Tips for Divorce Mediation with High Conflict Personalities

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsDivorce itself can be a challenging process. It can leave you emotionally and physically drained. This misery can be compounded to a whole new level when you undergo a divorce with a high conflict personality spouse.

High conflict personalities can be extremely challenging to deal with when it comes to divorce in general and Orange County divorce mediation in particular. This piece is covered in two blogs with some tips covered in this blog, while the other covered in an upcoming blog.

Before highlighting a few tips to help you deal with high conflict personalities through your Orange County divorce mediation. We need to take a look at the characteristics that define a High conflict spouse.

Characteristics of High Conflict Personality Spouses

The four primary characteristics they have are:

  • An approach to have everything for want nothing
  • Stick religiously to blaming others for any and every fault in their life.
  • Inappropriate and at times extreme behavior that is often unexplainable.
  • Lack of emotional management, which leads to exaggerated, unmanaged emotions.

Other characteristics of such personalities can be:

  • Being self centered
  • Lack of foresight between their actions and its repercussions
  • Manipulation of situation to fit into their own version of events
  • Cognitive distortions
  • A tendency to get into interpersonal conflicts
  • Being Unreasonable
  • Like to view themselves as victims in any conflict
  • Have a troubled past
  • Can make minor problems into major ones at will

Tips to Mediate with Such Personalities

Once the characteristics of the high conflict personality are clear, let’s take a look at a few trips to deal with such spouses in Orange County mediation.

  • At the start of the mediation process, be clear and confident about the fact that the other spouse is not in charge.
  • In mediation you are usually required to make opening statements. Instead of this, give the high conflict personality spouse the chance to speak about what they are willing to achieve from this process. What do they think is the best proposal for both the spouses?
  • Don’t expect your spouse to identify your interest and needs. HCP spouses are bad at thinking out of the box and are too self-centered to care about you. You need to be clear with each of your want and need from the outset, showing your tenacity to get what you want.
  • High conflict spouses usually go into any form of discussion with simply one solution in mind. The best way to deal with that is to present their solution as a proposal and highlight how this proposal is what will ultimately lead to a solution.
  • Orange County divorce mediation is all about courteousness and respect. You need to treat your spouse with respect, give them respect, and understand their viewpoints. Show them you are willing to listen to their points.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”