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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 10-14-2011, 02:55 PM
Pursuinghappiness Pursuinghappiness is offline
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Default Dealing with Exes with Personality Disorders

There have been a few threads discussing the difficulty of dealing with a high-conflict ex in family court...especially ones that exhibit traits of personality disorder(s).

Can anyone who's had experience with this type of ex give tips on how to deal with it? Is it worth seeking amicable resolution?

I'm specifically interested in those that have dealt with paranoids, pathological liars, controllers, and/or narcissistic types.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:09 PM
torontonian torontonian is offline
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No possibility of reconciliation with controllers - once you don't want to play their games, you move into the enemy camp.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:48 PM
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First of all, let me say there is no "quick fix" or one piece of advice that works for everyone. This whole area is various shades of grey and it is more about you learning and understanding what really makes them tick and then using that to your advantage.

My ex would fall under the "controlling bully" / "paranoid" type. He's been this way all his life, and will never change.

Our separation was as amicable as possible because I knew what his weaknesses were and played to them. Not to manipulate him, but to ensure that he "felt" he was getting his way and that everything was "his idea". To do it any other way was like trying to move a 5 story brick wall...he just refused to budge...no matter how fair or reasonable I was being. If he perceived something as "my idea" or seen to benefit me...then he was against it and our negotiations stalled to a standpoint over the smallest issue.

A perfect example of this was his outright refusal of 50/50 for our son...when I told him that was what I wanted. He only wanted one day a week and every other weekend and refused to budge. I knew it was not in the best interests of our son to have his dad out of his life that much...so I suggested a trial period for the 50/50...just to see how it would go. About 2 months into the trial period the ex "suggested 50/50" and I aggreed. lol

For the division of assests we tried using a mediator, however, every time he perceived the mediator to be "on my side" he shut down and would not go any further until I "gave in". The mediator actually took me aside and said that I was being far to understanding and compromising and that he was there for both of us...and he was concerned that if I continued to "give in" that I would end up with nothing. I advised the mediator that I knew what I was doing.

In the end, through working together (oh the irony of it all! lol) the ex and I hammered out our own separation agreement for the assets...in one afternoon! It was later in the process and I basically agreed to all the "seeds" I'd been planting as "his ideas"...lol. There was some tricky negotiating on a couple of things, but for the most part it was fairly smooth.

My best advice to you is to get into therapy yourself, so you understand why you react to them and how to stop it. You can then discuss with your therapsit about how to handle certain situations so the outcome has a greater chance of being fair.

Above all else, find their weakness, and use it! For my ex...it was $$$. Pure and simple. $$$ He wanted all of it, did not want to part with anything and felt everything we had accumulated during marriage was his, and his alone. However, once he began to understand what it was going to cost him to keep everything (thanks to my constantly planting seeds about lawyers fees and how it is in the lawyers best interest to keep conflict going so they get paid more) he became easier to negotiate with. I still walked away with a bit less then he did, just to have it over. However, I think the fact that I don't have to deal with him all day, every day, anymore is absolutely priceless.

The learning process I went through for this has also made it way easier for me to negotiate and navigate the raising of our son.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:14 PM
Lorac Lorac is offline
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I think my X must be your X's twin brother. I would have to say my X is very narcissistic...it's all about him. He's an only child... has a mother, no cousins, one aunt and one uncle and that's it. He feels everyone owes him and I just don't mean money wise. He boast about all the people he knows, how important he thinks he is and feels he has intitlement to everything. He would most likely say I'm psycho, unstable, on drugs, crazy and I don't understand him...such a cliche :-) He is extremely spiteful and can hold a grudge for years. This was his biggest downfall. To this day he still bad mouthes me to everyone and like everyone here says...lie low and he'll hang himself...guess what...he did!!! Thank you everyone :-)
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:19 PM
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This information is taken from this web site as recommended by Tayken.
More on "Emotional Facts" can be found here and other high-conflict patterns of behaviour: Recognizing High Conflict People

I have found this information about fear helpful. I see all these patterns in my stbx and I am trying to keep them in mind when communicating.

High conflict people are driven by these four fears
The Fear of Being Ignored
The Fear of Being Belittled
The Fear of Being Abandoned
The Fear of Being Dominated

The rest of the article talks about ways to respond to these fears.

MIVILaLoco seems to have done this when mediating with her ex. Thanks for sharing, it has encouraged me to be conscious of this the next time I am in a meeting with my stbx.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:19 PM
judepude judepude is offline
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I have his brother! He definately has somekind mental problem. He has always put me down in front of all of our friends when we are out. Makes me feel very stupid. Buys cars, boats, rvs, etc., and says it is his money so he can do with it what he wants, not realizing that he loses money on every deal. He is the type that gets tired of things very quickly and has to change them, I believe I am the longest thing he has had! This has to be a sickness but when I mention it to him he gets very angry. This has been very difficult to deal with for the past 10 years, I think it must be some sort of male menopause. I know this will not come up in our divorce but I do believe it is the cause of our divorce. He does say I am psycho, unstable, on drugs and crazy. I am on pain meds. but don't even take what is subsribed to me because I don't want to become addicted. believe he is just making up reasons for leaving me. Anyway just needed to vent as this is a very trying time in my life. Don't know what is going to happen except that my lawyer is going to become richer and I am going to be working at tim hortons.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:27 PM
judepude judepude is offline
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I need to talk to you more, I think you have the twin to my husband. I am so tired of being stupid and he is the one with the money and controlles everything. I need to know how to get around this horrible feeling. I need strength, wisdom, and of course a good lawyer, and money.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judepude View Post
.... I believe I am the longest thing he has had!
I'm sorry, but this made me lol.
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
There have been a few threads discussing the difficulty of dealing with a high-conflict ex in family court...especially ones that exhibit traits of personality disorder(s).

Can anyone who's had experience with this type of ex give tips on how to deal with it? Is it worth seeking amicable resolution?

I'm specifically interested in those that have dealt with paranoids, pathological liars, controllers, and/or narcissistic types.
You are talking about Axis II cluster B disordered people. This includes histrionic, borderline and narcissists. This whole axis is being re-done in DSM-V. They are being lumped under a single grouping of sociopaths.

Careful of the push-me pull-me patterns of behavior that these possibly personality disordered people exhibit. I highly recommend you start with "Stop Walking on Egg Shells" and then move into the materials written William Eddy to get a better understanding on how to deal with it all.

There is nothing you really can do to "fix" the problem. As with all disabilities (mental) it is up to the person who has the problem to "fix" it. No matter what you do... You can't change someone else. Only they can change their patterns of behavior.

Good Luck!
Tayken

PS: People do change. The challenge is that they have to "want" to change.
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:14 PM
judepude judepude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torontonian View Post
No possibility of reconciliation with controllers - once you don't want to play their games, you move into the enemy camp.
I don't want to play his game but he scares me because he is so smart when it comes to finances and hiding things. I really don't know what to do next. I have got a lawyer now but we all know what happens now. Nothing. I am wondering about a an forensic acct. only if I get this prenup put aside. I figure he has bought his own house, he only comes home one night out of the week. I quess that would be so that he is not abanding the house. Right.Most of his clothes are gone. He doesn't even come to see his little dog, who misses him so much. So sad.
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