Knowing and Accepting Each Other’s Personality Styles

During a separation process parents‚ personality differences get magnified
- especially when deciding the custody of their children.

Disappointment, depression, anxiety, and anger are normal at this time. Different personality types express these feelings in different ways. Understanding what's underneath the behavior can help you find empathy for yourself and your child's other parent.

Problem Solvers: This type fends for and protects their children more than they dislike the other parent. They are problem solvers in other parts of their life and are very willing to negotiate and compromise. They are committed to shielding their child from conflict.
Things can become difficult if the problem solver avoids conflict altogether and issues don't get resolved.

Controllers. The controller may be emotionally or even physically abusive. They often try to maintain the upper hand during a divorce. Many marriages break up because the non-controlling partner stands up to the controller. People try to control others when they don't feel empowered themselves.

Controllers need to know that they are strong enough to be alone.

Impaired parent. This parent may have a visible disability - or they may be emotionally dependent. It's often difficult for them to let go of their spouse. And often spouses stay in the marriage too long, afraid to abandon them. By the time divorce is underway, there is often a lot of resentment.

Impaired parents need outside help, accepting their dependency and working to overcome it as much as possible. This may mean therapy, alcohol/drug counseling or rehab, vocational rehab, etc.

How Personality Types Interact

The most successful and least conflicted parent combination is two problem solvers. They tend to work together to find solutions. They tend to be good at empathizing with each other and their kids - putting their kids' needs first.

Two controlling parents tend to have the hardest time finalizing their divorce. They will typically be seen in court at times throughout their child's life.

With impaired parents what often happens is that this person leaves the family system, finding a caretaker elsewhere. In some cases, this parent finds the right help and learns to parent in more appropriate and effective ways.

If you would like to learn more about how you can begin therapy, or have any questions please call 415-563-4342 or 510-883-9312, or email me directly at susanmreganmft@gmail.com.

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