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Characteristics I’ve seen in high conflict parent cases.



Characteristics I’ve seen in high conflict parent cases. Not everyone possessed ALL these characteristics but the majority of them will apply. Having one or two of these characteristics does not automatically make you high conflict. If you have other characteristics to add, feel free!


• You are controlling.


• You are possessive. You use the word “my” too much.


• You either cheated on the other parent, abused the other parent, or you have had substance abuse issues. Maybe all 3, but at least 1.


• You fight the other parent’s right to 50/50 parenting time. You believe you are more important and deserve more time. OR you never bothered to attempt any involvement with the other parent at all, or at least for a substantial period of time you interfered in involvement.


• You put the other parent on child support. You DEFINITELY did not calculate your income potential or 50/50 parenting time.


• You sign the children up for sports and activities with no thought as to if the other parent can afford it. You choose, you sign them up, they pay up. Period.

• Your partner is referred to more affectionately to the children than the other parent and/or you have treated your partner as if they ARE the bio parent.

• You dislike the other parent’s partner. You never even gave them a fair chance. In fact, you’ve disliked every partner they’ve had. You’ve probably tried to sabotage or interfere in their time together. Seeing them be affectionate towards eachother or even thinking about them being together makes you very uncomfortable. You have to look away or distract yourself. You are jealous and insecure even if you can’t admit it. You may try to get personal information about their relationship or become upset as they take steps together. If you were honest with yourself, you probably still feel possessive of the other parent as if they are still “yours”. You may either regret breaking up at times OR you don’t want them but you don’t want anyone else to have them either.


• You and/or your partner have had a substantial period of time where you were not employed nor looking for gainful employment. You’ve depended on tax payers and child support to pay your bills. Without these outside sources and only depending on employment income, you would have major financial problems at best, and homelessness at worst. Regardless, you buy things that make you appear successful and independent, even though you aren’t that on your own. You have an image to keep up. It’s ALWAYS about the image. It’s not about needing help that makes someone high conflict. It’s about using that help to try to appear better than others or looking down on those who work their butts off to have less.


• Speaking of image, you are unbelievably dedicated to keeping the facade of happiness, wealth, and selflessness. Behind closed doors, there is reckless fighting, disconnect, control, dependence on other’s money, unhappiness, and boasting on social media anytime you do anything “helpful” because the attention is what you actually value. You need people to believe this facade to pamper your ever so fragile ego. This is narcissism.


• You have tried to control the other parent’s time and parenting choices.


• You believe or behave as if your opinion is more important and valid when it comes to parenting choices and raising the children. You’ve criticized the other parent’s choices. You’ve expected them to follow your lead and do as you do many times.

• You need a lawyer on standby.


• You have blamed the other parents, accused the other parents, argued in front of the children, and/or told the children about your feelings, opinions, perspectives. Your behavior has interfered in the relationship between the other parent and their child. The child has cried about this at least once before they hid emotions.


• You have felt angry when a boundary was placed. You’ve acted out because of it.


• You have made a medical or educational decision without the other parent’s consent and/or you have withheld information. You’ve chosen the children’s health care providers without both parents choosing and agreeing to it.


• Your child has required therapy, but you most likely blame the other parent for that too.


• You have at least one family member (often the mother) who is also toxic and condones your behavior.


• You have abused or neglected your child in some way but blame the other parent for things you are actually doing and they are not. Engaging in behavior that disrupts the relationship between the child and other parent IS abuse.


• You have withheld contact info from the other parent for the child. AKA: Keeping the child’s phone number or email hidden. You’ve blocked the other parent before.


• You aren’t appreciative of others, more likely you just expect others to cater to you.


• You are or should be diagnosed with a personality disorder.


• You were either abused as a child yourself. OR you were entitled and coddled, made to feel superior, rarely told no, and spoiled.


• You never had to depend on just you- you either lived with your partners or your parents.


• You have made false allegations to CPS or in court. You’ve lied in court and/or to your children.


• You are argumentative and have trouble seeing someone else’s perspective or putting yourself in their shoes.


• You’ve used religion and Bible verses to try to make someone feel guilty about their choices. You’ve gone as far as tell them they are going to hell. As a Christian myself, that behavior is the opposite of Christ-like. You can’t use God to threaten and manipulate.


• You tell yourself what the other parent doesn’t deserve to have instead of focusing on what they do deserve.


• You have trouble making and/or maintaining meaningful, close friendships. You have very few friends, if any, that you are close enough to share TMI.


• You have trouble recognizing your own flaws but are quick to blame others. You don’t recognize yourself as toxic. Money problems? The other parent’s fault. Unhappiness? The other parent’s fault. A breakdown of the family? The other parent’s fault. Lawyers? The other parent’s fault. Therapy? The other parent’s fault. Behavior problems or mental illness? The other parent’s fault. No involvement from the other parent because of you? The other parent’s fault. Your cheating or abuse? The other parent’s fault. Your child rejecting the other parent after you engaged in toxic behavior? You got it, the other parent’s fault. It’s a pattern.


This is not to say that the low conflict/peaceful parent has not made mistakes. I’m quite sure they have. It’s just that there’s a difference between mistakes…and patterns that define who you are and the negative impacts it has on the children.


Now, what could be done about it if the high conflict parent wanted to change? First, recognizing the problem. Second, taking accountability. Third, making things fair. Fourth, making apologies. Fifth, repair repair repair until everything is healthy. Sixth, individual therapy. Will it change though? Probably not.

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