New Spouses Aren’t Exempt From The High-Conflict Personality

I’m sharing a post from “Keep Your Head Without Losing Your Mind” because it struck so many chords with me, coming into a marriage five years after a high conflict divorce …. and continuing to deal with my husband’s ex and her high-conflict behavior thirty years later. Here is the post: “Weddings are seen as a new beginning.  Re-marriages start with the same hope.  But when a new spouse comes into the aftermath of a high conflict divorce, they face difficulties that other new spouses do not.  The divorce decree isn’t the end for a high conflict couple.  In most divorces, the couple’s anger dissipates over the first few years after the decree.  For an HC couple, the high conflict personality cannot let go.  they continue to attack the target (now ex) spouse. So the new spouse comes into a war zone.  They see their new partner in pain, and want to help.  But there are no guidelines in this relationship.  The HCP will likely strike out at the new spouse, too.  And now drawn into the hostilities.  What are ways to be supportive without raising emotions even higher?

  • Do not bash the HCP ex with your new husband/wife or in front of his children.
  • That said, make sure you have a friend or therapist you can talk to.  You will need to unload your anger, fear, frustration in a safe space.  Where you can say what you need without editing yourself.
  • Be confident in your relationship and your parenting skills.  Do not let the HCP drag you down with their allegations.
  • Likewise, do not get drawn into the fight, as long as the HCP has not placed you directly in the legal battle.
  • Court battles can be expensive.  Work together to create a budget.  It’s very common to end up deeply in debt with legal fights, you do not want to add bankruptcy to the challenges of a new marriage.
  • Be understanding when the children act out.  They feel the stress too and may not have any outlet for their emotions.  Talk with your spouse about appropriate discipline to make sure that you are not seen as too involved.  However, it is also important for the children to understand there are boundaries.
  • Take time for you and your new husband/wife to have private time.  Your relationship needs nurturing, especially in the early years.
  • Set aside “legal free” time.  During these days or weekends, do not talk about any legal matters, do not talk about the ex-spouse.  Enjoy your life.
  • Say I love you, a lot.

Remember, the fight won’t be forever.  When it ends, celebrate and enjoy your new family.

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