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Disengage. Decide. Deliver. Document

Thursday, August 16, 2018

© 2015 by Andrea LaRochelle

We are always looking for reference material to provide clients to assist them deal with a relationship breakdown. 
We came across this one from Andrea LaRochelle and would like to share it with you...

“I’m done. I quit. I can’t do this anymore. I give up.”

It’s exhausting trying to raise children with someone who hates you. And you’re done. Done fighting. Done placating. Done brainstorming ways to make it better. Done taking the high road. 

Divorce is hard at the best of times. But when you divorce someone who may have a high conflict personality, it’s a whole new ball game of hell. 

Daily emails that read like novels about how you are the world’s worst parent; how you are destroying your children with your horrific controlling behaviours; sentences after sentence about how your children would be better off without you. 

You try to be amicable. You create a shared calendar to keep everyone in the loop about the kid’s activities. You try to have conversations around activities your kids should partake in. You try to engage in joint parent teacher conferences, get extra tickets for Christmas concerts and avoid saying anything negative about your Ex in front of you kids. 

You’ve read every book you can get your hands on to try and learn about how to divorce the right way. Surely someone out there knows something you don’t know about how to make your situation better. 

‘Cause this can’t be it –  is this what your life is going to look like for the next 18 years? Living in constant fear of the next verbal attack, never knowing when you might get served with the next court application, being bad mouthed to family, friends, colleagues and your children. ON REPEAT. 

No one understands the private hell you are going through. 

Managing a life filled with drama, inconsistencies, lies and manipulations will take its toll on you – and your children – but the 4D’s of High Conflict Divorce can help. 

Your divorce is high conflict. You need strong secure boundaries, clear and concise communications and you need to document your Ex’s manipulative behaviour.

Disengage: You are in conflict with your child’s other parent because their words and actions negatively trigger and affect you and your children. If you take the time to sort through your triggers and plan a strategy for how to cope when triggered, you will be putting yourself (and you children) on a path for healthier conflict resolution. 

Decide: You’ve likely never had to make so many decisions in your whole life. How do you make decisions when the person you have to make them with says no to everything? How do you ensure you’re not triggered when communicating with your Ex?
• Have an agenda – if you have an agenda you’ll be more apt to refocus on what needs to be decided rather than steering off course indefinitely.
• Communicate with proposals – offer your proposal for what you would like the outcome to be. The other parent will say no, rather than let it stop there, ask them to make an alternative proposal and don’t take no for an answer. They will struggle and most likely create drama. Refocus and keep pushing for an alternative proposal. 

Deliver: When you are in communication with your High Conflict Ex, keep all emotional words out of your email. If you use an emotional word, your Ex will attach themselves to the emotion and ignore what you have written. Keep your emails to 4 sentences. If you are writing more than 4 sentences, you are either sneaking in an opinion (and you will be attacked) or an emotion (you will also be attacked). Keep in mind ‘BIFF Responses’ to hostile emails: Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.

Document: In jot note form document the facts surrounding each manipulation/lie your Ex attempts to control you with. Do not add emotions to your notes – just facts. Include dates, times and outcomes. High Conflict People often manipulate those in perceived positions of power. In order for your voice to be heard, you need to provide a detailed document outlining the PATTERN of behaviour that is causing you (and your children) harm. 

The 4D’s of High Conflict Divorce won’t change your Ex’s behaviours. There will be days you will want to quit, to walk away, to escape the insanity permanently. But, if you put the 4D’s of High Conflict Divorce into practice, the high road won’t be as lonely and you might just preserve a little bit of your sanity during this insane time.

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