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High-Conflict Personality

 

In nearly every divorce or dissolution, there is a disagreement that seems insurmountable. In one case, the dispute may be over the value of your home and who should continue living there and in another case, the debate may be whether minor children should attend public school or private school. As frustrating as these disagreements may be at the moment, they are common and often work themselves out once the parties establish open lines of communication and have some time to reflect on the issues underlying the disagreement.

On the other hand, if your spouse has an ongoing pattern of all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, extreme behavior or threats, and a preoccupation with blaming others, he or she may have a high-conflict personality.

 

You do not have to tolerate being subjected to bullying,

harassment, blame, humiliation or having

rumors spread about you while going through a divorce.

Christopher M. Alexander has more than 25 years of experience litigating divorces and negotiating dissolution with individuals who have a high-conflict personality. Christopher M. Alexander is adept at finding constructive ways to reduce the level of conflict which in turn opens lines of communication. When you need a compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorney, contact Christopher M. Alexander, Esq. at (513) 228 – 1100 or chris@alexander-legal.com.

What is High-Conflict Personality Disorder

Run an internet search for high-conflict personality disorder and you will find a multitude of articles that describe the disorder and offer suggestions on how to confront it. A high conflict personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of intense, repetitive conflict in relationships which creates chaos in the individual’s life.

High-conflict personality is often associated with a cluster of symptoms such as grandiosity, impulsivity, rage, paranoia, and fear of abandonment. Individuals with a high-conflict personality are often unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions and are easily triggered into high levels of anger in situations where they feel slighted or misunderstood.

The following behaviors are common in a person with a high-conflict personality:

  • Exaggerated emotions

  • Repeatedly inappropriate behavior

  • A penchant for turning minor problems into major disputes

  • A need to always have someone to blame

Whether you encounter a high-conflict personality at work, in a close friendship or in your spouse,  you will have to develop strategies for communicating effectively in such a way that does not allow that person the opportunity to raise the level of conflict.

Rules for Communication with High Conflict Personalities

When you know that you are dealing with a person who is prone to instigate conflict, your first instinct will likely be to avoid contact with that person altogether, but you may not be able to do so if you are attempting to litigate a divorce or negotiate a dissolution.

Even if you can avoid the individual altogether, what happens after your divorce or dissolution is final? How will you communicate with your ex-spouse if you are legally obligated to co-parent minor children? These ground rules for communication may help:​

  • Limit your interactions to written communication, with the exception of an emergency involving the children

  • Do not use degrading language, name calling, criticism or profanity

  • Do not place blame

  • Deal only with present situations

  • Once a parenting time schedule has been agreed upon, avoid making changes to it

  • Exchange the children in a neutral, public place

Realize that you may have to set personal boundaries too when it comes to dealing with a high-conflict person, especially in parenting situations. Rather than investing your energy in trying to win the battle, try to focus your attention on making sure you are meeting the needs of your children. It takes two to tango and if one party chooses to disengage from the conflict, the other party will have no one to fight with.

​Get Experienced Legal Help if Your Spouse has a High Conflict Personality

Christopher M. Alexander has more than 25 years of experience litigating divorces and negotiating dissolution with individuals who have a high-conflict personality. Christopher M. Alexander is adept at finding constructive ways to reduce the level of conflict which in turn opens lines of communication. When you need a compassionate and knowledgeable family law lawyer, contact Christopher M. Alexander, Esq. at (513) 228 – 1100 or chris@alexander-legal.com.

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