Splitting: high-conflict divorces in family court have increased

© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Over the past several years, the family court system has received more and more public attention as the number of high-conflict divorces has increased. There are certainly enough horror stories and criticisms to make anyone going through a divorce very nervous. However, family court and legal professionals can also be highly predictable, especially in high-conflict cases with BP or NP partners involved. There are predictable strategies to deal with them as well.

Of course, we make no guarantees. You must use your own judgment and get lots of advice from your local attorney, therapist, and other advisers. We are offering general principles that we have seen work in family courts around the United States, Canada, and other countries. Surprisingly, we get feedback from people around the world describing the same patterns of personality-based behavior and the same patterns of process in their family courts.


The biggest pattern to prepare for is splitting. This book’s title, Splitting, has a double meaning. The first is obvious: splitting up. The second meaning refers to a defense mechanism universally seen in people with BPD and NPD. It means unconsciously seeing people as either all good or all bad, an extreme way of coping with confusion, anxiety, and mixed feelings. Splitting is especially prevalent under stress, particularly the stress of breaking up with someone the BPD or NPD partner views as critical to his or her emotional survival. People who split in this manner put their partners on pedestals and then knock them down.

We are very excited to announce the July release of our new book

SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by New Harbinger Press. We wrote it to be the most realistic, honest and practical guide you’ll find anywhere for dealing with a difficult divorce in today’s world. We encourage anyone considering a separation or divorce (or their family, friends or professionals) to read it before taking any further action, so that you are prepared for What To Do and What NOT To Do. It’s available now in bookstores and online.

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.

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