I just ran across an enlightening article on HuffPost Divorce by Virginia Gilbert, MFT. I have been counseling individuals and couples in connection with their divorces for almost 30 years and I find it tragic that people who were once fond enough of each other to marry, and often create children, can become so bitter and embattled. Ms. Gilbert's tips are:
1. Minimize contact. She points out that high-conflict personalities thrive on battle. I've heard them referred to as "anger addicts." She advises to keep contact to a minimum and to have any communication in a written form.
2. Keep your feelings to yourself. She states that high-conflict personalities are "bullies." They beat you down by making you angry and attacking you. Whatever response you make will invite further attacks. Don't react!
3. Plan for the worst. While well-adjusted people "move on" with time, high-conflict personalities do not. Prepare for a long siege and protect yourself as well as you can with documentation to rebut what will be coming your way.
4. Never admit a mistake. In normal circumstances, accountability is the best policy. With a high-conflict personality, it will not create a more amicable relationship, but be more fuel for the fire.
5. Stop trying to co-parent. Attempts to co-parent with a borderline or a narcissist will keep you engaged in battle, with your children being the victims. Ms. Gilbert points out that while you may feel you are sending the wrong message to your children, you are actually protecting them by minimizing the conflict in their lives.
Thanks to Ms. Gilbert for succinctly setting forth these guidelines.
Click here to read the article.