Divorce is tough enough on its own. Throw in a personality disorder and you have a recipe for chaos.
According to an article in NWLawyer, approximately 10-20 percent of Americans suffer from some kind of serious personality disorder. If your spouse is one of this number, you already know how challenging it can be to deal with him or her.
What you may not know, however, it that you can tailor your divorce strategy to combat your spouse’s particular disorder. This can give you a much better chance of successfully achieving your goals and protecting your interests.
To start with, you need to identify the particular disorder. Then, you need to adjust the way you deal with your spouse in the divorce process. Do any of the following sound familiar?
“Pay attention to me!”
Someone with histrionic personality disorder (HPD) tends to be overly dramatic, animated and provocative. He or she will do just about anything for attention.
Tip for success: Focusing on the facts of the case is essentially when dealing with an HPD spouse. Don’t get sidetracked by his or her emotion.
“Your feelings and rights don’t matter.”
Someone with antisocial personality disorder (APD) tends to ignore the idea of right and wrong, trample over other people’s rights and show little regard for their feelings.
Tip for success: Try to avoid face-to-face communication if possible. Instead, use written forms of communication such as letters or email. This can help prevent your spouse from manipulating you.
“Life is simply all about me.”
Someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) tends to be self-absorbed. Sometimes it looks like arrogance and vanity. At other times, someone with NPD may have the attitude of “Poor me, I’m always the victim.”
Tip for success: When negotiating with your NPD spouse, point out how your propositions would benefit him or her.
“I hate you, and I hate myself, but don’t leave me…”
Someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is typically impulsive, angry, depressed, moody, overly dramatic and afraid of being abandoned.
Tip for success: If your spouse has BPD, try to focus on facts, not feelings, when interacting with him or her. This can curb his or her tendency to make impulsive decisions in the divorce process.
Dealing with any of the above disorders may be very difficult, so get a support network in place. You don’t want to go it alone. You may also want to consider professional counseling services in addition to hiring a skilled divorce lawyer.