When a couple gets divorced, it is often because of some underlying problem that at least one partner is unwilling or unable to change. The underlying problem is rarely, if ever, resolved through the divorce process. So-called “high-conflict” divorces usually involve ongoing hostility, allegations of abuse, or a lack of ability to communicate about children and their care. Approximately 10 percent of the divorcing population can be identified as having characteristics associated with a high conflict divorce.
Dealing With Difficult Spouses
It is not easy to be married to someone with an untreated personality disorder. These individuals sometimes manifest as the stereotypical “controlling ex.” Some of these individuals fail to understand or respect boundaries, and can be very manipulative. Often, a divorce impacts their self-image and they may go to extremes to regain a sense of control over their lives.
Some spouses may not have a true, diagnosable personality disorder, but may be troublesome nevertheless. Often these types do not compromise well, and feel that the situation is unfair, even when it is not. These individuals may have a hard time seeing that their actions contributed to the failure of the marriage.
Other spouses may not be difficult per se, but when it comes to their children, they have a very specific vision as to how they should be raised and are unwilling to compromise. They may see any parenting style that differs from their own as bad. These types often overstep boundaries by trying to micromanage every aspect of their child’s life, even when the child is in the custody of their other loving and responsible parent.
How to Cope During a High Conflict Divorce
In high conflict marriages, divorce is often the best course of action, especially if there are children involved. However, the emotional stress that often accompanies divorce can become overwhelming if not managed effectively. Follow these steps to help you cope through your divorce and beyond.
- Set boundaries with your ex. Do not respond to every text or email. Generally one text or email a day is enough. If things get heated, remove yourself from the conversation for a few hours or overnight to give you time to respond constructively.
- Devise an effective communication strategy. Do not allow your ex to push your buttons. Resist any urge you may have to fight back or even defend yourself in a verbal tiff. Stick to facts and maintain your boundaries.
- Keep your cool. Remember that someone can only make you angry if you let them. Try not to show emotions when dealing with your ex-spouse, regardless of how you are feeling. Often this gives them exactly what they want—control over your feelings.
- Focus on yourself. You have done the best thing you can for your own health and for the well-being of your children by leaving a high conflict marriage. Focus on what you can control—what goes in in your own house when your children are there. Do not allow your ex to intrude into the way you run your household.
- Seek help when needed. Often, talking to a therapist can help you deal with a difficult ex’s controlling behavior. Some divorced couples with children still go to couples counseling to help them communicate better and effectively co-parent their children.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Effectively Manage Their High Conflict Divorce
The Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC strive to minimize conflict during divorce. To learn more about how we can help, call us at 443-589-0159 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, allowing us to represent clients throughout Maryland.