will come. It’s a focus on the future, not the past.

Please contact me, Liz Merrill, today to arrange a free 30-minute strategy session. I’ll help you clarify your issues and create an action plan for moving forward.

Liz Merrill, Owner, Open Space Mediation

970-818-2209 Phone | 859-552-4849 Mobile

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and visit my website for more info!


Liz Merrill, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Liz Merrill is a Mediator and a Divorce Coach with a specialization in High Conflict and Narcissistic relationships. She lectures regularly on high conflict divorce strategies and is a sought-after speaker and podcast guest. She also engages in regular pro bono work for families who are experiencing financial hardship and offers pro bono services through various nonprofits and the Colorado Court system. Her understanding of psychological and physiological reactions to trauma, conflict, and anxiety brings a holistic approach to her work with families caught in the High Conflict cycle. After her own litigious high-conflict divorce, she saw the need for a holistic approach to divorce mediation, which included non-violent communication skills, managing trauma, and an understanding of how personality traits and personality disorders create high conflict in a divorce. When she started working as a mediator for the courts, she discovered how badly equipped most divorce professionals are to manage the specific needs of people in high conflict relationships and how damaging it can be to the individuals and, most importantly, the children and family systems. Now she helps hundreds of people in crisis find workable solutions so they can reduce anxiety, save money, and move on with their lives.



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