How Did this Happen to Me?

You aren’t a bad person. You didn’t commit crimes in a previous life. And your karma isn’t out of whack.

Then why did this happen? How did you get into a relationship with someone who is manipulative, controlling, willing to use the kids to try to hurt you and all is around mean?

In my many years of experience, I’ve managed to create a theory – a non- scientific theory – created only from experience working with high conflict people. And that theory is this: You are kind.

High conflict people prey on kind people. They can spot kind people from a mile away and when they find them, they pounce.

And at first high conflict people present as charming, considerate, they act like they really ‘get’ you, they build you up to believe you are a better version of yourself than you thought, they dote on you and make you the center of their universe.

Which is also what kind people do. Kind people just don’t have an ulterior motive.

And from what I’ve learned, high conflict people don’t have an ulterior motive either – they don’t go into relationships thinking they are going to build up their partner and then destroy them piece-by-piece.

But high conflict people’s systems are different than those who are kind.

Kind people are kind in the beginning of the relationship, in the middle and in the end. Kind people naturally build their partners up, without expectations the kindness be reciprocated.   Kind people just know that kind people reciprocate because they are kind.

And in the beginning of a relationship between a high conflict person and a kind person, that works. Both people are building each other up and everyone appears to be happy.

But then something triggers the high conflict person.

And they start to feel in competition with you. And a high conflict person always wins a perceived competition. You didn’t do anything to create the perceived competition, but that doesn’t matter, it will somehow be your fault anyways.

At first it’s a passive aggressive dig. Just enough to create a little bit of doubt in your heart and brain that you aren’t as great as you started to believe you were.

But because you’re a kind person, you try a little harder. You know how good the relationship can be when things are on so you put in a little more effort to get that on feeling back.

And sure enough, that hard work pays off and the romance is restored.

Until the high conflict person is triggered again. And there is another passive aggressive dig, or two or three… and your confidence goes down again, believing the doubt that has been deposited in your kind brain.

“If I just work harder to build him/her up, they’ll understand how amazing they are and stop competing with me.”

But that’s not how the high conflict person’s system works.

When a high conflict person has been triggered once into competing, it’s not a matter of IF they will be triggered again, it’s WHEN.

And if you aren’t trained to notice the competition, the passive aggressive digs, the doubt that has crept into your brain, your confidence taking a nose dive, your slow and steady isolation from friends and family… the high conflict person will suck you into their twisted world and somehow make you believe that if you were just a better person, kinder, more rational, a better mom/dad then you could get back the feeling of invincibility you had at the beginning of the relationship.

That is how this happened to you. You were kind. And believed you were entering a relationship with a fellow kind person, not a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

There are signs you can look for so it doesn’t happen again. So you don’t end up in another relationship with a high conflict person.

Adult patterns run deep so the likelihood that you find yourself in another relationship with a high conflict person is high if you don’t do the work you need to do NOW to break your pattern.

Warning flag: Are you kinder to others than you are yourself?

Dig into that question. Let it percolate for a few days. On the surface it may seem like a silly question. It might even seem like a fluffy, irrelevant question.

Don’t’ let its simplicity fool you.

If your pattern is to be kinder to others than you are to yourself, you may have a pattern of behaviour that will make you susceptible to entering into another high conflict relationship.



Want to dig a little deeper? Find the good: HCP Co-Parenting for Success Membership will help you explore your patterns of behaviour and help you shift into a healthier you so that your next relationship doesn’t mimic your previous high conflict one.