It is hard to know who you can turn to during a high-conflict separation. Some people including family members may become a danger to you. The high-conflict ex will rally his/ her troops to form a posse of support by spinning tails or half-truths about you in order to serve his /her agenda. If that agenda is to punish you rather than resolve or co-parent with you – beware! Those in contact with your ex who claim to maintain a “neutral” stance are likely being manipulated by your ex to further his/her agenda. This is known as abuse by proxy, and these people may not even realize their role in the chaos. In high-conflict divorce lingo these people are known as “flying monkeys”.
A good example of a potential flying monkey may be your Nanny. Although she is paramount in helping care for your children, because she may be paid by your ex, she may be coerced to serve your ex by providing private information to which your ex is no longer privy. What does this mean to you? Your Nanny must be viewed as a potential source or danger by leaking information to your ex about your legals or finances. She may also be feeding information about your personal life such as partners, medication, and health status.
Does this mean you need to fire your Nanny? Definitely not. Your kids need their stability and normalcy. It is just best to know this can happen and to prepare for it. This means keeping all legal documents locked or hidden and do not chat with your Nanny about the case. I would also recommend always being vigilant about your behaviour in front of the Nanny with regard to drinking, partners, spending and language.
What about the other players? Grandparents, aunts, cousins, family friends? If they are still having relations with your ex I would recommend that you are hyper-vigilant with them too. They are potential flying monkeys. The only truly trustworthy people to you during this high-conflict time are your lawyer(s) and your closest friends and family that have gone “no-contact” with your ex.