A high conflict divorce usually means there is a spouse with a difficult personality. It takes time to come to terms with the fact that the marriage is over, and dealing with a difficult spouse makes the process much more stressful. Those who are going through a high conflict divorce proceeding should be aware of how to protect themselves and their children.
A high conflict situation is often the result of one spouse’s need for control. The spouse was controlling during the marriage and now that it is ending they need to demonstrate that they still have control over something or someone. This could lead to arguments over finances or even a bitter custody battle. They may turn the children against the other parent (parental alienation) as a way to demonstrate control.
High Conflict Personalities
There are different types of high conflict personalities and identifying them can help craft a management strategy. Sometimes a true personality disorder exists. A few of the more common personality disorders that are linked to high conflict personality are as follows:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is characterized by a person who craves attention from others and also needs to put others down to boost their own self-esteem. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is marked by extreme mood swings and impulsive behavior. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) means a person absolutely needs to have complete control over his environment.
Some controlling spouses exhibit some of the classic symptoms of NPD, BPD, or OCPD, but their behavior does not warrant a full diagnosis of a personality disorder. However they will still promote high conflict situations due to an inability to empathize and accept alternate resolutions to a problem.
Dealing with High Conflict Personalities
There are several things one can do to maintain sanity while going through a high conflict divorce with a difficult spouse. One of the most important things is to resist being baited into fights. When communicating, stick to the facts. Avoid giving opinions because they can be manipulated and used against you. Expressing emotions also invites the opportunity to manipulate you through your feelings. Try never to engage on an emotional level. Do not respond to constant emails and texts. Pick a time once a day when it is possible to respond calmly and without emotion. Set clear boundaries for interaction and communication and stick to them. People with personality disorders generally do not have any sense of the needs of others and, consequently, ignore what others would consider normal boundaries in furtherance of their own selfish agenda.
Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Provide Support in a High Conflict Divorce
Divorce is a difficult time and even more so when a spouse decides to battle you at every step. If you need help with your divorce in New Jersey, the Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. will provide you with personal attention to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment at our Somerville, New Jersey offices, or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey.