High conflict divorces can be emotionally charged and complex. Blamers and targets are terms used to describe certain behavioral patterns and roles that individuals may assume during a divorce, particularly in high-conflict situations:
In a high-conflict divorce, these roles can make it challenging to achieve an amicable resolution. Here are a few insights on managing or addressing these dynamics:
1. Seek Professional Help:
Counseling, therapy, or mediation can provide a safe space to address underlying issues and help both parties communicate effectively. Not all therapists and mediators specialize in high conflict divorces so it’s important that you ask the professional what their experience is with high conflict people.
2. Establish Boundaries
Set clear boundaries with the high conflict person. Setting a boundary doesn’t mean telling the person what the boundary is because high conflict people won’t easily respect a boundary. You must follow up with a consequence when the person crosses over your boundary. Examples of issues to set boundaries on include limiting communication to specific topics or through specific channels, when and how children are transferred from one parent to the other and how you’re going to share payment for children’s expenses.
3. Prioritize your children’s well-being
Even if you’re extremely angry or hurt by their other parent, you need to put those feelings aside for the good of your children. Speak respectfully to your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) and avoid saying anything negative about them to your children. This can be extremely difficult because they may be provoking you. Co-parenting classes or counseling are options to become educated on how to communicate with each other.
4. Self-care and support
Both parties should prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or support groups to manage the emotional toll of the divorce.
It's important to remember that every divorce situation is unique, and the dynamics between the individuals involved can vary significantly. Seek guidance from professionals who specialize in high-conflict divorces can be instrumental in navigating this challenging process.
Jill Barnett Kaufman is a Divorce Coach, Therapist, Parent Educator and Divorce Mediator. She is an experienced professional who helps clients discover new ways to resolve a variety of challenges when considering divorce, starting the process of divorce or are already divorced.