Excerpted from BIFF: Personality Disorders

The following excerpt comes from Bill Eddy’s book, BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People.

HCPs (high-conflict people) appear to have traits associated with personality disorders, which include lack of self-awareness and lack of self-change. Personality disorders are a mental health diagnosis for problems that are part of someone’s personality, including seriously dysfunctional ways of thinking, handling their emotions, and behaving. People with these disorders are stuck in a narrow range of repeated behavior that prevents them from having satisfying relationships and keeps them highly distressed. Yet they are not aware of their own patterns and don’t try to change them. They tend to believe that their problems are caused by someone or something else.

Mental health professionals have been treating personality disorders for many decades and have identified several different types. However, only qualified mental health professionals can diagnose a personality disorder in someone, after careful consideration of many factors. One of the characteristics of a personality disorder is that people with such a disorder don’t recognize that they have it, because they lack self-awareness.

People around such a person often recognize that he or she has some kind of mental health problem, but it seems to come and go. People with personality disorders often do well some of the time, such as in school or in a job, but have a hard time in close relationships or dealing with people in authority positions. It’s often not obvious until you get close to the person and there is a conflict or a crisis.

Personality Disorders Appear To Be Increasing

Recent research suggests that more and more people are growing up with personality disorders. This may explain why there appears to be an increase in the number of high-conflict people. A recent study done by the National Institutes of Health between 2001 and 2005 suggests an increasing trend in the percentage of people who meet the criteria for a personality disorder. The researchers interviewed over 35,000 people, who were considered representative of the United States population. They analyzed the results by four age groups.

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 DisorderBIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media MeltdownsIt’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