High-conflict people (HCPs) have a repeated pattern of aggressive behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it. It’s part of how they think, feel and act. It’s been part of their personality for years. To HCPs, it seems normal and necessary to intensely blame others. It’s often automatic. They can’t restrain themselves, even though their blaming may hurt themselves as well.
When problems and conflicts arise, rather than thinking about solutions they focus on who to blame: an all-or-nothing approach. They think that it must be all YOUR fault (or else it’s all their fault and they can’t cope with that possibility). So they become preoccupied with blaming others in order to escape being blamed themselves. Their behavior is highly defensive. But you can’t point this out to them, because they become even more defensive.
This emphasis on blame isn’t mild – it’s intense! To them, it often feels like a life or death struggle. This explains why it may feel like they are engaged in a campaign to destroy you or someone else. They feel that their survival is at stake. For an explanation of why and how some people develop high-conflict personalities, please see our companion book It’s All YOUR Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything.
Approximately one out of seven people has a high-conflict personality (12%-15% of people), based on my experience as a lawyer, mediator, therapist and avid reader of personality research. That’s a lot of people. I’m sure you have already met some of them. Conflict is part of who they are. And there are indications that they are increasing in modern society around the world.
To learn more about high conflict people and how to deal with them, please visit www.highconflictinstitute.com
High Conflict Institute provides training and consultations, as well and books, DVDs and CDs regarding dealing with High Conflict People (HCPs) in legal, workplace, educational, and healthcare disputes. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of It’s All Your Fault!, Splitting, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns and Don’t Alienate the Kids!. He is an author, attorney, mediator, and therapist. Bill has presented seminars to attorneys, judges, mediators, ombudspersons, human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, managers, and administrators in 25 states, several provinces in Canada, France, Sweden, and Australia. For more information about High Conflict Institute, our seminars and consultations, Bill Eddy or to purchase a book, CD or DVD, visit: http://www.HighConflictInstitute.com