Common Personality Types In High-Conflict Divorce

MLF Team

Common Personality Types In High-Conflict Divorce


Amicable divorces, in which both parties have agreed on most or all of the essentials before filing their petition with the court can be stressful. The stress levels are even higher in divorces where one or both parties are uncooperative. High-conflict personalities, characterized by behavioral traits like argument escalation, stonewalling, and gaslighting, may require a different approach instead of an amicable divorce. Find out more about the common personality types associated with a high-conflict divorce and discover how a seasoned family law attorney from The Millard Law Firm can assist those going through a divorce in Georgia by contacting our office at (678) 319-9500.


What Is a Divorce?


According to the American Bar Association (ABA), divorce refers to the state-governed legal process that officially terminates a marriage via a court decree. This procedure separates shared assets, typically establishes distinct households, and enables the former spouses to legally marry other people if they wish. Typically the family law court will divide the couple’s assets, stipulate spousal support, and will also award child support and custody if the couple has children.


Georgia Divorce


According to the State of Georgia, the divorce process begins with one partner filing a divorce petition or complaint, which names the reasons for divorce and the issues the individual bringing the complaint or petition would like the court to resolve. In Georgia, it is necessary to submit this filing to a court located in a county where at least one of the spouses has lived for a minimum of six months.


There are two basic types of divorce:


  • Uncontested: These divorces occur when each party agrees to the divorce’s terms, including child custody, alimony, and asset division.
  • Contested: In contrast, these divorces take place when both parties cannot agree on the divorce terms, requiring court intervention.


Not all contested divorces are “high-conflict”; sometimes divorcing couples ask the court to devise a settlement because the partners feel a disinterested third party will be better able to come to a fair judgment regarding the distribution of shared property and necessary support or custody arrangements. Generally speaking, however, uncontested divorces tend to involve less conflict between the spouses, not only inside the courtroom but in their interactions throughout the process of coming to terms regarding their divorce settlement, than contested divorces.


What Are the Characteristics of a High-Conflict Divorce?


Here are some characteristics associated with a high-conflict divorce:


  • Lack of compromise: While some agreements are usually possible in most divorces, high-conflict divorces typically involve one spouse refusing to agree on basic, reasonable terms. This may be due to these individuals viewing such compromises as losses.
  • Manipulation: Manipulation relates to control, and divorces involving a manipulative spouse are at risk to be high conflict due to the manipulator realizing they are losing control of the relationship.
  • Argumentativeness: If a spouse insists on having the final word in every interaction, and especially if they habitually create a hostile environment, this is likely to lead to ongoing conflict during a divorce and can make it challenging for the partners to reach an agreement on the divorce terms.


What Are the 5 Types of High-Conflict Personalities?


The following are the five main types of high-conflict personalities:


  • Borderline: This personality type relates to individuals who find it challenging to effectively manage their emotions, resulting in impulsive behavior and negative feelings toward themselves and others.
  • Paranoid: Individuals with this high-conflict personality find it difficult to trust others, are suspicious of other people without cause, and are constantly on guard, meaning they think others are always attempting to threaten, demean, or harm them.
  • Narcissistic: This category relates to individuals who have an unreasonable view of their importance. They may not be aware of or care about other people’s feelings, and they might have a constant need to seek attention and admiration from others.
  • Histrionic: The distinguishing feature of this personality is that the individual regularly displays attention-seeking and exaggerated behaviors.
  • Antisocial: People with this high-conflict personality type might be irresponsible and impulsive. They might not care about other individuals’ feelings and could be reckless, deceitful, and manipulative.


Learn more about the common personality types linked with a high-conflict divorce and explore the legal options available for soon-to-be divorcees by arranging a consultation with a Georgia family law attorney from The Millard Law Firm.


Which Personality Traits Are More Likely To Divorce?


Individuals with these personality traits are usually more likely to get a divorce:


  • Anxious about conflict: Actively avoiding arguments can lead to issues further down the line in the marriage when conflict finally emerges due to built-up disappointment, resentment, and sadness, increasing the chances of divorce.
  • Pathological lying: This entails constantly bending the trust, alongside putting in the effort to defend their lying, significantly straining a marriage.
  • Poor communication: A classic example includes the inability of one or both spouses to openly discuss their feelings, making it challenging for the couple to work through their issues.
  • Self-deprecation: Healthy marriages require individuals to have a positive relationship with themselves. When individuals frequently engage in self-deprecating behavior, it creates a toxic imbalance that can drive the other spouse away.
  • Overprotectiveness: Excessively nurturing another partner can make them feel incompetent, insignificant, and smothered.


What Are the 4 Red Flags of a High-Conflict Partner?


While individual behaviors will vary widely, a few broad categories do show up in high-conflict divorces again and again. Below are four red flags of a high-conflict partner.


Blaming Others Frequently


If the partner constantly blames others for the things that have gone wrong in their life, such as in their career, friendships, or previous relationships, this could suggest they might cause conflict. They may struggle with taking responsibility for their mistakes, which can make them less likely to embrace compromise solutions, as these are often based on a premise that both parties share some of the blame for the breakdown of their marriage and, consequently, part of the responsibility for finding a path forward that will be fair to everybody.


Adopting an All-Or-Nothing Approach


Partners who are likely to cause conflict frequently adopt an all-or-nothing attitude in their thinking. This can lead them to view others in a completely negative or positive light. They frequently escalate arguments to make judgments concerning the entire relationship. Examples of this type of behavior may include frequent lying, canceling or missing appointments, taking credit for what others have done, and taking an irresponsible attitude toward spending money while also denying that they do so.


Mismanaging Emotions


Individuals who suddenly and frequently express intense rage when facing small or nonexistent issues may have problems with managing their emotions. This is a sign of a high-conflict partner, and can indicate someone with narcissistic and melodramatic tendencies.


Having Threatening or Extreme Behavior


High-conflict partners tend to have extreme behavior that becomes more apparent as relationships progress. They often use excuses to justify their actions and may resort to threats to get what they want.


Contact a Georgia Family Law Attorney Today


When one party involved in a divorce has a high-conflict personality, the recommended approach is to avoid mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution since these may paradoxically lead to enhanced conflict, rather than facilitating agreement. Instead, aim to anticipate the problems that the former partner could potentially create and implement actions to mitigate this conflict to make the divorce proceedings go more smoothly. Contact a Georgia family law attorney from The Millard Law Firm to gain assistance with a high-conflict divorce and other family law issues by calling (678) 319-9500.