Managing a Blamer with an Assertive Approach

© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Excerpted from Splitting

…After the hearing, the judge ordered Sam and Sarah into a custody evaluation, and awardedSam temporary custody of their son, Jay, pending a full evaluation and hearing on custody. Sarah was given visitation three days a week, with exchanges at hercousin’s house, and required to undergo a substance abuse assessment.

Sam alsoproduced a deed showing that their home was only in his name, claiming it washis separate property. His attorney said that if anyone should move out, it wasSarah. He said that she could stay with her cousin. The judge seemedsympathetic with Sam and told Sarah she must move. Her temporary restrainingorder was dismissed.

After Tammy said that Thomas had molested theirdaughter, the court counselor was required by law to contact Child ProtectiveServices (CPS) and inform them of the sexual abuse report so that it could beinvestigated. To be safe, the court counselor recommended that Tammy have temporarycustody and that Thomas have supervised visitation until an investigation couldbe done.

Soon afterward, the court ordered a fullpsychological evaluation of the family and a hearing on it in three months.Until the hearing, Thomas was ordered to have three hours a week of supervisedvisitation at a local agency, which he had to pay for.

Thomas was a trusting, problem-solving person.Known as being friendly and cooperative, he originally believed he would easilysucceed in his case. But after he was ordered to have supervised visitation, hewas furious: “How could the judge assume I’m guilty and make such an order? Whydidn’t you tell the court Tammy was lying? If she’s going to make a bunch ofallegations, then we need to make even more allegations against her.”

His attorney responded, “Slow down. This is justthe beginning. We can’t be passive, but we can’t be too aggressive either. Thisis the court’s procedure, and we need to follow it as perfectly as we can. Wehave to take the high road and expose her false statements while not appearingto make wild accusations ourselves. How you appear to the court is just asimportant as getting out the facts. We now have a lot of work to do toaccomplish both. We have to be very assertive.”…

To learn more about the Assertive Approach for yourself or your clients, purchase your copy of

Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with a Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder


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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