5 Practical Things You Can Do
When you’re in a high conflict relationship with someone with narcissistic traits, borderline traits, or just a bunch of toxicity that makes no sense, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do. But the good news is there is a lot you can do to take back control of your feelings and your life. Here are 5 practical things you can do to feel better. Right. Now. Let's make tomorrow a better day... today.
Explore what you’re most afraid of
You might just be afraid of the high conflict person or relationship (or afraid of the relationship ending!). If you find that your heart races, your shoulders tense up, or your stomach feels queasy when you think about this person or this relationship, that may very well be fear. When fear is present, it’s great to work with a therapist or coach who understands toxic, or high conflict, relationships so you can understand your fear in order to change how the relationship affects you.
When you feel shame, practice self care.
When you feel shame, practice self care by forgiving yourself. Also try to understand where your shame is actually coming from. Don’t give apologies away too freely, especially to the high conflict person who makes you feel this way. Apologies almost always come from a place of guilt or shame. Apologizing to a high conflict person, ESPECIALLY when you’re fairly certain you didn’t do anything wrong, reinforces that guilt and shame in you and also reinforces the high conflict person’s sense of control over you.
Choose your problems. (Yes, you can choose!)
You may discover there are problems you’re willing to live with, so you can focus on the ones that matter most. Our lives, when we’re in high conflict relationships, are anything but perfect – even if you work hard to make them look perfect from the outside. So instead of focusing on what you can do better, try focusing on which problems you’d rather have. For instance, you may find that you’d rather have the problem of a high conflict person having a tantrum instead of the problem of missing out on your own goals and dreams. You may discover there are problems you’re willing to live with so you can focus on the ones that matter most.
Explore loneliness as a vulnerability.
There’s almost no loneliness harder than the loneliness INSIDE a high conflict relationship. If you feel isolated, diminished, unheard…and it makes you want to try harder to get the high conflict person’s attention, your loneliness is making you vulnerable to their whims. If loneliness is a factor, there are strategies we can do to reduce that feeling for you. Explore whether loneliness is making you vulnerable to your high conflict person. If so, learn about four other directions you can connect when you’re feeling lonely. (This is a concept I cover in the High Conflict Relationships online course. Let me know if you are interested to learn more!)
Respect your intuition.
It’s the twinge, the tickle, the prickles, the stomachache, the headache, and the shoulder strain…anyway, you know where I’m going with this. Your intuition works really hard to get your attention sometimes. And, it’s ALWAYS good to listen. Often, we overrule our intuition in high conflict relationships as a result of our own values (sounds weird, but it’s not!). Take time to identify your values, and that will help you make space for your intuition.
Hi! My name is Jenni McBride McNamara, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, with expertise in helping you figure out "What’s going on?!" with that other person.
More importantly, I help you take concrete steps to change how you react to that person, reduce your stress, and ultimately free yourself from all the unnecessary drama.
I created the High Conflict Relationships Program for individuals and professionals after years of working with clients who found themselves stuck in a relationship with a high conflict person.
Based on years of experience, I have developed a proven methodology that empowers the individual to make real change and find their own emotional freedom.
If the 5 Practical Things Worksheet resonates with you, I encourage you to explore the HCR program. The program includes a self-guided online course with workbooks and a certificate upon completion. You'll also receive access to the members-only online support group. Coaching packages are available for one-on-one relationship coaching with Jenni.
Download the practice worksheet or check your email for the attachment you received! You can also explore the High Conflict Relationships program - completely self-guided with online course material, workbooks and a members-only online support group.