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Divorcing from a ‘high conflict’ personality type

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Divorce |

What is a high conflict personality type? In general, they’re quite recognizable, although you may not have recognized it. A high conflict personality type seems determined to take any possible conflict and magnify it, blame the other party, and make problems seem unresolvable.

There are several characteristics that indicate you may be dealing with a high conflict personality type;

  • Always blames others for problems
  • Unable to accept responsibility
  • Has little capacity for introspection, so progress can be difficult
  • Is highly controlling and manipulative, either consciously or subconsciously
  • Destabilizes situations with yelling, screaming, or threats
  • Has an all-or-nothing mentality; ruthless in efforts to “win”

When it comes to a divorce from a high conflict personality type, you may experience some complications that make it harder to get things done. For example, your ex may flood you or your lawyer with antagonizing communications. They may threaten sanctions against your lawyer if they don’t get their way. There may be physical, emotional, or financial abuse during the marriage. They may hide assets or attempt to downplay their financial situation in order to get a more favorable outcome. They may make false accusations of child abuse or parental alienation

High-conflict cases can often be identified by the fact that they go on a long time. Unfortunately, the high conflict personality type may choose a divorce attorney who is known to be combative. Or, they may have trouble keeping a lawyer and change lawyers frequently. It’s not unusual for there to be a restraining or protective order in place.

Divorcing from a high conflict personality type can just be harder, more time consuming, and more frustrating than a standard divorce. It can be full of acrimony that seems impossible to overcome.

Is there anything that can be done?

Yes. There are a variety of strategies that may help. For one, you may want to invest in a therapist who understands what it is like to be involved with a high conflict personality type. This person can help you remain emotionally balanced and manage your relationship with the high conflict person.

Legally, you may want to choose mediation as your dispute resolution process. There are some advantages to mediation that your ex may appreciate, such as its confidentiality.  High conflict cases that end up in court are some of the most expensive and time-consuming types of actions.

In mediation, a neutral third party helps you and your divorcing spouse communicate more effectively. The mediator isn’t there to judge you or to resolve your conflict but instead intends to help you work together to develop a resolution both of you can live with. It’s typically less expensive than a court trial and takes less time, which can be important.

Part of your divorce lawyer’s job is to protect you. Discuss your situation with your lawyer and come up with a plan.


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