How Do I Handle a High Conflict Spouse During Divorce?
It’s not uncommon for one spouse to be low conflict and the other spouse to be high conflict. How do I handle a high conflict spouse during divorce — whether you’re married, divorcing, or divorced — can take a toll. But there are strategies and professionals available to help you. Read on to learn how to handle a high conflict spouse during a divorce.
How to Handle a High Conflict Spouse
- First of all, if you ever feel threatened or scared — speak up. There are legal protections to put in place to help. For example, there are three types of restraining orders in Connecticut.
- High conflict people often try to destabilize and control your emotions through a variety of means including gaslighting, threats, and humiliation. Review the “low conflict” traits, as they are the key to dealing with a high conflict spouse. Following them will help you play your own game and stay focused and in control despite your spouse’s efforts to suck you into their dynamic.
- Get as educated about high conflict people as you can. Freed Marcroft’s team of divorce attorneys have found The High Conflict Institute a particularly excellent resource. You’ll gain helpful perspective and insight that will be invaluable through your divorce (and going forward).
- Begin working with a mental health professional of your own so that you have a professional to help you navigate your emotions.
- Engage legal counsel experienced in dealing with high conflict people. You want a lawyer who knows how to avoid taking your high conflict spouse’s bait — and who can help you refocus when your spouse’s behavior gets under your skin.
- Have a proactive legal strategy to get you towards your goals. Lawyers have tools to get you to the other side of a divorce with a high conflict person. For example, you can get ground rules and protections in place, including via court order.
Remember that while you probably can’t change the other person’s way of thinking, you can always choose how you react and respond back to them. Your spouse owns their own behavior — don’t take it personally. Their anger and blaming you is about them, not you.
Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals. Then, we take those goals along with the facts of your case and analyze them so that we can present you with recommendations and options on how to move forward.