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High conflict divorce is a term that is typically applied to any of the following divorce situations:
In such cases lawyers are involved and there can be criminal charges against one of the former spouses. The problem is that it is often psychopath who uses this tactic is try to get justice on his side.
Research suggests that approximately 10% of the divorcing population can be identified as having high-conflict divorce. And within that group another 10% or 1% of the total divorcing population is in ongoing high-conflict that will likely never change. This is good news and bad. The good news is of course that the number of never-going-to-change high-conflict divorces is a small portion of the entire divorcing population. If you're not there now, chances are you won't ever be there.
But for those of you who are part of the dreaded 1%, it is a very difficult place to be. In fact, being any part of the 10% is no walk in the park iether. Life probably entails fighting with the other parent, trying to avoid fighting with the other parent, talking with lawyers, talking with therapists, undergoing multiple parenting evaluations, and going to court.
Talking with lawyer actually is not enough. You need to learn how to navigate the legal maze where you have found yourself. And selecting a good lawyer is not that easy task to begin with (see How to Select an Attorney). There is some validity about recommendation that for males a female lawyer sometimes might represent a better deal, but much depends of personality and the skills of a particular lawyer. At the same time, there are many cases, where female lawyers representing females became too aggressive and this also can hurt your case.
Knowledge of the personality of psychopath and some acquaintance with the relevant literature can be an important asset.
Well, just about everything! But more specifically, here are a few of the biggies:
Behind every word is a story about something hurtful that happened in this marriage. John Grey,
author of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus and numerous other books says, "What you
feel, you heal." If people don't deal with those stories and the accompanying feelings, they continue
to relate to each other in the same ways that caused the feelings in the first place. And the high
conflict meter will zing off the charts.
Some high conflict parents "up the ante" with frequent allegations and accusations of abuse, mistreatment, and poor judgment.
Some people who get divorced experience a tremendous psychological wounding to their sense of self. They feel humiliated, abandoned, worthless, and hungry for revenge. They mistakenly think that making the other parent "pay" will make their own pain go away. They go to great lengths (sometimes disguised as acting on their child's behalf) to control every action the other parent takes. These situations are marked by frequent court actions, involvement of third party investigators and unbelievable high conflict.
It's not unusual for divorced parents, who were getting along pretty well related to parenting their children, to find themselves smack in the middle of a lot of conflict once either one introduces a dating relationship. There is nothing more uncomfortable than having an adult you don't know interacting with your children. Sometimes the "new person" oversteps bounds and tries to take over a parent's role. Sometimes, the children don't like the "new person" and don't want to spend time with the other parent any more. Sometimes a parent feels that their role is being threatened. And what do you end up with? High conflict.
Children pay a price for their parents' conflict. The effects of conflict on children are such that one of the biggest predictor of poor outcome for children is parental conflict. And this is true whether parents are married or divorced. Conflict rather than divorce presents the larger problem for children.
People end committed relationships for a variety of reasons. A spouse can start imposing costs, for example, or a better opportunity for a mate can come along. Staying in a bad marriage can be costly in terms of lost resources, lost mating opportunities, physical abuse, inadequate care for children, and psychological abuse, outcomes that interfere with successful solutions to the critical adaptive problems of survival and reproduction. The acquisition of new mating opportunities, superior resources, better child care, and stauncher allies are some of the benefits that may flow to people who leave bad relationships.
Divorce and remarriage are so common in the United States that nearly 50 percent of all children do not live with both of their genetic parents. Step- families are rapidly becoming the norm, not the exception. Contrary to some beliefs, this state of affairs does not represent a recent phenomenon, nor does it reflect a sudden decline in family values. Divorce specifically, and the dissolution of long-term mating relationships more generally, are cross-cultural universals.
The value of a young, attractive women does not disappear once the wedding vows are declared; nor does women's attention to the status and prestige of other men. Indeed, one's mate provides a ready standard for repeated comparisons. Decisions to keep or get rid of one's mate depend on the outcome of these calculations, which may be made unconsciously.
A man whose increased status opens up better mating alternatives does not think to himself, "Well, if I leave my current wife, I can increase my reproductive success by mating with younger, more reproductively valuable women." He simply finds other women increasingly attractive and perceives that they are more attainable than before. A woman whose mate abuses her does not think to herself, "My reproductive success and that of my children will increase if I leave this cost- inflicting mate." She thinks instead that she had better get herself and her children to safety. Just as our taste preferences for sugar, fat, and protein operate without our conscious awareness of the adaptive functions they serve, so marital dissolution mechanisms operate without our awareness of the adaptive problems they solve.
People typically need a clear justification for leaving a long-term mate, one that explains the breakup to friends, to family, and even to themselves and one that preserves or minimizes the damage to their social reputation. Although some simply walk away from the relationship, this straightforward solution is rarely employed. One effective justification for expelling a mate, in evolutionary psychological terms, would be a violation of the partner's expectations for that mate, so that the partner no longer desired to maintain the relationship. Ancestral men could withhold resources or give signals that investments were being channeled to other women. Women could decrease a man's certainty of paternity by infidelities and withholding sex from her mate. Cruel, unkind, inconsiderate, malevolent, harmful, or caustic acts would be effective tactics for expelling a mate for both sexes because they violate the universal preferences men and women hold for mates who are kind and understanding. These tactics have in common the exploitation of existing psychological mechanisms in the opposite sex--mechanisms that alert people to the possibility that they have chosen a mate unwisely, that their mate has changed in unwanted ways, and that perhaps they should cut their losses.
The sex differences in benefits from long-term matings in ancestral times, whereby men's benefits came from monopolizing a woman's reproductive capacity and women's from sequestering a man's investments, have profound implications for the causes of separation and divorce. They imply that men and women evaluate changes in their mates over time by very different standards. As a woman ages from twenty-five to forty, for example, she experiences a rapid decline in her reproductive value, although other components of her mating value may increase and hence compensate for the loss. During a comparable period a man may elevate himself in status and so enjoy an unanticipated avalanche of mating opportunities. Or he may suffer losses and become desperate to keep his current mate. Thus, ancestral men and women would have been expected to break up for somewhat different reasons, which go to the core of the adaptive problems that each sex must solve to mate successfully.
A major source of evidence on breaking up comes from the most extensive cross-cultural study ever undertaken on the causes of divorce, in which the evolutionary anthropologist Laura Betzig analyzed information from 160 societies. This study identified forty-three causes of conjugal dissolution recorded earlier by ethnographers who had lived in the society or by informants who resided in each society. Various constraints, such as the lack of a standard method of gathering data and incomplete data, preclude calculation of the absolute frequencies of the causes of divorce. Nonetheless, the relative frequencies are readily available, and the more societies that manifest a particular cause of divorce, the more likely it is to be a universal cause of divorce. Topping the list of causes of divorce are two key events with particular relevance to reproduction-- infidelity and infertility.
The finding that a woman's infidelity is a more prevalent cause of divorce is especially striking because men are more likely to be unfaithful. Kinsey, for example, found that 50 percent of the husbands but only 26 percent of the wives surveyed had been unfaithful. The double standard in reactions to unfaithfulness is not confined to American culture or to Western societies but is observed across the globe. Its pervasiveness stems from three possible sources. First, men have greater power to impose their will, so that women may be forced to tolerate infidelity in their husbands more often than men are forced to tolerate infidelity in their wives. Second, women worldwide may be more forgiving of their husband's sexual indiscretions because sexual infidelity per se has been less costly for women than for men over human evolutionary history, unless it was accompanied by the diversion of his resources and commitments. Third, women worldwide may more often be forced to tolerate a husband's infidelity because of the prohibitively high costs of divorce, especially if they have children that curtail their value on the mating market. For all these reasons, a wife's unfaithfulness more often causes an irrevocable rift that ends in divorce.
Worldwide, one of the most highly valued characteristics in a committed mate is kindness, because it signals a willingness to engage in a cooperative alliance, which is an essential ingredient for success in long-term mating. Disagreeable people make poor mates. Having a mate who is irritable, violent, abusive, and derogatory, or who beats children, destroys possessions, neglects chores, and alienates friends imposes severe costs psychologically, socially, and physically.
Given these costs, cruelty, maltreatment, and ruthlessness rank among the most frequent causes of marital breakup in the cross-cultural study on conjugal dissolution, cited in fifty-four societies. Indeed, in all cultures these traits are exceeded only by adultery and sterility as sources of conjugal dissolution.23 According to one study on the causes of divorce among women, 63 percent of divorced women report that their husbands abused them emotionally and 29 percent reported that their husbands abused them physically.24
Unkindness and psychological cruelty may in some cases be related to events that occur during the course of a marriage, particularly adultery and infertility. Sterility, for example, often sparks harsh words between mates in tribal India. One Indian husband said: "We went to each other for seven years till we were weary, and still there was no child; every time my wife's period began she abused me saying, 'Are you a man? Haven't you any strength?' And I used to feel miserable and ashamed."25 Eventually, the couple divorced.
Adultery also provokes cruelty and unkindness. When a Quiche woman commits adultery, her husband is likely to nag, insult, scold, abuse, and even starve her.26 Worldwide, adulterous wives are beaten, raped, scorned, verbally abused, and injured by enraged husbands.27 Thus, some forms of unkindness are evoked by reproductively damaging events that occur within the marriage. Cruelty and unkindness, in other words, may in part be symptoms of other underlying causes of divorce. Psychological mechanisms and behavioral strategies kick in to solve costly problems imposed by one's mate.
In other cases, unkindness is a personality characteristic of one spouse that is stable over time.28 In the study of newlywed couples, we examined the links between the personality characteristics of one spouse and the problems he or she caused the mate. The wives of disagreeable husbands express distress because such men are condescending, physically abusive, verbally abusive, unfaithful, inconsiderate, moody, insulting, and self-centered.29 The wives of men judged to be disagreeable tend to complain that their husbands treat them as inferiors. Such men demand too much time and attention and ignore their wives' feelings. They slap them, hit them, and call them nasty names. They have sex with other women. They fail to help with the household chores. They abuse alcohol, insult their wives' appearance, and hide all their emotions so as to appear tough. Not surprisingly, spouses of disagreeable people tend to be dissatisfied with the marriage, and by the fourth year of marriage many seek separation and divorce.
Given the premium that people place on kindness in a mate, it is not surprising that one of the most effective tactics for getting rid of a bad mate is to act mean, cruel, caustic, and quarrelsome. Men and women say that effective tactics for prompting mates to depart include treating them badly, insulting them to others publicly, intentionally hurting their feelings, creating a fight, yelling without explanation, and escalating a trivial disagreement into a fight.
Cruelty and unkindness occur worldwide as a tactic for expelling a mate. Among the Quiche, when a husband wants to get rid of his wife, often because of her infidelities, he makes her position unbearable through a variety of means: "The undesired wife is nagged, insulted, and starved; her husband scolds and abuses her; he is openly unfaithful. He may marry another woman or even outrage his wife's dignity by introducing a prostitute into the house."30 All these acts signal cruelty, the opposite of the kindness that is central to men's and women's preferences in a mate worldwide.
One common method for getting rid of an unwanted mate is to start an affair, perhaps by sleeping around in an obvious manner or arranging to be seen with a member of the opposite sex in some other questionable situation.
Sometimes an actual affair is not carried out but is merely alluded to or implied. People use such tactics as flirting with others or telling a partner that they are in love with someone else so that the mate will end the relationship. A related tactic involves mentioning that they want to date other people in order to be sure that what the two of them have is right, possibly as a means of gracefully exiting from the relationship through a gradual transition out of commitment.
So justifiable is infidelity as a cause of getting rid of a mate that people sometimes exploit it, even if no actual infidelity has occurred. In Truk, for example, if a husband wants to terminate a marriage, he has merely to spread a rumor about his wife's adultery, pretend to believe it, and leave in indignation. Apparently, people are highly concerned about justifying a marital dissolution to their social networks. Pretending that an affair has occurred provides this justification, because infidelity is so widely regarded as a compelling reason for breaking up.
A wife who refuses to have sex with her husband is effectively depriving him of access to her reproductive value, although neither sex thinks about it in these terms. Since sex throughout human evolutionary history has been necessary for reproduction, depriving a man of sex may short circuit the reproductive dividends on the investment that he has expended in obtaining his wife. It may also signal that she is allocating her sexuality to another man. Men might have evolved psychological mechanisms that alerted them to this form of interference with their sexual strategies.
In the cross-cultural study on conjugal dissolution, twelve societies identify the refusal to have sex as a cause of conjugal dissolution. In all these societies the cause is ascribed exclusively to the wives' refusal, not the husbands'. The study of the breakup of mates also found sexual refusal to be a major tactic for getting rid of unwanted mates. Women describe their tactics for breaking up variously as refusing to have physical contact with their mates, becoming cold and distant sexually, refusing to let the man touch her body, and declining sexual requests. These tactics are employed exclusively by females who were unable or unwilling to supply these resources negated a criterion on which they were initially selected by women as mates.
Provisioning failure by men worldwide is in fact a cause of divorce. The cross-cultural study on conjugal dissolution found that a major cause of divorce is inadequate economic support in twenty societies, inadequate housing in four societies, inadequate food in three societies, and inadequate clothing in four societies. All these causes are ascribed solely and exclusively to men. In no society does a woman's failure at providing resources constitute grounds for divorce.
The seriousness of the male's lack of economic providing is illustrated by the report of a woman in her late twenties who participated in a study of marital separation:
My husband lost a series of jobs and was very depressed. He just couldn't keep a job. He had a job for a couple of years, and that ended, and then he had another for a year, and that ended, and then he had another. And then he was really depressed, and he saw a social worker, but it didn't seem to be helping. And he was sleeping a lot. And I think one day I just came to the end of the line with his sleeping. I think I went out one night and came back and he hadn't even been able to get out of bed to put the children to bed. I left them watching television and there they were when I came back. The next day I asked him to leave. Very forcefully.
In contemporary America, when women make more money than their husbands, they tend to leave them. One study found that the divorce rate among American couples in which the woman earns more than her husband is 50 percent higher than among couples in which the husband earn more than his wife.16 Indeed, men whose wives' careers blossom sometimes express resentment. In a study on the causes of divorce among women, one woman noted that her husband "hated that I earned more than he did; it made him feel less than a man." Women also resent husbands who lack ambition. Another woman noted: "I worked full-time, while he worked part-time and drank full-time; eventually, I realized I wanted more help getting where I'm going."17 Men who do not fulfill women's primary preference for a mate who provides resources are jettisoned, especially when the woman can earn more than the man.
The major causes of marital dissolution worldwide are those that historically caused damage to the reproductive success of one spouse by imposing reproductive costs and interfering with preferred mating strategies. The most damaging events and changes are infidelity, which can reduce a husband's confidence in paternity and can deprive a wife of some or all of the husband's resources; infertility, which renders a couple childless; sexual withdrawal, which deprives a husband of access to a wife's reproductive value or signals to a wife that he is channeling his resources elsewhere; a man's failure to provide economic support, which deprives a woman of the reproductively relevant resources inherent in her initial choice of a mate; a man's acquisition of additional wives, which diverts resources from a particular spouse; and unkindness, which signals abuse, defection, affairs, and an unwillingness or inability to engage in the formation of a cooperative alliance.
The implications of these fundamental trends in human mating psychology for a lasting marriage are profound. To preserve a marriage, couples should remain faithful; produce children together; have ample economic resources; be kind, generous, and understanding; and never refuse or neglect a mate sexually. These actions do not guarantee a successful marriage, but they increase the odds substantially.
Unfortunately, not all damaging events or changes can be prevented. Ancestral environments imposed hostile forces that no one could control, such as infertility, old age, lack of sexual desire, disease, status slippage, ostracism, and even death. These forces could crush a mate's value irrevocably, despite the best intentions. Alternative potential mates sometimes offered to provide what was lacking, so evolution has shaped psychological mechanisms that dispose people to leave their lovers under these circumstances.
Psychological assessment mechanisms, designed to attend to the shifting circumstances of mating, cannot be easily turned off. In ancestral times, it frequently paid reproductive dividends in the event of the loss of a mate to be prepared by maintaining alternative prospects and to switch mates if a valuable trade could be arranged. Those who were caught unprepared, who failed to play in the field of possibilities, or who were unwilling to leave a reproductively damaging mate did not become our ancestors. Because the costs incurred and the benefits bestowed by a current mate must always be evaluated relative to those available from alternative mates, the psychological mechanisms of mate switching inevitably include comparisons. Unfortunately for lifelong happiness, a current mate may be sadly deficient, may fail to measure up to the alternatives, or may have declined in relative value.
Most of these hostile forces are still with us today. A mate's status can rise or fall, infertility traumatizes otherwise joyous couples, infidelities mount, and the sadness of aging turns the youthful frustration of unrequited love into the despair of unobtainable love. These events activate psychological mechanisms that evolved to deal with marital dissolution, causing people to avoid threats to their reproduction, much as our evolved fears of snakes and strangers cause people to avoid threats to their survival. These mechanisms, it seems, cannot be easily shut off. They cause people to seek new mates and sometimes to divorce repeatedly as adaptively significant events emerge over the lifetime.
The world is full of complainers. But the fact is--nothing comes with a guarantee.
--Detective in the film Blood Simple
Because a woman's desirability as a mate is strongly determined by cues to her reproductively, that value generally diminishes as she gets older. The woman who attracts a highly desirable husband at age twenty will attract a less desirable husband at age forty, all else being equal. This downturn is shown in societies where women are literally purchased by men in return for a bride price, as occurs among the Kipsigis in Kenya.2 The bride price consists of quantities of cam, goats, sheep, and Kenyan shillings that a groom or his family pays to the bride's family in exchange for the bride. A prospective groom's father initiates negotiations with the father of the prospective bride, making an initial offer of cows, sheep, goats, and shillings. The bride's father considers all competing offers. He then counters by demanding a higher bride price than was offered by any of the suitors. Negotiations can last several months. A final suitor is selected by the bride's father, and a final price is set, depending essentially on the perceived quality of the bride. The higher the reproductive value of the bride, the greater the bride price she is able to command. Older women, even if older by only four or five years, fetch a lower bride price. Several other factors lower a woman's value to a prospective husband and hence lower her price as a potential bride, such as poor physical condition or a physical handicap, pregnancy, and the prior birth of children by another man.
The Kipsigis custom of placing a premium on the age and physical condition of a woman is not unique. In Tanzania, for example, the Turu refund a portion of the bride price in the event of a divorce, and older wives command less of a refund due to the physical "depreciation of the wife's body."3 In Uganda, the Sebei pay more for young widows than for old widows, stating explicitly that an older widow has fewer reproductive years left.
The effect of aging on a woman's value as a mate shows up in the perceptions of attractiveness through life. In one study in Germany, thirty-two photographs were taken of women ranging in age from eighteen to sixty-four. A group of 252 men and women, from sixteen to sixty years of age, then rated each photograph for its attractiveness on a 9-point scale. The age of the subjects of the photographs strongly determines judgments of female attractiveness, regardless of the age or sex of the raters. Young women command the highest ratings, old women the lowest. These age effects are even more pronounced when men do the ratings. The change in the perceived attractiveness of women as they move through life is not an arbitrary aspect of a particularly sexist culture, even though these effects undoubtedly do damage women. Rather, this change in perceptions reflects the universal psychological mechanisms in men that equate cues to a woman's youth with her value as a mate.
There are many exceptions, of course. Some women, because of their status, fame, money, personality, or social networks, are able to remain desirable as they age. The averages mask a wide variability in individual circumstances. Ultimately, a person's value as a mate is an individual matter and is determined by the particular needs of the individual making the selection. Consider the real-life case of a highly successful fifty- year-old business executive who had six children with his wife. She developed cancer and died young. He subsequently married a woman three years older than he, and his new wife devoted a major share of her effort to raising his children. To this man, a younger woman who had less experience in child rearing and who wanted children of her own would have been less valuable, and possibly would have interfered with his goal of raising his own children. A fifty-three-year-old woman may be especially valuable to a man with children who need her and less valuable to a man with no children who wants to start a family. To the individual selecting a mate, averages are less important than particular circumstances.
The same woman can have a different value to a man when his circumstances change. In the case of the business executive, after the man's children reached college age, he divorced the woman who had raised them, married a twenty-three-year-old Japanese woman, and started a second family. His behavior was ruthless and not very admirable, perhaps, but his circumstances had changed. From his individual perspective, the value of his second wife lowered precipitously when his children were grown, and the attractiveness of the younger woman increased to accompany his new circumstances.
Although averages can obscure individual circumstances, they do give the broad outlines of the lifetime trends of many people. Furthermore, they suggest adaptive problems that have shaped the human psychology of mating. From the wife's perspective, as her direct reproductive value declines with age, her reproductive success becomes increasingly linked with nurturing her children, the vehicles by which her genes travel into the future. From her husband's perspective, her parenting skills constitute a valuable and virtually irreplaceable resource. Women often continue to provide economic resources, domestic labor, and other resources, many of which decline less dramatically with age than her reproductive capacity, and some of which increase. Among the Tiwi tribe, for example, older women can become powerful political allies of their mates, offering access to an extended network of social alliances, and even helping their husbands acquire additional wives.6 But from the perspective of other men on the mating market, an older woman's value as a prospective mate if she reenters the mating market, is generally low, not only because her direct reproductive value has declined but also because her efforts may already be monopolized by the care of her children and eventually her grandchildren. These changes reverberate through a marriage.
One of the most prominent changes within marriage over time occurs in the realm of sex. The study of newlywed couples showed that with each passing year, men increasingly complain that their wives withhold sex. Although only 14 percent of men complain that their newlywed brides have refused to have sex during the first year of marriage, 43 percent, or three times as many, of the men express this feeling four years later. Women's complaints that their husbands refuse to have sex with them increase from 4 percent in the first year to 18 percent in the fifth year. Both men and women increasingly charge their partners with refusing sex, although more than twice as many men as women voice this complaint.
One indication of the lessened sexual involvement of married people with their spouses over time is the decline in the frequency of intercourse. When married women are less than nineteen years old, intercourse occurs roughly eleven or twelve times per month. By age thirty it drops to nine times per month, and by age forty-two to six times per month, or half the frequency of married women half their age. Past age fifty, the average frequency of intercourse among married couples drops to once a week. These results may reflect a lessened interest by women, by men, or most likely by both.
Another indication of the reduction in sexual involvement with age comes from a Gallup poll measuring the extent of sexual satisfaction and the frequency of sexual intercourse over time among married couples. The percentage of couples having intercourse at least once a week declines from nearly 80 percent at age thirty to roughly 40 percent by age sixty. Sexual satisfaction shows a similar decline. Nearly 40 percent of the couples report "very great satisfaction" with their sex lives at age thirty, but only 20 percent voice this level of satisfaction by age sixty.
The arrival of a baby has a significant impact on the frequency of sex. In one study, twenty-one couples kept daily records of the frequency of intercourse over a period of three years, starting with the first day of marriage. The rates of intercourse a year after the marriage were half what they had been during the first month. The arrival of a baby depresses the frequency of sex even more, when the rate of intercourse averages about a third of what it had been during the first month of marriage
How to prevail if your job is to be the cooler head By Cricket in the Corner on February 6, 2007
Format: PaperbackCouples who divorce and stay angry at each other, making ongoing demands and endless accusations, creating volatile situations around issues like child custody, and refusing to be reasonable no matter how much professional guidance they get are a drain on legal and therapeutic resources. They're a major pain for counselors and court personnel, whose efforts are wasted when the feuding exes behave like irrational children.
This book's four authors pooled their expertise in dealing with high-conflict divorce cases to create a resource for other helping professionals. The result is a savvy guide, brimming with common sense and cool-headed ways to resolve conflict and reduce the frustration of toxic post-divorce relationships. How can you help this couple manage their anger toward each other? How can you get them to put their children first and encourage them to be reasonable with each other? How do you keep them focused on issues, and not each other's personalities? These are a few of the important questions answered in this frank, perceptive volume.
The book begins with an eye-opening overview -- incorporating solid research and the authors' own clinical experience -- of what really happens when ex-spouses with children keep fighting. A discussion of dysfunctional patterns that helpers are likely to encounter follows, detailing categories such as co-parents who put their kids in the middle of their fights; substance abuse in one or both exes; one or both ex-partners being accused of mental illness; and other varieties of wheel-spinning pitfalls that cause a lot of collateral damage. There are illustrative examples and a wealth of practical advice here about how to deal with these challenges.
Another part of the book offers an insider's view of the legal and mental health systems that deal with high-conflict divorces. The emphasis is on key figures, like attorneys, judges, and clinicians, who can influence a combative situation toward either peace or escalating war. The authors explore alternatives to litigation and stress proven interventions (including a highly successful program developed by Price and Margerum) and demonstrate how helpers can get involved in high-conflict cases without finding themselves sucked into the maelstrom of post-divorce bitterness.
This is a clear, astute resource sure to boost the confidence and optimism of anyone responsible for sorting out the complications of high-conflict divorce.
Psychology TodayIn the excellent book Betrayal Bonds: Breaking Free of Exploitave Relationships (link is external)by Patrick Carnes, Carnes tells the story of Tom, who was divorced from his high conflict ex-wife, Barbara, with whom he had three children. Barbara was the typical nightmare abusive ex-spouse. Despite the fact that her affair contributed to ending the marriage, she blamed him for the divorce.
She began a distortion campaign against Tom, poisioning his relationship with others (including their children). She painted herself as the victim of his abusive ways. Yet Tom was hesitant to take an assertive stance in court and with Barbara because he "had a profound need to be fair."
He was willing to pay the price, probably because he thought of himself as a "good guy," he had lingering feelings for Barbara (despite the fact her actions filled him with anger and despair that his life was ruined), and he didn't want his children to think badly of him. So he passively signed away so many things financially that his secretary joked that she wished she could be married to him for a little while.
Tom paid in many ways, Carnes says. Tom spent hours with Barbara on the phone and listened to her complaining, raging, cajoling, or asking for advice. She appeared at his new house (with her new boyfriend) without calling first on some pretense. To friends, he acted giving to Barbara in ways that seemed absolutely self-destructive.
Carnes writes, "Sam, Tom's therapist, pressed Tom to accept that this chaos was not about Barbara alone. True, she did awful things, but Tom participated as well. The two of them had a deep negative attachment toward each other. Tom was as hooked on to her as much as she was to him. 'Barbara is no longer your wife and yet she is not your ex either," said Sam. 'So what is she then? Tom snapped. Sam smiled back and said, 'Barbara is your addiction.'"...But here are three:
1. Much of Tom's identity is wrapped up in being a nice guy. Being called "selfish" is a trigger that touches on Tom's feelings of worthlessness. Getting other people's approval is the one thing that makes him feel good about himself. That makes him easy to manipulate by people who don't have his best interests at heart.
2. Guilt. People in high conflict relationships often think they should have been able to do something to make things work (even though professionals often don't know how to handle HCPs). As long as Tom holds on to guilt-whether it's truly earned or unearned--it will lead him down the wrong path.
3. Tom believes that love means rescuing people from the consequences of their own actions. Feeling love for people who may have acted abusively toward you is actually a common feeling of people with high conflict loved ones (Stockholm syndrome -- NNB). Rather than debate what love is or its appropriateness in these kinds of situations, I'll just make this point: part of loving someone is holding them accountable, especially for the way they treat you.
Consider the relationship between a parent and child-the one relationship that most everyone would say involves unconditional love. Good parents don't allow their kids to treat them like doormats. Responsible moms and dads don't give adult children money that know their progeny is spending on drugs or gambling. Sometimes love means saying "no."
High Conflict Institute© 2012 by Bill Eddy
In 2003, I used the terms High Conflict People, High Conflict Personalities and HCPs in a self-published book titled High Conflict Personalities: Understanding and Resolving Their Costly Disputes. (I couldn't get a publisher because they said there was no interest in this subject.) The term "high conflict" had been around for at least twenty years, especially in regard to "high-conflict families" in divorce. I wanted to shift the focus to describe and deal with individuals, since it seemed that many high-conflict families included only one high-conflict person – and that dealing directly with that person would be the most effective way to help the family.
Since I had been a therapist before becoming a lawyer, I knew about personality disorders, how confusing they were, how persuasive they could be, and some of the methods for treating them. Yet no one outside of psychiatric treatment seemed to have a clue about their behavior – and often reacted in ways that made things worse. Since I was also seeing the same personality-disordered behavior in workplace disputes and neighbor disputes, as well as non-divorce legal disputes, I wanted to explain to others what was going on. People with personality disorders were showing up in all of these settings as "high-conflict" people, where their behavior was interpreted as simply about the current "issue," rather than about the need for serious mental health treatment. Now, after a dozen years of focusing on this subject, I want to explain my current understanding of these terms in this article, and how to use them in a positive and practical way.
An Observable High Conflict Pattern
High-conflict people (HCPs) have a pattern of high-conflict behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it. This pattern usually happens over and over again in many different situations with many different people. The issue that seems in conflict at the time is not what is increasing the conflict. The "issue" is not the issue. With HCPs the high-conflict pattern of behavior is the issue, including a lot of:
- All-or-nothing thinking
- Unmanaged emotions
- Extreme behaviors
- Blaming others
All-or-nothing thinking: HCPs tend to see conflicts in terms of one simple solution rather than taking time to analyze the situation, hear different points of view and consider several possible solutions. Compromise and flexibility seem impossible to them, as though they could not survive if things did not turn out absolutely their way. They often predict extreme outcomes if others do not handle things the way that they want. And if friends disagree on a minor issue, they may end their friendships on the spot – an all-or-nothing solution.
Unmanaged emotions: HCPs tend to become very emotional about their points of view and often catch everyone else by surprise with their intense fear, anger, yelling or disrespect for those nearby or receiving their comments over the Internet – or anywhere. Their emotions are often way out of proportion to the issue being discussed. This often shocks everyone else. They often seem unable to control their own emotions and may regret them afterwards – or defend them as totally appropriate, and insist that you should too.
On the other hand, there are some HCPs who don't lose control of their emotions, but use emotional manipulation to hurt others. They may trigger upset feelings in ways that are not obvious (sometimes while they seem very calm). But these emotional manipulations push people away and don't get them what they want in the long run. They often seem clueless about their devastating and exhausting emotional impact on others.
Extreme behaviors: HCPs frequently engage in extreme behavior, whether it's in writing or in person. This may include shoving or hitting, spreading rumors or outright lies, trying to have obsessive contact and keep track of your every move – or refusing to have any contact at all, even though you may be depending on them to respond. Many of their extreme behaviors are related to losing control over their emotions, such as suddenly throwing things or making very mean statements to those they care about the most. Other behaviors are related to an intense drive to control or dominate those closest to them, such as hiding your personal items, keeping you from leaving a conversation, threatening extreme action if you don't agree, or physically abusing you.
Blaming others: HCPs stand out, because of the intensity of their blame for others – especially for those closest to them or in authority positions over them. For them, it is highly personal and feels like they might not survive if things don't go their way. So they focus on attacking and blaming someone else and find fault with everything that person does, even though it may be quite minor or non-existent compared to the high-conflict behavior of the HCP. In contrast to their blame of others, they can see no fault in themselves and see themselves as free of all responsibility for the problem. If you have been someone's target of blame, you already know what I'm talking about.
They also blame strangers, because it is so easy. On the Internet, they can be anonymous and make the most extreme statements. Even if they know you, there is a sense of distance and safety, so that extremely blaming statements can flow.
A Predictable Pattern
Perhaps 15% of our society (and growing) seems preoccupied with blaming others a lot of the time. Though it's a growing problem, it's a predictable problem-and can be handled in most cases, if you understand it. Once you know some aspects of their pattern of behavior, you may be able to anticipate other problems that will arise and avoid them or prepare to respond to them.
HCPs seek Targets of Blame, because blaming others unconsciously helps them feel better about themselves. Blaming others also helps them unconsciously feel safer and stronger when they connect with other people. They're constantly in distress and totally unaware of the negative, self-defeating effects of their own behavior. In a sense they are blind. Since HCPs can't see the connection between their own behavior and their problems, their difficult behavior continues and their conflicts grow.
The Underlying Personality Pattern
High Conflict People have high-conflict personalities. Conflict is part of who they are. It's a life-long personality pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. Time after time, they avoid taking responsibility for their problems. Time after time, they argue against feedback, regardless of how helpful and truthful it may be. And time after time, they try to persuade others to agree with their rigid points of view and to help them attack their Targets of Blame. The issues come and go, but their personality traits keep them in conflict. Their problems remain unresolved and the stress on those around them often increases.
From my own experience and the feedback of many people who take our seminars with High Conflict Institute, the HCP personality pattern seems to be the same, regardless of the kind of conflict or who else is involved:
Underlying High-Conflict Personality Pattern
- Rigid and Uncompromising, Repeating Failed Strategies
- Difficulty Accepting and Healing Loss
- Negative Emotions Dominate their Thinking
- Inability to Reflect on their Own Behavior
- Difficulty Empathizing With Others
- Preoccupied with Blaming Others
- Avoids Any Responsibility For the Problem or the Solution
Perhaps you know someone with this pattern. Someone who insists that you, or someone you know, is entirely to blame for a large or small (or non-existent) problem. If so, he or she may be an HCP. However, before you rush to tell that person that he or she is an HCP, remember: Do not openly label people and don't use this information as a weapon. It will make your life much more difficult if you do.
Is a high-conflict personality the same thing as a personality disorder? Not exactly, but there is a lot of overlap. From my training and experience as a therapist, I believe that the people who become HCPs have personality disorders-or some "traits" of a personality disorder.
When I worked as a therapist at psychiatric hospitals and clinics, I learned a lot about patients with personality disorders. Years later, when I became an attorney and mediator, I recognized that the people who were stuck in high-conflict behavior had many of the same characteristics as people with personality disorders.
A personality disorder is a long-term dysfunctional pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving that affects many areas of a person's life. People with personality disorders are not crazy or stupid, and some are very intelligent. Instead, they have "blind spots"-especially regarding their behavior with the people close to them in everyday life. They have daily personal problems which they keep repeating and repeating. Yet they don't recognize these problems and can't seem to stop themselves, even when their problems are obvious to everyone around them-and are harmful to themselves. They're stuck in self-defeating and self-destructive behavior.
People with personality disorders are psychologically unable to grasp the consequences of many of their actions. They have a psychological barrier against examining their own behavior, and therefore they don't change their own behavior, even when it would help them. Instead, they defend their actions and personalities-and remain stuck repeating their self-defeating behavior.
HCPs and people with personality disorders share three key characteristics:
- They lack self-awareness, especially of the effects of their own interpersonal behavior on others.
- They don't change their behavior, even when receiving repeated negative feedback.
- They "externalize" responsibility for problems in life, blaming forces beyond themselves.
In addition, HCPs have the following two behavior patterns which many people with personality disorders do not have:
HCPs are preoccupied with a "Target of Blame" – usually someone very close to them (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, parent, child, best friend, etc.) or someone in an apparent position of authority (supervisor, company, government agency, police, doctor, lawyer, politician, etc.). They take aggressive action against that person, including lawsuits, employment complaints, spreading rumors, and even violence, in an effort to get that person to go away or change their behavior, so that the HCP will stop feeling so threatened inside. Many people with personality disorders do not focus on one person this way and are not able to sustain an attack against another person the way that HCPs do.
HCPs persuade others to be "Negative Advocates" – usually family, friends or professionals who help in blaming the Target – which escalates their conflicts instead of helping them calm down to solve their problems. Negative Advocates are emotionally hooked by the intense fear and anger of the HCP, yet they are usually uninformed. When they hear about (or experience) the HCP's extreme behavior, they often abandon the HCP, so that HCPs are constantly seeking new Negative Advocates. This ability to engage Negative Advocates enables High Conflict People to avoid confronting their own behavior, so that nothing changes and their "high-conflict" situations continue. Many people with personality disorders do not focus on a Target of Blame, so they don't recruit Negative Advocates.
Many high-conflict people have some maladaptive personality traits, but not enough to have a personality disorder. They may have some self-awareness, make some efforts to change and blame others less. However, they still have a pattern of escalating conflicts, with Targets of Blame and Negative Advocates, so that they have the pattern of a high-conflict person. Therefore, HCPs do not always have personality disorders and people with personality disorders are not always HCPs. For practical purposes, the same methods apply with anyone – including those with or without personality disorders – so you never have to figure this out.
HCP is Not a Diagnosis
When I developed the terms High Conflict Person, High Conflict Personality and HCP, I did not intend them to be a mental health diagnosis, such as a personality disorder. My intention was to assist ordinary people in managing their professional and/or personal relationships with possible HCPs, not treating the individual as a patient. My intention was to make this information accessible to anyone who needed it if they suspected someone might be an HCP.
I recommend having a "Private Working Theory" that someone may be an HCP. You don't tell the person and you don't assume you are right. You simply focus on key methods to help in managing your relationship, such as paying more attention to: 1) connecting or bonding with the person with empathy, attention and respect; 2) structuring the relationship around tasks rather than reacting to emotions; 3) reality testing so that you don't necessarily believe everything you are told, but also don't assume the person is lying because they may honestly believe inaccurate information; and 4) educating about consequences, as HCPs are often caught up in the moment and can't see the risks ahead.
Of course, the HCP concept is closely related to the issues and methods of dealing with people with personality disorders. But only mental health professionals can diagnosis and treat personality disorders. While the committee currently revising the DSM is planning to change the way diagnoses are made for personality disorders, it won't have any effect on dealing with possible HCPs – because this is not a diagnosis. It's a description of high-conflict patterns of behavior.
It's better to learn about the predictable behavior patterns of HCPs and ways to respond constructively in professional and personal relationships. If you think someone is an HCP, use this information as a Private Working Theory and focus on changing your own behavior, not theirs.
High Conflict Institute provides training, consultations, books, CDs and DVDs regarding High Conflict People (HCPs) to individuals and professionals dealing with legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of several books, including "It's All Your Fault!" He is an attorney, mediator, and therapist. HCI speakers have presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, Australia and Sweden. For more information go to: www.HighConflictInstitute.com or call 619-221-9108.
Recognizing a High Conflict Divorce
... ... ...
Three Kinds of Divorces
Two things make a High Conflict Divorce possible... Motive and Means. Many people view their divorce as high conflict because it is stressful and because there are conflicts and confrontation. But the truth is that very few divorces are actually high conflict in the strict sense of this term. In my professional experience there are three kinds of divorce scenarios.
- Business-like divorce. The parties recognize that they are no longer in love, maybe never were, and just want to go away. So they part amicably and unless there are children they have little contact in the future. If there are children, they handle things fairly and respectfully in order to provide quality parenting for their children.
- Friendly divorce. This couple recognizes that they probably would have made better friends than sweethearts, so the parting is amicable. Often these couples do indeed remain friends and share parenting comfortably with each other and future spouses. When people hear about this kind of divorce they are surprised but in truth about one third of couples actually have a friendly divorce.
- High Conflict divorce. Unfortunately this type of couple cannot resolve their differences in either a business like manner nor in a friendly way. They create a war that is costly and damaging to the children and to themselves. In fact the damage they wreak spreads a wide net into their extended families and friends, and sometimes even into the greater community. In the long run this couple pays the price because they may never be able to restore their lives to healthy functioning.
Before getting to the motive and means behind high conflict divorce, let's take a little detour to better understand the type of person who usually initiates a high conflict divorce. Author Patricia Evans calls them "Controlling People."
In a nutshell, controlling people are narcissistic and low on empathy. The narcissist acts as if he or she is the center of the Universe. In his or her eyes, their beliefs are the "right" ones. Their perspective is the "right one." Their actions are the "right ones."
A natural outcome of the narcissistic personality is a lack of empathy for others. While the narcissist is well aware of his or her feelings they have no concept of how the other feels. When you don't know how another person feels it is extremely difficult to understand the other's beliefs, perspective, or actions. Therefore, the narcissist is often negative and critical of the other if they disagree.
Loving relationships require empathy to mature. If you have empathy for your spouse you know how he or she feels. This means you can relate to their beliefs, perspective and actions even if you do not agree. If you can relate you can be respectful and kind. Being able to step into another's shoes is vital to a healthy relationship and to your own personal growth. Because they are different than us, our sweetheart in life, helps us to see things in new ways...ways we could never have understood without empathy.
While controlling people are narcissistic and do not understand you, the other ingredient for a high conflict divorce is the narcissist's counterpart, a person who works for equality in relationships. This type of person is often very nurturing and self-effacing, and has a strong sense of justice. Thus while the controlling person works toward a win-lose solution to problems, the nurturing or egalitarian person works for a win-win solution. According to Patricia Evans, this places the win-win person at a disadvantage. While the egalitarian person keeps empathizing with the controlling person in an effort to create a win-win solution, the controlling person views this behavior as weak and an opportunity to conquer.
Essentially the controlling person creates a power struggle with the unwitting egalitarian. This keeps the egalitarian "on the hook," so to speak because they can't seem to realize that they will never create a win-win solution with a controlling person. Sadly it appears to be true that narcissists marry egalitarians and create high conflict divorces all too often.
Motive and Means
Personality alone is not enough to create a high conflict divorce. The individuals also need Motive and Means.
"Means" generally equates to money and/or power. If one or both parties have enough money to wage a war and they are not concerned with an unhealthy outcome (or not aware of this possibility), this leads to a high conflict divorce. But generally healthy people will quit the conflict when they recognize that they are throwing their money away. Only those snared by the narcissistic power struggle will continue to the "death."
Another source of means is power, which can come in a variety of forms. Being a divorce attorney is a source of power. Having a personal relationship with the Judge is a source of power. Being personally acquainted with the local police and the city prosecutor helps. Being famous or having media connections is a source of power. All of these things can be used to create a high conflict divorce.
A third source of means is being irrational and tenacious. Even without money or power, a person can create a high conflict divorce through simple means. There is an axiom that the most irrational and inconsistent person in the system is in control of the system because...they don't follow the rules. If the controlling person is uncooperative, antagonistic, and dishonorable, a high conflict divorce will take shape.
Then there is "motive." If a person feels aggrieved and they are narcissistic, they can feel justified doing just about anything to trash and burn the other person. This includes dragging the children into the fray. And no matter how self-effacing the egalitarian is, he or she will fight back if pushed far enough. Thus the motive to protect and defend is aroused. Unfortunately trying to fight a narcissist is like dousing yourself with gasoline and lighting yourself on fire.
Solutions to High Conflict Divorce
In spite of this disheartening look at high conflict divorce, I still believe it is possible to prevent or at least better tolerate a high conflict divorce. Anyone going through a life changing experience like a divorce, high conflict or otherwise, should seek the support of a therapist, your church, and other groups supportive of your experience. The Kanji for "Crisis" equates to "danger" and "opportunity." In order to see the opportunities in something as tragic as a divorce you will need a level head. While friends and family may love you, your therapist will be more objective. You definitely need objectivity to stay out of the power struggles that the controlling person can create in a high conflict divorce.
If at all possible work with a mediator to craft a win-win solution to your divorce. Be willing to compromise and to walk away with a "half fair deal." In the long run, walking away from your money and possessions is worth it to avoid the acrimony. Remember, too, that it is only your perception that you are getting an unfair deal. With the dollars you save on legal fees you can free up your life to explore a new and healthier way of living.
On the other hand if you are up against a party who refuses to negotiate honorably, then you have to use another strategy. And the most important thing to consider is that your desire to be reasonable and fair may be exactly what does you in. When you seek a win-win solution but the other party seeks a win-lose solution, the other party is in the driver's seat, at least in our current Divorce Court environment.
So here is the simple answer if you do not wish to stoop to the underhanded level. Do your best to secure a fair, mediated agreement. If you cannot swing a mediated agreement with the controlling party, and in very short order, don't hesitate and hope that he or she will somehow change their mind. You need to act swiftly before you are inundated. Give them what they want and count your blessings that they allowed you to get away.
Never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person who wants nothing more than to trash and burn you especially if they have means (i.e. money or power). And never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person if you have children to protect. The Court system is designed to determine a winner and a loser, not resolve conflict amicably and certainly not to protect the innocent. If you are really a win-win type of person, you are no match for a system that does not hold the attacker responsible, but instead requires you to defend yourself against the constant attacks of the controlling person. You just can't keep up.
It is not easy to take the high road in these kinds of situations. Regardless of what you lose in the way of material goods or even psychological status in your community, trust that taking the high road means that you and your children will be able to sleep soundly at night. The gift to yourself and your family is to walk away from these Divorce Wars with your integrity and compassion in tact. That does count for something in God's Eyes.
Patricia Evans' website on verbal abuse and controlling people.
Mar 26, 2016 | Amazon.comKate McMurry
A good wife with a lousy husband
Never was a phrase, "torn from the headlines," more appropriate for a TV show. This dramatic tale of a wronged politician's wife brings instantly to mind famous couples such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, John and Elizabeth Edwards, Darlene and John Ensign, Jenny and Mark Sanford, and David and Wendy Vitter. But the circumstances that most closely resemble those used in "The Good Wife" are those of Silda and Eliot Spitzer. In 2008, Spitzer resigned as governor of New York after it was revealed that he had spent public funds on high-priced call girls. In his case, his resignation halted potential prosecution. Not so for Peter Florrick (Chris Noth, best known as Mr. Big, Carrie's lover in Sex and the City). In "The Good Wife," the husband of the titular "good wife," resigns as the state's attorney of Cook County, in the Chicago area of Illinois, after he's exposed for the same crime as Spitzer. But his successor gets Peter thrown in jail.
The series' opening scene involves Peter's wife, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies, ER), nobly, and humiliatingly, backing up Peter as he announces to the press he is resigning. Then the scene switches to six months in the future. Peter is in jail. Alicia has been forced to downsize from a big house to an apartment, and she's looking for a job. For her entire marriage, Alicia has sacrificed her education and professional talents in favor of supporting her husband's political career and caring for their two children, now young teenagers. But with Peter's needs now moot, and his income gone, it's time to dust off her law degree and seek a paid position.
Though she is forty-something and out of touch with the legal world, Alicia manages to use one of her own connections to snag a position as a junior associate at the firm of a friend from law school, Will Gardner (Josh Charles, best known for Sports Night). But the job has two major drawbacks. First, Will sees her as the one that got away, and Alicia is in no mood for that kind of complication. And, second, the job is not secure. She is in competition with another new junior associate, Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry, Rory's college boyfriend in Gilmore Girls), who is the very definition of a whiz kid. Worse, though Cary is extremely competitive, Alicia is naturally collegial and kind, and it goes totally against the grain for her to try and cut anyone out.
I was sold on this show from the opening scene of the pilot. Every actor in it is great, but the three main female actors are particular standouts. First and foremost, Margulies is wonderful. In fact, one might say she was made for this part. It requires some of the most difficult skills an actor can have, in my humble opinion, to subtly indicate a whole range of emotion on the face of a character who is dignified and reserved by nature. Margulies manages to accomplish this with astounding ease given the limitations of her character's personality. It would have been out of character, for example, for Alicia to employ standard "bits of business" that other actors use such as grabbing or shoving to show anger. Instead, she shows subtle nuances of expression. Most of all, Margulies reveals Alicia to us by displaying in every scene perhaps Alicia's most sterling virtue, a quiet empathy which connects her to and draws out every other character she comes in contact with. This quality coupled with keen observation and a brilliant, analytical mind are the main attributes that allow Alicia to not only succeed as a trial attorney but to solve mysteries surrounding the cases she takes on--allowing this series to be a fascinating combination of mystery, political, legal and relationship drama, all rolled into one. Most of all, Margulies's talent as an actor allows the audience to understand and believe in every choice that Alicia makes, no matter how difficult, from the loyalty she displays to the unfaithful husband she obviously has loved deeply for many years, to her firm but affectionate relationship with her children, to her tactful handling of her meddling mother-in-law, to her often morally ambiguous encounters with her co-workers and her clients.
The second amazing woman in this series is the ever marvelous Christine Baranski (Mamma Mia! and Cybill) as Diane Lockhart, a co-partner with Alicia's boss Will. It does not surprise me that a comic actor as phenomenal as Baranski is also an outstanding dramatic actor. Most actors seem to agree that doing comedy is so difficult that drama seems comparatively easy. In this series, Baranski's character Diane has a complex relationship with Alicia and has plenty of juicy plot lines of her own.
The third female actor whose performance I greatly admire is Archie Panjaba (the heroine's older sister in Bend It Like Beckham), who plays the enigmatic Kalinda Sharma. Kalinda rather rapidly develops what seems to be a strong friendship with Alicia, demonstrating an amazing amount of helpfulness and loyalty to her. But Kalinda's background and true intentions toward Alicia remain intriguingly unclear throughout the whole first season.
Among the male actors, my personal favorite is the fabulously versatile Scottish actor Alan Cumming (Glitch the Scarecrow in Tin Man and Nightcrawler in X-Men). He plays Peter's cunning political adviser, Eli Gold, and this role is the dead opposite of the odd, quirky types he's most famous for. Eli is conservative and muted, almost benignly invisible in his presentation to the general public. But underneath he seethes with passion and is a powerful, back-room player in the world of politics. His relationship with Alicia is one of the most dynamic in the series and his role in one of the key decisions she makes at the climax of season 1 is absolutely pitch perfect. And, by the way, his American accent is perfect.
I personally adore dramas that present the protagonist with moral dilemmas every week that are filled with shades of gray. This series abounds in that dynamic. I also much prefer dramas that have two clear story tracks, the protagonist's professional life (in this series a weekly legal case for Alicia to pursue, with a frequent mystery thrown into the mix as I mentioned above), and the protagonist's personal life. Because of Peter's scandal, there are plenty of juicy sinkholes for Alicia to inadvertently step into as she weaves her way through a landscape of seemingly endless people who want to use her or abuse her because of her connection to her husband. This thread in the series has allowed it to avoid falling into the aggravating pattern of so many dramatic TV series of melodramatic emphasis on the personal failings of the protagonist and her close family members in ways that often turn that protagonist from sympathetic to pathetic and annoying. I am greatly hoping this series continues to avoid that pitfall for many years to come.
The Huffington Post | Brittany Wong | Posted 05.07.2015 | Divorce
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Who Are High Conflict People - High Conflict Institute
The Tools of Argument How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win Joel P. Trachtman
80 reviews of Amazon.
The best book for any person who wants to understand how ..., February 29, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)This review is from: The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win (Paperback)
The best book for any person who wants to understand how American Courts work! At times we all ask questions like "How can this criminal get off on technicalities if it is obvious that he/she committed crime?", or "How can this be fair?" or "How can a lawyer defend this "bad guy/girl"? This is totally wrong! He/she is a criminal!" The author explains the difference between law and common sense, law and ethics, understanding of crime in legal terms and in laymen words.The book closely examines the logical reasoning of the law professionals , demonstrating the "tricks" used in court rooms. Fascinating reading!!! WARNING: the book will not prepare you to go to court and defend your case! This is not a "how-to" manual for folks who are planning to go to court. Hire a lawyer if need be.
However, if you want to learn how to present and defend your point (any point, not just legal issues) as an intelligent and convincing person, this book is for you! Chances are, by the time you are done with debating your next case, your opponents will at least respect your opinion (or hate your guts, which still might give you some satisfaction).
This book is for anyone who wants to boost up their skills in logical persuasion, finding loopholes in opponent's logical reasoning.
Lots of interesting and valuable information for a pretty small price! It is written in a short and clear format: each chapter discusses specific idea, giving examples from court cases and average daily life (parent-child, husband-wife, employee-supervisor), concluding with a practical application summary argument vs. counterargument. So, no reason to read the entire book from beginning to end. One can just pick any chapter and read about how this or that legal (logical) rule can be applied in daily life.
Help Your Lawyer Win Your Case J. Michael Hayes
- Series: Help Your Lawyer Win Your Case
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Sphinx Publishing Inc; 2nd edition (September 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 157248103X
- ISBN-13: 978-1572481039
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
How To Talk To Your Lawyer So You Can Get the Results You Want Elura Nanos Esq., Michele Sileo Esq.
Chapter 1: What Lawyers DON'T Know and What You Need to Know . 9
Chapter 2: Letters for Lawyers: the Schooling Behind the Degrees ... .13
Chapter 3: What Happens From State to State? 15
Chapter 4: When Do You Need a Lawyer? 17
Chapter 5: What Kinds of Lawyers Are There? 21
Chapter 6: What Kind of Law Firms Are There? 27
Chapter 7: Figuring Out What Kind of Lawyer You Want 31
Chapter 8: Finding the Perfect Attorney-Client Match 35
Chapter 9: Paying Your Lawyer 43
Chapter 10: Legal Fee Structures: Variations on a Theme................47
Chapter 11: De-Mystifying Your Legal Bill..............................59
Chapter 12: Setting Up the Right Balance of Power......................67
Chapter 13: Monitoring the Work Your Lawyer is Doing...................71
Chapter 14: Effective Communication with Your Lawyer ..................77
Chapter 15: How to Be a Good Client....................................83
Chapter 16: DIY Lawyering..............................................89
Chapter 17: Why Do Lawyers Talk That Way?..............................93
Chapter 18: How to Complain About Your Lawyer..........................99
Chapter 19: When to Call the Ethics Board.............................105
Chapter 20: The Big Finish............................................109
Dancing With Lawyers How to Take Charge and Get Results Nicholas Carroll 9781879435032 Amazon.com Books
In this guide to taking charge of your lawyer and getting results, Carroll presents a practical client-centered approach to legal services and project management. He offers good advice to locating the right lawyer for your job, negotiating fees, and keeping the lawyer's nose to the grindstone; Carroll also includes insightful portrayals of law firm operations. Unfortunately, Dancing is poorly organized and difficult to use. It is not meant to be read cover to cover, yet no index points the reader to the section that answers his or her question. The author himself suggests browsing as a finding aid. Finally, the omission of illuminating anecdotes make this book less entertaining than it could be. An optional purchase."Dancing with Lawyers shows the client how to lead without the lawyer stepping on their toes." -- The Houston Post
- Elizabeth Fielder Olson, Archer & Greiner, Haddonfield, N.J.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Dancing with Lawyers takes apart the legal profession with surgical--and often hilarious--precision. More important, it provides hugely valuable insights into managing the relationship in a cost- and business-effective way." -- The Nolo News, by Ralph Warner
"A lively, world-wise guide to the demystification of the lawyer-client relationship." -- Michael Pertschuk, former Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
"A no-nonsense approach, Dancing with Lawyers gets down to brass tacks. This straight-forward, readable book is full of practical advice." -- The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
"An absolute must for anyone hiring a lawyer, Dancing with Lawyers is the best book written on dealing with lawyers." -- Today's Business Journal, New York City
"Carroll probably knows as much as anybody about lawyers." -- The New York Times
"The message from this book is simple: it's the client who is boss, not the lawyer. It's a must for any reference shelf." -- The Atlanta Journal & Constitution
5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Hardcover: 180 pages
- Publisher: Royce Baker Pub; 1st edition (January 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1879435039
- ISBN-13: 978-1879435032
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review:
.0 out of 5 starsGet This Book First
ByJVon December 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Verified PurchaseThis book is an easy read and a must read for anyone who is hiring a lawyer for the first time, or wants to learn how to handle lawyers better than they have in the past. It shows you how to put yourself in the driver's seat instead of being at the mercy of the lawyer. I read the book then used the techniques to deal with a lawyer I hired for an estate dispute. I not only felt in control, I WAS in control. I was the employer, and the attorney was the employee, as it should be. Excellent information if you're new to the land of lawyers, and you need one for something greater than a speeding ticket.
By Smart advice, no lawyer jokes.A customeron June 20, 1998
Format: HardcoverWhen I was divorced last year and had to find a lawyer for the first time, this book saved me lots of frustration (and probably lots of time and money). It's very useful -- and it's even fun to read. The author's one smart guy. Everyone ought to have this book handy, because sometime, everyone has to hire a lawyer for something. Don't do it without this book.
Your Lawyer An Owner's Manual A Business Owner's Guide to Managing Your Lawyer Henry C. Krasnow
Competent Counsel Working With Lawyers Denise Shekerjian
- Hardcover: 187 pages
- Publisher: Dodd Mead; 1st edition (September 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0396086969
- ISBN-13: 978-0396086963
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
How To Work With Your Lawyer Book One The Law in Six MinutesTM Series (Volume 1) Esq., Bryan M. Dench
- Series: The Law in Six Minutes
- Paperback: 76 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1523317302
- ISBN-13: 978-1523317301
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
What Your Lawyer Doesn't Want You to Know (Self-Counsel Legal Series) Douglas R. Eikermann 9781551804064 Amazon.com Books
How to Get the Best Out of Your Lawyer A Guide to Engaging the Services of Legal Professionals - Kindle edition by Bart Daly.
How to Win Your Case In Small Claims Court Without a Lawyer Charlie Mann 9781601383068 Amazon.com Books
Representing Yourself in Court Survive and Prevail in the Legal System without Losing Your Money or Your Marbles Gary Schrein
The American Criminal Justice System How It Works, How It Doesn't, and How to Fix It Gerhard Falk 9780313383472 Amazon.com
Why Lawyers Suck! Hacking the Legal System, Part 1 - Kindle edition by Melody Kramer. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @
Mad at Your Lawyer (Nolo Press Self-Help Law) Tanya Starnes, Arthur G. White, Jennifer A. Becker 9780873373265 Amazon.com
Letters for Bankruptcy Lawyers Essential Communication for Clients, Creditors, Opposing Counsel and Others, -byJoel Pelofsky,
Law and the Heart A Practical Guide for Successful Lawyer-Client Relationships 9781572820005 Medicine & Health Science Books
How & When to Sue Your Lawyer What You Need to Know Robert W. Schachner, John Phillips 9780757000430 Amazon.com Books
Evaluating A Malpractice Case Against A Lawyer Boyd S Lemon 9781469975603 Amazon.com Books
How to Sue Your Lawyer The Consumer Guide to Legal Malpractice Hilton L. Stein 9780945163015 Amazon.com Books
Ladies And Gentlemen Of The Jury Greatest Closing Arguments In Modern Law Michael S Lief, Ben Bycel, H. Mitchell Caldwell 97
Sue The Bastards! Everything You Need to Know to Go to--or Stay Out of--Court Gerard Fox, Jeff Nelson 9780809228744 Amazon
Satan's Advice to Young Lawyers Aleister Lovecraft Esq. 9781502726353 Amazon.com Books
The Art of Cross-Examination Francis L. Wellman 9780684843049 Amazon.com Books
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