Excerpt: BIFF—Quick Responses to High Conflict People

by Bill Eddy


Politicians are among those who use Blamespeak the most – because it often works for them! In recent elections people have deplored the use of negative ads, yet they have been used more than ever. They grab your attention and make you concerned. While most politicians in the past were not HCPs, the times we live in seem to reinforce and encourage high-conflict politicians. In our highly competitive world of news, the most extreme behavior gets the most attention.

The effect of this trend will be more and more high-conflict politicians getting elected – and acting badly. Those who live by Blamespeak will often crash by Blamespeak – and we have seen many politicians getting pushed out of office for bad behavior in recent years. High-conflict people have predictable patterns of behavior – at least to those who pay attention to HCP dynamics.

HCPs in politics often start out by alleging to be heroes against evil villains – an all-or-nothing approach. “Elect me and I will eliminate the fraud and corruption of the prior government official.” The ones who say this the loudest are often the HCPs, because they rely on extreme emotions to hook in the electorate and often promise extreme solutions.

But government is a messy and flexible business. It has to somehow deal with differences of opinions in ways that everyone can tolerate. Good politicians can get work done by managing these differences, with respect for everyone, including people who hold very opposite points of view. High-conflict politicians are less able to manage differences and resort to all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerated emotions and extreme solutions – which they claim that they alone know how to accomplish! Beware!


About Bill Eddy William A. (“Bill”) Eddy, L.C.S.W., J.D. is a family law attorney, therapist and mediator, with over thirty years’ experience working with children and families.  He is the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California.  He is also the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides speakers, trainers and consultants on the subject of managing high-conflict people in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare and education.  He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law and he teaches Psychology of Conflict at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law.  He is the author of several books, including:

Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns

It’s All Your Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything

For more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com.