Co-Parenting With A Chronically Difficult Person

Living or  co-parenting with a chronically difficult person aka a high conflict person?

When you are co-parenting with a chronically difficult person as your partner, you have many potential obstacles in your path.

We use the term ‘high conflict’, to indicate people with certain personality and behavioral traits that are identifiable to trained professionals.  To you, these folks are ones you think

Get the help you need for high conflict management from The Optimize Center, online or in-person.

It’s not my fault!

of as unusually difficult, demanding, controlling, manipulative, needy, bull-headed, rigid,  non-empathetic, or  drama kings or queens. If any of those sound like the person with whom you have had children, you may well be in relationship with a high conflict person.

Of course, there are many people with one or two traits that are annoying and irritating. That’s most of us, in one way or another. So, if you think you are dealing with a person who is more than just annoying or irritating, you need a much broader, stronger and more insightful set of skills right away.

NOTE: If you are still living with him or her, keep reading. If you are separated or divorced, go to this page for what you need next.  If you are living and parenting with a person who is occasionally annoying or irritating, go to this page for insights, skills and strategies that can help you both.


Considering that you have now decided that you are indeed living with someone who is demonstrating some general traits or patterns of a high conflict personality, there are things to get straight:

  • High conflict people usually want things their way.
  • High conflict people want to be the center of attention in most things in order to fulfill their unmet emotional needs.
  • High conflict people avoid taking responsibility for their own problems, and especially not for any part they might play in the problems of others.
  • High conflict people will go to great lengths to get you to agree with their rigid point of view or perspective.
  • High conflict people will not take in, reflect on, or welcome any feedback or input from you, no matter how truthful, factual or accurate.
  • High conflict people keep themselves stressed with their internal conflict, and that spills over on to you and the children.
  • High conflict people are always looking for someone to blame for everything. It is never their fault or their doings that cause problems.
  • And, they honestly are unaware of most of these things.

So, could you expect a high conflict person to put the best interests of the children first?  

Only if all their own needs are met and mellow at the time.  And, that’s neither often, nor predictable!

You need the insights, skills, strategies, solutions and support to be able to successfully manage living and parenting with a high conflict person.  Having that will make it more understandable, help you create better boundaries, and allow you to know that you’re not crazy.

Relationship help for home and at work

READ THE RELATIONSHIP HELP BLOG: You’ll find much relationship help by reading Dr. Rhoberta Shaler’s blog at  

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT: You can also book an appointment for a private or couples sessions with her there.

REGISTER FOR A CLASS, IN-PERSON or ONLINE: Register for a class.  

You cannot do this by yourself and it is damaging to you and your children to continue in these patterns. Get the help you need now. 


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