Dealing with a difficult ex during divorce

Communication problems are often at the root of a couple’s decision to divorce. Even when the marriage ends, the conflict can continue because generally the couple hasn’t been able to successfully mend their miscommunication.

Dealing with difficult ex

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Resentment and other unresolved feelings have a way of sneaking into your interactions with your former spouse or significant other. This is especially true when children are involved. You can’t reasonably expect to effectively parent your children if there is little to no communication with the other parent. In some relationships, one or more of the parties can be identified as being “high-conflict” or just a plain jerk.

Here are some tactics to be mindful of in your interactions with your ex:

  • Don’t take it personally. Easier said than done, yes, but high-conflict individuals use conflict as a tool to keep you involved in their lives. Don’t make it easy for them to do that.
  • Remember Bill Eddy’s acronym BIFF – Brief, Informative, Firm, and Friendly. Strive to achieve communications with your ex or any other high-conflict person by following these four adjectives. Bill Eddy is co-founder and president of the High Conflict Institute.
  • Refrain from admonishing the other person. No matter how satisfying the admonishments may feel in the moment, the feeling is fleeting. Just because the other person dealt you a full hand of personal attacks doesn’t justify you doing the same. Try employing the golden rule, “treat others as you would like others to treat you.”
  • Employ active listening techniques. Think before you respond. You want to avoid instantly responding or decide not to respond. This might mean taking a few deep breaths before answering a request or question. If you’re truly interested in reducing conflict, consider whether you’re motivated to respond only to prove yourself right.
  • Bill Eddy also suggests refraining from apologizing to high-conflict people because it can have the effect of reinforcing their belief that the problem is entirely your fault.
  • Consider the services of a mediator or parenting coordinator, who can help resolve conflicts and develop plans that both parties can agree on.

For more information on divorce and family law issues, email, or call toll free: 877-687-1392, or locally: 239-210-7516.

Interested in learning more about the emotions that can surface during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?



     Posted on March 17, 2015 at 8:33 am | No comment

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