Whether or not you’re married, splitting up can bring out the worst in anyone. Individuals who may struggle with a personality disorder or traits, though, can create frequent high conflict interactions.
During this vulnerable time when there is a loss of self-esteem and control, you may become the target of your partner’s extreme view of you being ALL bad.
You could be at risk for escalating interactions that could lead to destructive arguments, false accusations and long drawn out court battles. The emotional toll this takes often leads to symptoms of depression, anxiety and addiction.
I often speak with clients and educate them on the importance of these 3 ways to communicate with their high conflict partner. These strategies can help reduce the intensity of the conflict you’re experiencing with your partner and help you stay focused on your end goal.
- Stay calm and don’t absorb your partner’s crisis. Avoid mirroring your high conflict partner’s emotional projection. Try using a matter of fact tone of voice. This helps reduce your high conflict partners over reactions.
- Avoid talking your high conflict partner out of their false beliefs about you or the situation. This often results in cycles of destructive communication leaving you feeling angry and exhausted. Communicate your perspective in safe, structured environments.
- Be patient and flexible. Avoid presenting your issues as crisis to your high conflict partner. Give your high conflict partner notice and extend politeness when you need information from them. Be clear in your message and offer a timeframe for which you expect an answer.
Speaking with a mental health professional can assist you with implementing these 3 communication strategies. If you are noticing symptoms of anxiety, depression or addiction, it is important to get support right away!