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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 06-15-2013, 12:19 AM
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Default High conflict person vs just a jerk?

In the ex's most recent bout of name-calling, he kept referring to me as a "high-conflict person" and going on about how he needs to protect himself from "high conflict people" such as me. I eventually figured out that this is his code for "I'm mad because I want more money and you keep referring to the terms of the divorce order when you say no".

I don't think I'm high-conflict (at least, I try hard not to be. I'm aiming for reasonable and diplomatic without being a pushover). But the term was new to me and I'm wondering if there's a precise meaning to it. Is there a difference between a "high-conflict person" and someone who's just a jerk and unpleasant to deal with? What's the best way to deal with the former, as distinct from the latter?
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:59 AM
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I don't know you.

You are not obligated to be "right," You don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to come up with the most amazing "everyone wins" solution. You don't have to be Jesus.

The ideal stance in negotiations is to be assertive, rather than aggressive. Google it so that I don't have to write 1,000 words. This is nothing new or innovative, it is a tried, tested approach to human relations that is broadly acknowledged and accepted.

If you are stating what is the best situation for you and your child, and it is supported in legislation and case law, then you are under no obligation to bow down and submit to your ex's demands.

I can't answer the question of whether you are being reasonable or not. You are the one who has to look in the mirror. If you are being reasonable, then stick to your convictions.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
I don't know you.

You are not obligated to be "right," You don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to come up with the most amazing "everyone wins" solution. You don't have to be Jesus.

The ideal stance in negotiations is to be assertive, rather than aggressive. Google it so that I don't have to write 1,000 words. This is nothing new or innovative, it is a tried, tested approach to human relations that is broadly acknowledged and accepted.

If you are stating what is the best situation for you and your child, and it is supported in legislation and case law, then you are under no obligation to bow down and submit to your ex's demands.

I can't answer the question of whether you are being reasonable or not. You are the one who has to look in the mirror. If you are being reasonable, then stick to your convictions.
In addition to Mess' comments you may want to look up the information on Google and read a few articles on negotiation styles.

"Hard" vs "Soft" negotiators

Also, it is important to note that "high conflict" does not mean "mentally ill" or "personality disordered". It is a pattern of behaviour and NOT a diagnosis or even remotely related to any medical diagnosis in any clinical system of diagnosis in mental health.



Good Luck!
Tayken

Last edited by Tayken; 06-15-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:46 PM
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I should be clear here - I'm not worrying about whether *I'm* a high conflict person (I believe I'm being reasonable and capable of compromise, and can pass the look-myself-in-the-mirror test) (but then, if I truly was a high-conflict person I'd probably think I wasn't one).

I was more wondering about whether this label indicates something beyond just being a a garden-variety pain in the neck, such as a personality disorder. I will look up information about negotiating styles as Tayken suggested.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:07 PM
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One of the most difficult things we all face is trying to treat our ex's as strangers. But, in reality, that's what they are to us now...not much different than the person in line ahead of us at the grocery store.
And what's even more difficult is dealing with tense situations in an apathetic manner. Even if you're doing something you believe is right for you, or your children (especially when it comes to the children).

One thing I really wish I could get through to my ex is, "You don't matter to me anymore. You are a gene donor to my children, and nothing more. Don't take it negatively, I'm not trying to devalue your worth in your own eyes or to the community at large, but you are a stranger to me; please just treat me as such. When the children are in your care, you are their babysitter in my eyes, and I should just be the babysitter in your eyes when the children are in my care."

If you could get this across without trying to sound hostile (if you find a way, please tell me. ) it may work out.

You're divorced for a reason, and both parties need to realize is that the reason is because your paths went in different directions (yes, even when it comes to an abusive, hostile relationship...the paths are in a different direction: one person wanted to be abusive, and the other didn't want to be abused...different directions).

I think emotional and mental abuse in couples gets downplayed a lot in our society...especially when it's men who are the abused (far more common than what you would even think).

Long story short...try to think of your ex as a cashier at a store, and nothing more. Try as hard as you can to isolate your feelings for him, and squash them out of your life (the fact that you get riled up because he calls you 'high-conflict person' suggests that you still harbour feelings).
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:41 PM
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I don't and I can't treat my ex as a stranger. She was part of my life for most of my life, for good and bad. She is the mother of my children. My children do talk about her. I can't tell them not to, unless it gets too personal. My ex and I do have to work together to be successful in being parents to our kids. And I will publicly acknowledge that on balance, my ex did a good job with our kids, and to call her a babysitter would be grossly insulting.

But that doesn't mean that I have to care about how she feels about me. And I don't let how she feels about me impact my life.

I don't spend time dwelling on what is past, I can't change it. And any energy I spend dwelling on it, is energy I am not devoting to my kids and my new relationship.

My GF came from a relationship with someone who was mentally ill and was emotionally abusive. She doesn't dwell on it either, and strives to maintain good communications with her ex. She may get frustrated with some things he does or doesn't do in regards to the kids, but she doesn't let it show to the kids, or him for that matter.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:47 PM
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Mine has been the cause of a lot of frustrations over the past couple years of separation. She just up and left me one day, no warning, and a half-assed explanation (we need some time apart, blah, blah, blah)...turns out, she was banging my friend's husband, and needed a love nest, and wanted to work through her relationship with him.

Over the last 2 years, she has tried to do a lot to manipulate me, bully me, and intimidate me; but I keep pushing back. When she left, I kept on paying the mortgage. She called me and threatened me to take her name off the mortgage, or she was going to sell the house. I talked to the bank, our mortgage was less than 1 year old, so, no, they weren't going to take her name off it. So I said, "Look, I tried, they said no. We can keep your name on till it comes up for renewal, and I can request that the bank remove it from you."
And she bitched and she whined...then she started getting all lovey again, calling me and giggling on the phone. Uh-huh...I ignored it...then, I get a call from a real estate agent, wanting to list the house. I said, "No. I am not selling the house."
Then, she went back to bitching and whining, and doing stupid crap (like not letting me talk to the kids when I call; not letting me take them to the company Christmas party).

I try try try try to be apathetic to her. "Oh, you got into a car accident, and totalled the car? That's nice. It's warm out today isn't it?" (and I was neither happy nor sad to see her limping and bruised from the accident (kids weren't in the car, so that was good). But, when she does DS like dump two huge bags of somebody else's garbage in my yard because she thought I did... Errgh...it makes my blood boil.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
One of the most difficult things we all face is trying to treat our ex's as strangers. But, in reality, that's what they are to us now...not much different than the person in line ahead of us at the grocery store.
I guess I don't find this difficult at all. I wasn't really that emotional about my ex when I was with him and since moving out of the marital home...I don't have any emotional feelings about him at all. I'm just irritated by how long its taking to finalize this divorce...which should have been pretty straightforward.

But its validating because my ex constantly reminds me of why I grew to feel nothing for him and why I don't want to be in his presence.

I'm sure my ex spends a lot of time talking about me and calling me various things...I really don't care. Eventually he'll find something better to do. His opinion of me is irrelevant.

I think divorce is an excellent opportunity to "take out the trash"...get rid of not just an incompatible partner...but also friends, family, etc who are liabilities in your life and wasting your time and energy. It can truly be a wonderful new start. You just need to fill your life with good, kind people who truly have your best interest at heart.
Quote:

I try try try try to be apathetic to her. "Oh, you got into a car accident, and totalled the car? That's nice. It's warm out today isn't it?" (and I was neither happy nor sad to see her limping and bruised from the accident (kids weren't in the car, so that was good). But, when she does DS like dump two huge bags of somebody else's garbage in my yard because she thought I did... Errgh...it makes my blood boil.

Talking to my ex verbally wouldn't work for me. I haven't done so in years. I do find that lately communications regarding the kidlet over email is getting a little better. I just have to keep it very short and not ask more than one question at a time because he's got the attention span of a fruit-fly. Some exes never really let go of hostility so you have to find other ways to communicate rather than verbally.

Last edited by Pursuinghappiness; 06-17-2013 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
I guess I don't find this difficult at all. I wasn't really that emotional about my ex when I was with him and since moving out of the marital home...I don't have any emotional feelings about him at all. I'm just irritated by how long its taking to finalize this divorce...which should have been pretty straightforward.

But its validating because my ex constantly reminds me of why I grew to feel nothing for him and why I don't want to be in his presence.

I'm sure my ex spends a lot of time talking about me and calling me various things...I really don't care. Eventually he'll find something better to do. His opinion of me is irrelevant.

I think divorce is an excellent opportunity to "take out the trash"...get rid of not just an incompatible partner...but also friends, family, etc who are liabilities in your life and wasting your time and energy. It can truly be a wonderful new start. You just need to fill your life with good, kind people who truly have your best interest at heart.



Talking to my ex verbally wouldn't work for me. I haven't done so in years. I do find that lately communications regarding the kidlet over email is getting a little better. I just have to keep it very short and not ask more than one question at a time because he's got the attention span of a fruit-fly. Some exes never really let go of hostility so you have to find other ways to communicate rather than verbally.
This conversation reminded me of Sheldon training Penny with chocolate on "Big Bang Theory" the other night.

We all just need to find out what our exes chocolate is.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:11 PM
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The Myth of the Amicable Divorce:

Lauren Howard: The Myth of the Amicable Divorce

For some reason many OCL and Section 30 assessors don't seem to get this:

Quote:
There is a big difference between handling disagreement maturely and pretending there is no disagreement. Divorce does not have to be about hate, but it cannot be about love. Divorce is a business deal that is afflicted and compromised by the emotional instruments of the marriage. It is a beginning and it is an end. But it is not something that two people can accomplish while holding hands any more than it can be accomplished at gun point. You can't be afraid to be angry any more than you can be afraid to be kind. Marriage at its best is about love. Divorce at its best is about business. And while one is a union and one is a dissolution of a union, they are not opposites.
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