THE Amicable Divorce Expert presents “Communication is Your Secret Weapon in Controlling a Narcissist
THE Amicable Divorce Expert, Judith M. Weigle, interviews former narcissist survivor Meghan Remington, now a certified divorce coach and former wife of a narcissist with three small children when she divorced. Meghan’s story is fascinating: She gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom which was detrimental to her marriage; suffered infidelity from her former husband; moved to another state, away from her family, to accommodate her former husband’s career; and ultimately realized how important the right communication was if she wanted to get control of her life back and move back to the state where she grew up and where her family still lived.
Meghan’s approach to getting unstuck and able to move forward in a high conflict divorce is to help people get rid of the anger that anchors them to the point of losing control over their decisions, diluting their power, and rebuild their future. If someone is married to a high conflict personality, like a narcissist, setting boundaries, understanding the need for compromise, and understanding how to communicate will empower them to take back control of their lives.
“There is a mental reframing that takes places when a person is open to positive change. I help people with mental reframing of their thoughts. For instance, “I have to’ becomes “I get to…’”
“Remember, divorce is only one chapter of your life. You get to choose how you want the story to end,” Remington explains.
Bill Eddy, the guru of communication techniques for high conflict personalities (HCP), to include narcissists, bipolar disorders, sociopaths, and borderline personalities, has a method that absolutely works called the BIFF Method. When speaking to HCPs, the communication should be Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm. Never argue. Never blame. Forget judgmental; that gets you nowhere. And position your words so that you allow the HCP to think that they are still in the decision-making position. Example: Your 5 year old has a piano recital. The arrival time has been well-established and the information – date, time, place – has been on the refrigerator for a few weeks. The family, including younger brother, is in the car at the appointed time of departure, waiting for Dad, the narcissist. Dad, at the appointed time of departure, decides to take a shower, thereby making the family wait and be late for the recital. Wife calls Dad on the cell and says, “No worries; we’ll meet you there so that we won’t be late for performers’ arrival. Address is on the fridge. We look forward to seeing you. The care.” Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm. Then take off without further conversation.
Co-parenting example: Dad is supposed to pick the children up at 5pm to go to dinner and stay over night at Dad’s house. Dad is notoriously late. Unfortunately for Mom, there always has to be a Plan B, organized so that Mom can still live her life. And the kids are used to Dad being late or a no-show. Depending on the age of the children, Plan B may be a baby sitter at the ready in case of late or no-show Dad. Or a neighbor who can pinch hit for Mom who may have plans for the night. But here’s how the communication can go: Dad, “Hey, I’ll be about 30-60 minutes late. Sorry.” Mom, “No worries. I have plans but (neighbor/baby sitter) will watch the children until you arrive. I’ll hook you up directly with (neighbor/baby sitter) and you can pay the bill directly to them.” Dad, “Cant you wait until I get there? I’ll only be 30-60 minutes late.” Mom, “Sorry. Can’t I have plans. Take care.” Regardless of the number of follow-up messages Dad may send, Mom should not engage in more communication. BIFF!
Co-parenting has its challenges with an HCP, but the other parent isn’t helpless. The relationship will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean the non-HCP parent has to be a victim. The right communication technique can give the nonHCP parent as much control as possible, and balance the co-parenting relationship in such a way to stop the arguments, quiet the relationship, and provide boundaries that are necessary for the nonHCP parent to be able live as independently as possible.
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Biography and Philosophy of Meghan Remington
Meghan Remington, Certified Divorce Coach and founder of Thriving Ahead Divorce Coaching has a background in mental health with a Bachelors Degree in Family Studies and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling. After going through a 1 ½ year divorce Meghan thought, “There has to be a better way,” and created the concept for Thriving Ahead with four basic principles: 1) Give yourself time to heal; 2) Break down your goals for post marriage; 3) Consider hiring a divorce coach; and, 4) Get organized.
Remington believes that in order to restart your life after a divorce, you have to consciously move from “we to me”. Reestablishing direction for your life is important so to create a positive vision for the future, and that can only be done through a single focus lens of what is best for you.
LinkedIn: Meghan Remington, Certified Divorce Coach