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Dealing with a high-conflict divorce

When experts rank stress factors, the end of a marriage is ranked third, right after the death of a spouse or a child. Even going to jail or the loss of another family member is not as stressful. When someone with a high-conflict personality is involved in the marriage break-up, the stress levels can go even higher. Someone with high-conflict personality can be very self-centered or even anti-social. This type of personality is revealed through recognized characteristics

Those with high conflict personalities are often deceptive and attempt to maneuver the facts of the situation to make them fit their feelings. This can lead to inaccuracies and lies, sometimes with emotionally charged language added. They are also manipulative and try to portray themselves as the better person/parent and play the role of the victim.

High-conflict individuals often refuse to compromise or work out agreeable terms of a divorce. This might be due to feelings of fear, rejection or lack of self-worth. They may feel as though a compromise is losing on their part. They typically lack empathy or impose their emotional filter on others during the divorce. They might also blame the other spouse, no matter what the situation.  They can be aggressive to the point of abuse but project those traits onto someone else.

When dealing with a high-conflict personality during a marriage breakup, a person might want to consider divorce mediation. A skilled mediator will recongize the traits of a high conflict party and adapt an appropriate mediation style in order to reduce possible conflicts and facilitate a settlement.

Source: Huffington Post Canada, "5 Signs Your Divorce Will be High Conflict (And How to Survive)", Susan Valentine, January 29, 2014

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