When dealing with high conflict partner/ex people and situations, we might engage
in aggressive, passive or assertive approaches. The latter is the most
effective though it’s easy to be Aggressive if you’re being attacked
by someone who might not be thinking rationally or Passive if your ex is
controlling. The following describes each approach and gives tips on how
you might develop your Assertive approaches.
It’s perfectly understandable and normal to feel like responding
aggressively when someone acts aggressively towards you. You might try
to eliminate your partner from your life and from your children’s
lives, or trash them the way they trashed you, but this common mistake
backfires in court. Legal professionals may view you as someone who is
‘splitting’ and an equal party – or the primary party – engaged
in misbehaviour. Even if that isn’t true, you don’t want to give
your partner any ammunition to use against you in or out of court.
An aggressive approach by you can increase your partner’s unwanted
behaviour. Resist the urge to act aggressively, and mentally prepare
yourself – you will be glad you did in the long run.
An assertive approach involves actively learning about personality
problems and how you can respond to these – this is where this
workbook helps! By understanding these problems, you can proactively
plan your response.
A passive approach is equally problematic. While it may be tempting to
give up or give in to avoid conflict, passive approaches aren’t
recommended. Just when you think you have given up enough that the
partner with BPD or NPD traits should be satisfied, they may demand even
more concessions. You don’t want to allow your partner to push you
around, make false statements about you, and persuade others that you
should be punished and restricted by the court.
If you don’t correct false statements, these statements may follow you
into other parts of your life and possibly create future legal problems.
If you’re a classic avoider of conflict, changing the way you meekly
respond to blame and criticism may be difficult but you will need to
develop more assertive approaches to minimise high-conflict and show
gravitas in the courtroom. Court professionals don’t have much time to
make assessments, and first impressions really count. If you don’t
bring things up, it will be as if they never existed. Being passive
didn’t work during the marriage, and it doubly won’t work now.