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2 unique ways to handle a contentious spouse in a divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2022 | Divorce |

It’s hardly a surprise to you that your spouse is making your divorce as difficult and drawn out as possible. They’re angry that you’ve decided to end the marriage, and their logic seems to be that you should suffer as much as possible before you (finally) get your freedom.

Is there any way to handle a hostile, unreasonable spouse during a divorce without engaging in a futile screaming match? Let’s look at two very good methods psychologists recommend when dealing with abusive or manipulative behavior.

The grey rock method

Have you ever heard the adage that it “takes two to tango” or fight? Well, there’s some truth to that, even when you’re dealing with someone whose behavior is outrageous.

A spouse who is being purposefully abusive is probably feeding off the attention they get from their target (you) in return. If you trade barbs, return threats or even get visibly upset, they know that they’ve got your full attention – and that’s exactly what they want.

To implement the grey rock method you make yourself as bland, boring and utterly disinterested as possible. Practice a carefully neutral expression, plaster it on your face and respond to whatever they say (or shout) with little more than a shrug. You don’t have to defend yourself or respond to whatever they’re saying when your counsel can do it for you in court.

The “of course” method

This is a psychological trick you use to game yourself so that your spouse can stop gaming you. You know your spouse better than anybody, so you probably know exactly how they’re going to try to attack you.

By anticipating what they’re going to say, you put yourself in the position of being an observer – and that helps you avoid absorbing any of their vitriol. For example, if your spouse knows that the children are your number one priority, of course they’re going to threaten to ask for full custody.

By predicting their outbursts and threats, you can pretty much steal their thunder and minimize your reactions. Combined with the gray rock method, this could be a doubly efficient way to handle a difficult divorce.

A contentious divorce requires unique strategies for success, so make sure you have experienced legal guidance.