Divorce is one of the most difficult emotional challenges that many will ever face. However, it becomes more so in high-conflict situations where negative behavior probably also contributed to the demise of the marriage. Often it is one of the spouses, leaving the other looking to get out.
Regardless of the origin of the behavior by an angry spouse, marriage therapists and experts generally agree that it is best to avoid negative behavior and protect oneself if the other spouse is intentionally or unintentionally unreasonable.
Tips for managing the situation
Like it or not, the spouses will have some ongoing interaction if there are children from the marriage. Some of these suggestions involve a change in mindset while others are actions to minimizing the stress:
- Healthy coping skills: Healthy eating, suitable amounts of sleep and exercise do more for the mind and body than binge-watching Netflix and eating potato chips.
- Minimal contact: There is no reasoning with them, so it is best to keep contact to a minimum.
- Parallel parent: Rather than active co-parenting, this involves a detailed parenting plan that has firm boundaries and formal avenues of communication (text, email, intermediary).
- It is their issue: The anger comes from many things, including a fear of the unknown and lack of control.
- Stay on track: Do not let them unnecessarily drag out the process, which makes it more painful than necessary.
- Do respond, do not react: Be measured and non-judgmental in all interactions, which may mean waiting a few hours to respond to a nasty text.
- Manage expectations: Try to avoid overly optimistic assumptions and be prepared for the worst.
Focus on the priorities
The happiness and well-being of the children is the most critical goal in any divorce. It can be tempting to be difficult, but that behavior takes an unhealthy toll that serves no long-term purpose. Family law attorneys are skilled negotiators who can often act as a dispassionate buffer in cases like these, reducing the client’s stress to manageable levels.