Divorce and Separation can be a hectic time. To make it worse, some people don’t ever move past this experience. They remain angry, jealous or feeling like a victim, which can result in them throwing some outlandish, nasty and even abusive words and behaviors your way.
I am talking from experience here.
High Conflict People often just can’t handle things not going their way and in order to deal with this feeling, they will blame you for everything. But their lack of ability to be accountable and grow as an individual isn’t your issue.
Here are 3 simple strategies that you can implement now to combat the drama and move away from their vicious score.
- Remember: You can’t change your ex; but you can control you
Trying to change someone’s story, thoughts, behaviors or actions can be like trying to herd cats; Exhausting and pointless.
You may not be able to shift their thinking around everything being your fault, but you can control your actions and reactions, when they do.
STOP: Stop yourself in that moment when you are triggered and chose to not react instantly. There is no rule that states that you need to respond straight away, so don’t, take time.
CAPTURE: Compartmentalise what has been said or what has happened by writing it down. This is good for 2 reasons;
- It gets it our of your head. Thoughts whizzing around our minds are never useful and we can’t make good decisions when we overthink or are emotional.
- You can use your journal as evidence
CONTROL: Control your thoughts and work out what you need to do in order to get THE OUTCOME THAT YOU WANT
ACT: Take thecontrolled and smart actions that you have decided to take.
Hint: If the action that has triggered you is reiterating the past, don’t respond at all. A person can’t argue if there is no one to argue with.
2. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is all about taking back control and giving you the space and protection that you need.
- If you are continually trying to please them and giving in or being passive-aggressive; STOP. Nothing you do will be right in their minds.
- If communication gets out of hand, stick to forms of communication that allow you time to think such as a text or email. You do not have to answer a phone call.
- If you don’t have a parenting, consent or court order, get one. This gives defined rules for each party and power to act if your ex doesn’t stick to them.
- If they are aggressive or abusive, engage the police. This will show them that you won’t take it and make them think before they act that way.
If you let your ex cross your boundaries and get away with it, they will keep doing it. Why change something that works for them?
Your ex may not like your boundaries, but they do need to respect them. In order for this to happen with nasty people, you have to remain firm in the boundaries that you set.
3. Create an Army
Have I mentioned that having a nasty or difficult ex can be tiring, exhausting even?
The point of building an army isn’t to fight them, quite the opposite. Building an army of people to deal with different avenues of contact with your ex reduces the contact you have with them and lessons conflict.
Think of it as employing a team of experts to take on the jobs you don’t want to do and to help advise you in challenging situations. It also helps you to nail in those boundaries that you have set but takes the pressure off of you, because other people are enforcing them.
Your army may consist of;
- Family Lawyer
- Domestic Violence Hotlines and Councilors
- Authority such as police
About the Contributor: Abbey McKenna.
Chief Editor for https://www.theparentingco.com