How should I respond to hostility?

During a divorce, you’ll probably find it necessary to stay on your guard constantly if you want to come out of the experience emotionally unscathed. When faced with hostility from an ex-spouse in Pennsylvania, many have found it helpful to follow the BIFF response guidelines.

When you have to work with hostility

Ideally, you’d remove yourself from the situation entirely. But that’s not always an option when you have an important matter that has to be worked out with the other person.

People are more connected than ever, and this can sometimes backfire. Sometimes, it just increases the number of places where an ex-spouse can verbally attack you throughout your divorce proceedings.

Of course, the classic form of hostility is still done face to face, which is not at all uncommon in modern divorces. But no matter where the hostility comes from, your response is the only thing you can control.

Verbal attacks from an ex-spouse can come from just about anywhere in a divorce, such as:

  • Emails
  • Physical mail
  • Social media
  • Comments sections

What makes it a BIFF response?

BIFF stands for:

  • Brief
  • Informative
  • Friendly
  • Firm

Your BIFF response should be short and get straight to the point. If you’re writing it out, make sure it’s limited to a paragraph.

As tempting as it may be, don’t bring your emotions into your reaction. Keep your focus on the facts.

The friendly aspect of BIFF is rarely easy when you’re under attack. But being friendly will make you feel better, and you’re more likely to get what you want out of the reaction.

But just because you’re being friendly doesn’t mean you can’t be firm, which is the final element of a BIFF response. If you’re wishy-washy, the attacker might see it as an opportunity to continue their verbal assault. Make your boundaries clear and questions make sure the other person confirms that you’re on the same page if possible.

When your ex-spouse makes aggressive remarks that are directed at you in a divorce, the way that you respond can either diffuse or escalate the situation. BIFF is a set of guidelines that can help you make the best possible response in a hostile situation.