Defining A High Conflict Case

Defining A High Conflict Case

Often, parents involved in a high conflict case as well as the professionals who work with parents involved in litigation over child custody cannot define what makes a case a high conflict case.  Here is my definition of what makes a case high conflict.

A High conflict case is defined as:  One or both parents involved in the conflict cannot or will not let go of their marital battle or relationships with the other parent. Frequent intervention by the court is necessary because the family’s adjustment is constantly being disrupted. The conflict allows the parents to maintain a marital relationship with each other. The conflict creates an adrenaline rush, the rush keeps the parents highly energized and allows the parents to stay addicted to each other. 

One or both of the parents becomes addicted to the conflict because it allows them to stay engaged in the drama, the emotional yo-yo-ing that occurs when the parents continue to stay engaged with each other. If the case starts to calm down, one of the parents creates a new reason to ignite the communication to generate conflict with the other parent. This revs up the issues again, which helps the parent to avoid the terrible feelings of emptiness and loneliness that occur when the rush is over and the emotions drop below the normal range.  Keeping the conflict going keeps a parent upset and feeling charged up at the same time. This directly impacts the children however, because a parent cannot be focused on the children if they are preoccupied with what the other parent is doing to them.

Do you fit this criteria?

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