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Lndon conference July 2016

Bruce Smyth

on 8 April 2017

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Transcript of FRSA2016-Smyth_Moloney

'Loving hate'
When hate takes hold after separation

Knowledge gap:

Shared-time: select group – cooperative, high functioning

But ~40% high-conflict / fear or parallel parenting

How make shared-time 'work' in H-C: practically, emotionally, financially?
Central argument

'High-conflict' oversimplifies nature of destructive family dynamics

'Hatred' reflect key relationship dynamic for some (

Conflict and hatred differ: hate needs to be recognized & responded to

'Pathological hate'
core features

Core driver: might something deeper and more fundamental occurring for some?

Demby: "concept of 'parental conflict' ... rarely conveys the motivational complexity of chronic parental acrimony.... concept of pathological hatred better describes and explains entrenched parenting disputes".

'Hate' - ugly word; understudied
#6. all-consuming: "you took so much time plotting revenge you lost sight of everything that matters"
'HAte-work': 'black hole of injury and vengeance'
hatred: response to being hurt or ignored & stuck
project internal conflict outwards
'loving hate' - seek to destroy but desperately need
substitute for love - 'hostile dependency'
reunion behaviour = connection & proximity
What's 'high-conflict'?

No consensus! But agreement small service-intensive grp (10%=90%)

Lack of definitional clarity = confusion: early identification? case mgmt?

Birnbaum & Bala: need "more refined, explicit analytical concepts for the identification and differentiation of various types of high conflict cases"
– need to distinguish different degrees and types of high conflict
Common features of high-conflict (prev 10-25%)

Continuous legal fights = fat file (can't agree on anything!)

‘Verbal and physical aggression, overt hostility, and distrust’

Inability to communicate

Children drawn in and used in the conflict
#4. willing to incur personal costs in the harming of the other
#2. Global negative evaluation
#5. long-term attitude not healed by time
#9. In its attempts to terrorize, humiliate & destroy, hatred can be serious and dangerous
#1. a thing of the heart:
A Passion
#8. double-edged!
rational: self-serving
irrational: self-destructive
('hate punishes itself')
High conflict ‘couple’? 1 person driving conflict?

'High conflict personality'?
Rigid cognitive style – b&w, can't process new info
Egocentricity – lack empathy; can't see oth perspectv
Defensiveness – chronically blame
Inability to self-regulate emotions
Breathtaking inability to self-observe (and change)
#3. thought disorder – of perception: misattribution of motive
#7. can be passed on through a 'Culture of hatred'
Identifying & responding to hatred?
No single or simple intervention
Not going to be prescriptive – How disturb orbit? tricks?
Educ - neg conseq of conflict for children
Child-incl: child voice reflected back - ART = read emotional intensity
May need formally articulated therapeutic element
engage with less Rational & darker side?
hate: Epi ARGUMENT - new leads & courses of action
Need to differentiate high-conflict
To look away from hate-driven conflict risks missing critical dynamic
"Sometimes when you win, you really lose.

Sometimes when you lose, you really win.

Sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie.

Sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose."

– from the movie, White Men Can’t Jump

"Hate is a force of attraction.
Hate is just love with its back turned."
– H. L. Mencken

"Hating people is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat."
– Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Let go or be dragged"
– Zen Proverb

Sternberg's Triangular theory of Hate:
negation of intimacy in hate (seeking distance)
Passion in hate (Intense Anger or Fear in response to a threat)
commitment in hate (negative evaluation through contempt)

Passionate hate Scale:
A1/ I don’t want X anywhere near me.
A2/ The world would be a better place if X had never existed.
A3/ Any time spent with X is a waste of time.
A4/ I would like to interact with X.

B1/ I cannot control my hatred for X.
B2/ I would like to do something to hurt X.
B3/ I have violent thoughts about X.
B4/ I have kind thoughts for X.

C1/ X is scum.
C2/ X is a low class type of person.
C3/ X does not deserve any consideration or compassion.
C4/ X is a very nice person.

"She’s like the evil mastermind of a horror film"

–Dad shared-time, 5 yrs sep
"I hate him.
I wish he were dead."

– Mum with shared-time,
4 yrs since sep
Definition: a profound negative attachment to a former partner.
It is demonstrated by a relentless and unforgiving negativity involving
(a) a global assessment of the former partner as evil and deserving of no respect as a person or a parent;
(b) persistent bitter feelings, mistrust, accusatory thought, and destructive impulses;
(c) a steadfast inability to self-reflect, see other perspectives or change, coupled with a projection of internal conflicts onto the other; and
(d) a willingness to incur harm to oneself and one’s children in the service of harming or even destroying the other parent.
Full transcript