Most Illinois couples start their marriage with high hopes for a lifetime of love and happiness. Unfortunately, certain characteristics and behaviors often do not come out until spouses are married and comfortable letting their guard down. This makes certain personality disorders very hard to detect before marriage and devastating to endure once they begin.
Borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and psychopathy affect a relatively small percentage of the population yet are common enough that extensive research has been done about how these personality disorders affect the ability to form and sustain healthy relationships. If you are in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder, you likely already have experience with how unpredictable and contentious conflict with your spouse can become; unfortunately, getting divorced is likely to be even more challenging. The good news is that you are not the first person to go through this experience and there are things you can do to protect yourself.
One of the hallmarks of common personality disorders is the need to maintain contact, even when the contact is hostile and embittered. If your spouse bullies you, gaslights you or contacts you repeatedly and inappropriately, cut off contact as much as possible. Even if they appear contrite and apologetic, do not get taken into discussions about reviving the relationship or negotiating the divorce. Allow your attorney to handle the conversations for you.
Anticipate False Accusations and Do Not React
As your divorce progresses, fears of abandonment often trigger false accusations that are meant to grab your attention and keep the divorce process going longer than is necessary. If you can anticipate false accusations, you will be less likely to feel the need to justify yourself to your spouse or question them about their motives. Instead, act with restraint and integrity and let the evidence speak for the truth.
Avoid Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
If your spouse is manipulative and you fear they will use negotiations in bad faith, do not give them the opportunity to do so. Although mediation and collaborative divorce often benefit divorcing couples who can work together in good faith, they can make the situation worse when one spouse is abusive. Even if your spouse appears to be in a period of remorse or makes claims of illness, pregnancy or financial problems, avoid putting yourself in a place where you could be taken advantage of when your spouse’s mood swings in the other direction.
Meet with Our Hillside, IL Divorce Lawyer
If your spouse has a serious mental illness or personality disorder, your divorce could be complicated and contentious. For help protecting yourself and fighting for a fair divorce decree, work with an Oak Park divorce attorney who has extensive experience in all types of divorce. At [[title]], we are prepared to help you pursue the best interests of your children and prevent false accusations of abuse or neglect from derailing the divorce process. Call us today at [[phone]] to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.