High conflict personalities are defined by their tendencies for extremes in relationships. They can be pleasant one moment and hurtful the next. They only see things in black and white and are fond of taking an all-or-nothing stance. They behave in a way that makes people around them constantly defend themselves and have to explain every choice they make.

Therapists and psychologists are the only people qualified to make an accurate diagnosis of whether or not a person is a high-conflict personality. These traits can mostly be linked with personality disorders and substance abuse. However, hallmarks of the fact that your ex-spouse is a high-conflict personality can include; 

  • They have a habit of blaming others
  • They manifest this blame by aggression or assaults, whether legally, verbally, financially or physically
  • They have uncontrollable and rigid feelings
  • They have strong indications for personality disorders like narcissism 
  • They don’t know how to change or move forward and would rather speak to another party about their grievances against you 

Tips for Navigating A High Conflict Divorce

If you have realized that you are working with a high conflict personality, it is essential to take precautions. Divorces are generally tricky and emotionally straining, but divorcing a high conflict personality is even more distressing. This is because they are difficult to reason with and can be very vengeful when they lose. If you have children or a power differential exists in your marriage, this will make this even more complicated. You need all the help you can get, and the following tips are helpful 

Get ahead of Potential Problems 

By acquiring an expert divorce attorney, you can anticipate the issues that arise when divorcing high conflict personalities. This is because they have experience, the necessary skill set for interacting with such people and even a unique method of communication known as BIFF (Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm). They can also educate you on how to use this too. This will potentially save you any further problems that may arise. 

Minimize Contact 

Minimizing contact with a high-contact personality during divorce proceedings is crucial. You will avoid hours of frustration and stress as a result. It is preferable to avoid such a person at this time because they may be looking for ways to trigger you. This may, however, be difficult if you have children, as you still are legally required to notify the other parent of your child’s well-being. 

Establish Boundaries 

Setting boundaries helps ensure that you do not encourage the behavior of a high-conflict personality. You need a constructive framework for responding to their tricks and tactics so that situations do not feel escalated or, worse still, impact your divorce process. 

Don’t Engage or Allow Yourself to Be Bullied by Them

A high-conflict personality often knows what touch points will hurt you and will not hesitate to use them. Rather than arguing or trying to see reason with them, be firm in ignoring their trucks. Otherwise, you will feed their need for dominance and intimidation. Learn to say no without feeling guilty and recognize any emotional cards they may try to play, such as guilt-tripping or gaslighting you. 

Get Professional Help 

If you have lived and married a high-conflict personality, the chances are that these people have deeply hurt you. It would be best if you have a therapist to help support you and teach you healthy strategies to cope with the emotional difficulty. You will significantly benefit from it. 

Divorcing a high-conflict personality can be quite an ordeal, but with good support and a skilled divorce attorney, you can expect to scale through this.

At Lamb, Carroll, Papp and Cunabaugh, we offer an empathetic and practical approach to divorce and other family law matters. Let us provide you with the expert legal counsel and representation you need in this difficult time.