High conflict divorces involve at least one high conflict person…
That’s a person who loves the sense of battle and is preoccupied with blaming and controlling.
These divorces seem to never be final…at least, emotionally. And, the children often suffer the most.
Motive and Means distinguish a high conflict divorce from ones that are either friendly, or relatively “run-of-the-mill”.
Those two, identified so clearly by Kathy Marshack, PhD , form the basis of the ongoing, and often long-term, turmoil of a high conflict divorce.
MEANS: Although you might think of this as primarily money–and it is certain to be costly–means are also found in power. Money to wage an ongoing war is required. More than that, power over another–perceived or real–is also wielded.
The third source of means is key to calling this a high conflict divorce: one person wants to stay so focused on the person s/he blames for the divorce that they become like a terrier with a bone, irrational and tenacious.
Unfortunately, this wears down their partner, but often, also wears out the courts.
MOTIVE: The high conflict person is often narcissistic: controlling, self-absorbed, demeaning, entitled and low on empathy–even though they may say all the right things.
They constantly misperceive events and cannot tolerate the idea that they had a role in the failure of the marriage. Therefore, their “motive” is that they feel justified in doing or saying anything that will upset, irritate, cost you or trash you.
What can you do if you are trapped in a high-conflict divorce?
Get outside help. Work with a mediator to craft a collaborative solution to your divorce agreement.
If your partner will not negotiate respectfully, consider your children. You want the most expedient divorce possible with the best interests of the children in mind. High conflict divorce can be devastating for children.
If you have the means, the energy, and the fortitude to take on a high conflict person in court, get the best professional support you can: lawyer, mediator, therapist, advocate.
We can work together via Zoom video from wherever you are.
Make an appointment online by CLICKING HERE . I recommend starting with a QUICKSTART 2-hour session – we can get a lot done in that short time. Then, you can choose your preferred package following that.
While you’re waiting to talk with Dr. Shaler,
you’ll get some great tips for this episode of her
Relationship Help Show with
her guest, Karen Covy, divorce attorney, mediator, and adviser.