You may have a very difficult time working with your Ex, but are they truly a ‘crazy maker’? Do they drive you to the brink of insanity over, and over, and over again? Does it feel like they have taken over your every waking moment or that your thoughts and emotions revolve around them? Is their voice always in your head? If so, you may be dealing with someone who has a true personality disorder. Whether they are narcissistic, border-line personality, or just high-conflict, some personalities are not well suited for having healthy, strong, and reciprocal relationships. Of course both of you are going through a period of exceptionally high stress and are likely at your worst, (stress and fear do amazing things to the human brain) so don’t be too quick to label the other person but knowing what you’re working with is helpful. If you understand the reason for your Ex’s behavior, it will be easier to identify what might, and might not, change and you can respond accordingly.
If you are dealing with a true personality disorder do not expect the other person to change.
True high conflict personalities are out of the other person’s control. People with these personalities do not understand that there is a problem with the way they think or act and you’ll never be able to explain it to them in a way they understand. The reason for their behavior is too much a part of them and they will not be able to see themselves as deeply flawed. They will not ever understand that they are the aggressor instead of the victim. While counseling is highly beneficial for anyone involved with high-conflict personalities, counseling does not usually prove very successful for the person who has the personality disorder.
Recognize that their behavior is not about you!
You didn’t cause it, you can’t change it, you can’t control it. The only thing you can do to deal with it is to build strong boundaries and detach with love. Once you begin to understand the pathology behind personality disorders, you can shed some of the anger and be more empathetic. Not always, but usually these personalities develop as the result of a person’s childhood. Although their childhood doesn’t have to involve severe trauma, as their brain was forming, something interfered that caused deep wounding and left the person trying to make sense of their place in the world. Even though these personalities can be aggressive and uncaring, deep inside, it’s usually because they are hurt and vulnerable. If you can start to adopt this view, it will be easier to cope with your Ex.
To build strong barriers, you do not need to shut the person out completely, just build enough emotional distance that their behavior doesn’t cause you negative harm. If you can recognize that your Ex’s behavior is just part of who they are, and it can’t be changed, you won’t feel the need to respond to everything and try to ‘fix’ it. The detached person handles tense situations by saying, “Since you believe you’re always right and I’m always wrong, there’s really not point in arguing with you.” That does not mean you have to give in or avoid talking to the other person, in fact, it is important to stick to your guns – but without reacting to their temper tantrums or having an emotionally fueled argument. It doesn’t help you to engage in blaming or heated fights. You will need to structure your requests and positions logically and factually so the conversation is narrowly focused on the issue.
Look for professional help.
Maybe you read a book, maybe you have a session or two with a therapist, maybe you do a coaching consult with an expert; you don’t need to engage in long-term counselling but talking to someone who specializes in this area can have a large impact. People spend their whole careers focused solely on these kinds of personalities. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of coping mechanisms that can be employed. Additionally, these types of personalities can be very difficult for children. Experts, especially therapists, can help you protect your children from any harm that may come from the behavior displayed by truly abnormal personalities.
Text Your Ex was created with the high-conflict personality in mind. Using a third party to communicate with your Ex helps you immediately create some space so that you can learn how to detach while still being able to co-parent effectively – even more effectively than before! We help you create a strong boundary so that you only get communication from your Ex that is neutral and polite, you are not exposed to any aggressive or blaming kind of language. You protect yourself in the present while forming the basis of a healthy relationship for your future.