For some parents, it’s all about the conflict

“Over the past twenty years, a growing body of literature has developed on personality styles, in particular Narcissistic and Borderline styles. Millon (1996) not only focused on the disorders themselves, but those personality traits and features which impact upon relationships, rather than the individual. He has grouped personality disorders into four types. Many custody evaluators observe that most high-conflict families have one or both parents who exhibit either narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, paranoid, or borderline features. They may have parents who become rigid in their perception of the other and tend to deal with things in their extremes. Many parents are polarized, viewing themselves as all good and the other as all bad. These parents focus on the traits within the other parent that reinforce this perception, and they approach each new conflict as verification of just how difficult the other parent is. These parents experience chronic externalization of blame, possessing little insight into their own role in the conflicts. They usually have little empathy for the impact of this conflict on their children. They routinely feel self-justified, believing that their actions are best for their children. No matter how much the helping professionals try to keep the focus on the child, these parents remain focused on the conflict.”

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