Dealing with a High Conflict Spouse

by | August 18, 2021


Have you figured out that you’re dealing with a high conflict spouse? Maybe you didn’t even realize how bad your situation was until your marriage began to unravel. Then you started to see this person as she or he really is – maybe seeing signs or traits of narcissism.

So you start going online and reading everything you can get your hands on to validate what you’re thinking and feeling. And it’s all there… You can identify with and have actually lived through this for years – maybe even decades.

I have had countless conversations with individuals who are having the very same experience you’re having. I want to acknowledge you for taking that step to educate yourself so you can understand what you’re dealing with. As you know, “knowledge is power.” If you’re divorcing a high conflict spouse, you may see someone who’s stuck in their own feelings of anger and resentment towards you. They may be unable to take any responsibility for their actions and may blame you for the difficulties in your marriage. They may even look at themselves as the “victim” here. And these are all characteristics of a high conflict personality.

But here’s the bottom line – you cannot change this person. When you continue your old pattern of reacting to them, you’re being hooked right back into the same old dysfunction you’ve had for all those years!

There is a way to feel less angry, more empowered and have a sense of confidence as you go through the separation or divorce from this person.

As a Licensed Provider for Bill Eddy’s New Ways for Families model, I want to share 5 Ways to Deal with a High Conflict Person.

1. Don’t take it personally. Your spouse’s anger, blaming and demands are their personal issues, not yours.

2. Set up your personal boundaries. If you’re not being treated with respect, you have the right to end an abusive phone call, not respond to a nasty text message, or walk away from someone.

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3. Refuse to give in to demands if you disagree. This person might try tactics like acting sad and needy to make you feel guilty. Maybe they get angry and argue with you to get you to change your mind. You have a right to say NO to their demands without feeling guilty.

4. If you’re feeling “bullied” recognize that it’s time to end the conversation. Say something like “I’m not going to have this conversation right now. It’s not acceptable for me.” Keep repeating that over and over if you need to.

5. Self-care is critical. Get support from good friends and family. Get advice from an expert who can help you manage those crazy emotions and help you practice these skills to shut down these negative interactions. 

If you need help in dealing with your high conflict spouse and you don’t know where to turn, our team at Smarter Divorce Solutions is here for you. Please don’t do this alone. Schedule your complimentary consultation today and let us provide the guidance and expertise you need today.

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At Smarter Divorce Solutions, we help you with creative solutions and sound financial decisions surrounding the dissolution of your marriage, because we know that in the end you will still be part of the same family.  Happy Anniversary to those that made it, and a kinder, gentler and more affordable divorce to those that didn’t.

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