High conflict personality types become preoccupied with the target of their blame, usually someone close to them (such as a spouse, relative, neighbor, co-worker) or someone in a position of authority (boss, doctor, administrator, government official). When it comes to a divorce, their ex-spouse will certainly become a target. They become fixated and obsessed with controlling, hurting and dominating the person that they blame for their circumstances or unhappiness.
Individuals with personality disorders perceive the world as filled with threats to their self-image. Their perception of others’ behavior are often distorted and, in some cases, delusional. Their world view is generally adversarial, so they often see people as either allies or enemies. Their thinking is dominated by cognitive distortions, such as: all or nothing thinking, emotional reasoning, personalization of benign events, minimization of the positive and maximization of the negative. They often form inaccurate beliefs about another person, but cling rigidly to those beliefs if they’re challenged because being challenged is perceived as a threat.
At some point, you’ve probably met someone with this type of personality. They love someone one minute and hate them the next. They often exhibit a sudden anger that seems to appear out of the blue, or a sudden shift from love or friendliness to intense anger and rage. A short while later, they act as though nothing unpleasant had ever transpired between them and the victim of their wrath. They’re an emotional roller coaster that can careen out of control on a moment’s notice. They are emotionally and often even physically unsafe to the people around them.
A borderline personality is characterized by:
- Fear of being abandoned, they exhibit clinging behaviors and manipulation
- A sudden display of intense anger, even at minor incidents – they have a very short fuse
- They seek revenge and vindication when they feel abandoned or threatened. They want to hurt others the way that they’ve been hurt
- They are impulsive and risk takers and exhibit self-destructive behaviors
- They experience dramatic mood swings, affecting their view of the people around them
Borderlines are often successful in many areas of their lives. However, because of their interpersonal patterns of behavior, broken and strained family and work relationships are common for them. They are preoccupied with issues of abandonment even in everyday common events. To prevent feeling abandoned, they strive to control and manipulate others. They rage against those they believe have abandoned them. Minor events quickly escalate into high conflict disputes. If the borderline is angry, they project this emotion on their partner and then believe the partner is angry with them.
They often switch back and forth between extremely positive feelings to extreme anger and hate. These emotional swings are almost always directed at the people they like or love. When they feel abandoned, disrespected, or threatened, they may file a lawsuit against someone to punish or control them.
Parents with a borderline personality disorder must win at all costs. Divorce and custody disputes are difficult for any family. To off-set, their feelings of abandonment and maintain control, they often do the following:
- Discourage or stop visitation with the Non-Custodial Parent (NCP)
- Allege false claims of physical or sexual child abuse
- Involve police with false 911 false domestic violence calls
- Systematically alienate the child from the other parent
- Eliminate the NCP from educational, religious, and medical decisions
- Engage in litigation on a regular basis for years after the divorce
- Attempt to sabotage the other parent in future relationships with potential partners
- Attempt to alienate the child from the other parents’ family members or friends
An Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others.
Antisocial high-conflict personalities (HCP’s) are the Con Artists. They see other people and the law, as challenges for manipulation and control. They have the ability to lie more persuasively than you can tell the truth. They look good on the surface and will often have a very favorable reputation.
According to the DSM Individuals with an antisocial personality disorder show a lack of concern toward the expectations and rules of society. And frequently become involved in at least minor violations of the rules of society and the rights of others.
They don’t care about the rules of society and you can sense this before you consciously recognize it. You may get a feeling about them that their “sincere” words don’t seem to match their actions. Con Artists are masters at getting you to doubt yourself and believe what they tell you. You develop confidence in them while they’re preparing to take advantage of you.
- Try to manipulate and dominate others to avoid being dominated
- Willingly hurt others for their own personal gain
- Have a strong disregard for social rules and laws and a total lack of remorse
- Are aggressive and exhibit a reckless disregard for danger
- Constantly lie to and deceive others, even when they can easily be discovered
- Tend to be physically aggressive and extremely irritable
- Frequently change jobs because of being fired or quitting due to personality conflicts
- Often abuse or neglect their children (both physically and emotionally)
They fear being dominated and therefore attempt to dominate and control others. This gives them a reassuring sense of power in the world. They’re often driven to hurt others to get what they want. They enjoy taking advantage of others. They are the con-man that marries several women at the same time for their money, or the psychopath who has no problem killing you because he wants what you have.
These people are masters at fooling family, friends, legal professionals, and even mental health professionals. Because of their lifelong skills of deception, Con Artists know how to make their stories sound believable. People dealing with an Antisocial in a business can easily be conned by them.
Antisocial’s frequently use the legal system to submit false claims against someone they wish to harm or control. They’ll even make false claims against a stranger who looks like an easy mark. A common example is bringing false charges of domestic or sexual violence against a spouse. Even if they themselves may have been abusive or violent. This also achieves the goal of control and manipulation of their target.
Family Court is perfectly suited to the goals of someone with a personality disorder: There’s an all-powerful person (the judge) who will punish or control their spouse for them. There’s a professional ally who will champion their cause (their attorney or the judge). A case is often prepared by gathering statements from allies such as family, friends, and professionals. They seek to gain the total allegiance of their children. If they fail, they treat them as an enemy and “make them pay”. Generally, those with personality disorders are highly skilled at and invested in the adversarial process.
“A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet.
People with this disorder believe they’re better than everyone else. Because of this, they’re constantly getting into conflicts with friends, family, co-workers and even strangers. They’re difficult to be around because of their self-centered and superior attitude.
Narcissists are generally characterized by:
- Having an extremely superior self-image
- Feel disdain for those who they view as inferior to them (most everyone)
- Often exaggerate their achievements or talents
- Feel they’re entitled to special treatment and attention
- Are self-absorbed – their interest, wants and desires are all that matters
- Take advantage of relationships to serve their own desires without remorse
- Lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others
Their superior attitude is usually out of proportion with their accomplishments. Many successful people have a dose of this attitude. Confidence is one thing, but having a narcissistic personality disorder means that the person is dysfunctional. And this can be a highly destructive force in any community or family.
Narcissistic personalities become involved in business disputes and lawsuits more often than other high conflict personalities. These people can be very charismatic. They believe in their own fantasies. And can compel and inspire others to believe in them.
Narcissistic parents fear losing custody and control, lest they feel abandoned and depressed. Narcissistic personalities often become involved in high conflict divorces because of their disdain for others. And are generally oblivious to the consequences of their own actions. They often feel like they’re the victim, when in fact their own behavior usually causes events that upset them. Compromise and respect for others is almost nonexistent.
If you confront the narcissistic personality about their behavior, watch out. They’ll become extremely defensive and often respond by an intense verbal or even physical assault. Narcissists are usually no more aggressive than the average person until they feel threatened. However, they will aggressively attack someone when they experience a real or perceived threat to their self-image.
Histrionic personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called dramatic personality disorders. People with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions and distorted self-images. For people with histrionic personality disorder, their self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention. The word histrionic means dramatic or theatrical.
Histrionic personalities (often referred to as “drama queens”) can be extremely difficult to deal with because of their high intensity emotions and constant claims of crises. However, these emotions change rapidly. They’re usually very shallow and lack any real substance. Listening to them can be exhausting.
- Are dramatic and theatrical, with intense fluctuating emotions
- Need to be the center of attention, because of intense fear of being ignored
- They are uncomfortable in situations where they are not the center of attention
- Have difficulty focusing on tasks or making decisions
- Often make rash decisions
- Exaggerate and fabricate events
- Have a low tolerance for frustration or anything that results in delayed gratification
- Use their physical appearance to draw attention to themselves
- Are easily influenced by others and highly suggestible
- Constantly seek reassurance and approval from others
You can’t miss the Histrionics personality. They’re always focused on getting your attention. All too often it’s like watching a performance rather than interacting with a person. Because their emotions fluctuate so dramatically, real relationships with them are difficult and superficial. People in a relationship with this type of personality will usually protect themself by creating an emotional distance while dealing with them. Those who remain in their lives often become resigned to letting someone else’s crises be the constant focus.
They can be fascinating and exciting but friendships and romantic relationships with them usually end up total disasters. A relationship with a Histrionic will most likely be characterized by fierce intensity, temper tantrums, manipulations, lies and outbursts of anger. True intimacy with another person is usually unobtainable for the Histrionic without professional help.
Histrionic personalities appeal to your emotions to get your attention, to make demands on you, and to try to convince you of something. Yet their constant “crying wolf” will alienate and wear people out after a while. They’re also easily influenced and may include recent news events into their own stories. In legal disputes, they may allege that they are victims of the latest abuse trend and have the ability to be very persuasive because of their high-intensity emotions.
Now that you have the information you need about the potential dangers of a high conflict divorce, let’s get started with the information you need to protect yourself, your children, and your finances during that divorce.
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