Any divorce has the potential for conflict and hostility. However, some divorces are more contentious than others, particularly when one spouse has a high-conflict personality. Those with high-conflict personalities tend to be emotionally volatile and may also engage in aggressive behavior or speech. Navigating a divorce when your spouse has a high-conflict personality can be difficult and trying, but there are some strategies that can help you cope.
Minimizing Conflict in the Face of Provocation
Most people shy away from conflict unless it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, many people with high-conflict personalities intentionally seek out conflict and create dramatic situations in their lives. Mental health experts explain that people with high-conflict personalities may escalate conflict and perpetuate it through tactics such as blaming, humiliating, or threatening the other person. They may use all-or-nothing thinking and speak in extremes.
When you are dealing with a high-conflict spouse, it can be tempting to respond in kind and engage in the same type of aggressive behavior or speech. However, as painful as it can be, the best thing to do in this situation is to take the high road. Avoid yelling, name-calling, threatening, or any other behavior that could worsen the situation. Instead, focus on minimizing your response and remain composed in the face of provocation.
Try Using the Gray Rock Method
The term “gray rock method” refers to a conflict avoidance tactic commonly used in situations with narcissistic or abusive partners or family members. The idea is that you act in an emotionally neutral way and have no reaction, even if your partner’s behavior is extreme or bizarre. This technique can be particularly effective against those with high-conflict personalities because they tend to feed off any emotional reaction. By responding in a consistent and unemotional manner, you may be able to avoid conflict escalations.
Make Sure You Have Support
Dealing with a high-conflict divorce can be overwhelming. It is important to make sure that you have a support system in place during this time. This could include family, friends, or even professional therapy. Work with a divorce lawyer who has experience in high-conflict divorce cases and is committed to representing you throughout the divorce process.
Contact our Palatine High-Conflict Divorce Lawyer
When you are divorcing someone who is intent on making the process as difficult as possible, you need someone on your side advocating for you. Skilled Arlington Heights divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson has ample experience in divorce cases, including complex litigation and high-conflict divorce. Call The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. at 847.873.6741 for a free initial consultation.