'In twenty plus years of clinical experience, I have never seen a high-conflict woman ease up on her antics because her ex allowed her to treat him like a doormat. I’ve never seen it decrease her alienation of the children. I have never seen it stop her from abusing the family court system. I have never seen it make her act reasonable or rational. If you have a high-conflict ex with custody of your children, there is a good chance she will brainwash them with a negative view of who you are regardless of what you do. It is likely they will grow up blaming you for the family coming apart because that is all they will hear from the sick, alienating mother.'By I can tell you that if confronted with someone breaking into my home, threatening my partner or me, that I would shoot them dead. Is this because I want to shoot someone, or because I want the power of life and death? No. Of course not. It is just that extreme circumstances sometimes call on us to do things we normally would not do; things we don’t want to do. Even things that might give us nightmares.
That is the case with what you might have to do to get a borderline woman out of your life after they have dug in like a tick. Fortunately, it does not require a gun or violence, but it can require you to go places you would otherwise never dream of going.
Months ago, I produced a video titled, “The Six Subtle Gateways to Borderline Hell.” I got a comment from a viewer asking about what to do after it is too late for preventative medicine, such as when you already share children with a high-conflict ex. If that question rings a bell for you then I am first obligated to suggest one of the books I coauthored, “Say Goodbye to Crazy.” There is an ad link in the sidebar.
Look, I know this is a shameless plug, but the fact is that this is the most comprehensive book of its kind, offering page after page of specific, targeted advice and suggestions. If you don’t want to take the salesman’s word, and I don’t blame you for that, just read the Amazon reviews.
Nothing in the book is candy coated and there’s no psychobabble. It is written with full awareness of what you are dealing with, from the emotional, familial, psychological and legal standpoints. It includes an understanding of high-conflict women, their victims and what it takes to impress on them just how goddam wise it is to leave you alone.
OK, end of plug. Let’s move on with some of the basics of dealing with this formidable life problem.
Know that what you are about to hear is not easy. In fact, it is more than a little brutal. High-conflict women act like children. Hell, they are children in all the ways that make them high maintenance but in taking one to task you are not going up against a naïve youngster. With that in mind, you need to do a mental ritual before you even think about taking any action on debitching your life.
Consider this form of preparatory guided imagery. See yourself taking any sympathy you ever had for her, any reverence or deference you might hold for her as the mother of your children and any concern you have about causing her pain. Add in any hesitation you have ever had to take off the figurative gloves and go bare knuckles on her crazy ass. Now see yourself taking all that self-destructive crap and stuffing it into a burlap bag. Tie that bag to the biggest rock that you can lift without throwing your back out, put it in a boat and start rowing like you were going for Olympic gold. After you reach deep water, take that bag full of enabling garbage and dump it over the side of the boat. See yourself whooping and erupting into insane laughter as you watch the bag disappear into the murky water.
That may be the healthiest laughter of your life. You will know whether it is if it brings you relief from any hesitation you have ever had to make her bullshit as painful for her as possible. This is where you really need to pay attention. Indulging any, and I mean any protective instincts you have for her, is like dealing with lung cancer by chain smoking; like starting a low carb diet at a bakery.
High-conflict women, aka bitches, manipulate, exploit and capitalize on any compassion you offer them. If you look back on your experience with her, you will find one example after another where she took your good will, your sense of fair play and your willingness to compromise and exploited all of it. She took every concession you made and went for more because when you offered her kindness and compassion, she saw those things as chinks in your armor; as the tender flesh of your neck exposed and ripe for the blade.
It is imperative if you are dealing with a destructive, high-conflict woman that you never compromise on anything again. It is also just as important that you find your inner asshole and give him a seat at the head of your table. And if you have any part of you that gets haughty over this, that insists that you hold on to your mild-manned, conciliatory ways, then tell that part of yourself to shut the fuck up. Either that or get used to biting the pillow to ease the pain and then boring your friends with the ten thousandth story of how unfairly she treats you.
Remember, this is not about what you want to do. It is what you need to do. And what you need to do is the only thing that matters unless you want to fail. It begins with understanding what makes her tick and being willing to use that information to inflict pain. Pain is a great motivator. We learn this lesson with bullies. Bullies thrive on people who won’t fight back.
As most boys learn early in life, if you bloody a bully’s nose every time he comes after you, even if he is bigger than you and kicks your butt, he will eventually leave you alone and look for a softer target because all bullies are cowards. Just as all bullies are cowards, all high-conflict women are bullies. The only way they will learn to leave you alone is to learn that you will come out swinging. That is figuratively speaking of course.
I am linking you to yet another video. It is a discussion I had with Dr. T titled “The Big 5 Fears of Borderline and How to Use Them.” It’s not rocket science, but summoning the will to follow through and inflict pain by exploiting those fears can be tough. All I can tell you is that it is on you to do it. She is not going to help you. If you are lucky, your family and friends might help. That is if she has not sucked them into siding with her against you, which she is incredibly skilled at doing. If you want to be free of this crap, or as free as you can be, you will find your spine and inflict the pain.
Now, that brings us to two things that most men, particularly fathers, will have weighing heavily on their minds. Kids and courts. High-conflict mothers are the most alienating mothers. They use kids like pawns with the efficiency of a chess master, even without help from the courts. Of course, they tend to use the courts anyway, because they are set up to help her inflict misery on your life. Some men fear that if they defend themselves, she will take it out on the kids, even in extreme, dangerous ways. There is no way to sugarcoat this reality, nor would I try to if I could.
There is no doubt that your high-conflict ex will react to your fighting back by upping the ante. She will intensify her efforts to alienate the children. If she can, and she can, she will use the courts to express her disapproval of your being uppity enough to fight back. She will likely think of new and more elaborate lies to tell your friends and family.
At first, she sees your fighting back as a challenge she loves. She likes making people who stand up to her bow back down in humiliation. That kind of control is her brand of porn, and it gets her off every time. But that dynamic changes abruptly and radically when she gets the message that every misstep on her part comes with a price. When she knows that messing with you releases your inner sadist.
And here is something else you need to hear. In twenty plus years of clinical experience, I have never seen a high-conflict woman ease up on her antics because her ex allowed her to treat him like a doormat. I’ve never seen it decrease her alienation of the children. I have never seen it stop her from abusing the family court system. I have never seen it make her act reasonable or rational. If you have a high-conflict ex with custody of your children, there is a good chance she will brainwash them with a negative view of who you are regardless of what you do. It is likely they will grow up blaming you for the family coming apart because that is all they will hear from the sick, alienating mother.
Remember, manipulating courts, cops, family and friends is her forte. Manipulating children whom she is the lifeline for is, if you will pardon the pun, child’s play. There is nothing you can do about it and kissing her sick ass won’t help, so you might as well kick it. Again, the tl;dr here is simple. Follow some basic rules. Always be recording. Never be around her without witnesses. If you have dirt on her, gather it, catalog it, and be willing to use it liberally. Keep your talks with her short and business only.
Email isn’t the best communication, it’s the only communication. You should strive to never have an undocumented word pass between you. Know your custody agreement like the back of your hand, follow it to the letter and report her every time she violates it. The court will likely do little, at first, but as the reports pile up, it could eventually cause her problems. More importantly, it lets her know you are not playing anymore.
Anytime she requests anything, particularly money, outside of the terms of the divorce decree, send her a one-word no. NO. Or better yet, don’t even answer the request. You are not obligated to lift a finger that is not outlined in the terms of your divorce. Don’t go into her home and don’t ever, ever, ever allow her into yours.
Know her fears, especially those of being exposed. When she acts out, bringing harm or even irritation to you and yours, make sure the world knows about it. If you are remarried or have a new girlfriend, make sure she knows that she must have your back on all of this. If that is a problem, so is your current wife of girlfriend.
There is much more to this, more details and more strategy for which I refer you to the book. But suffice it to say for now that what I have said is a good and proper start. If you are worried about her retaliation, about her punishing you for taking up for yourself, I can only remind you that she is already doing that. You are living in a dreamland if you think enabling her is going to do you or your children any good at all.
Above all, realize that there is no COSMO-style “how to debitch your life in three easy steps.” You are going to pay a price for ever having bred with one. Nothing can save you from that. But your unwillingness to stand and act in your own interests can have you paying so much more than you have to.
In the short term, things may well get worse. She isn’t giving up her control without a fight. You may want to tell yourself that life is too short to take on this kind of struggle. I disagree. When it comes to living with constant borderline garbage, life is too long.
Paul Elam offers fee-for-service private consultations at anearformen.com. To support his video work onYouTube, you can become a patron via Patreon or subscribe/donate here.
About Paul ElamPaul Elam is an author, the founder of A Voice for Men and An Ear for Men.where he offers more material on men's mental health issues and personal consulting services.