Excerpt: BIFF—Quick Responses to High Conflict People
by Bill Eddy
Most of us have been or will be involved in several organizations, whether a neighborhood committee, a parent-teacher association, a church or other religious membership, volunteer work, political parties, athletic, educational or otherwise. Such organizations attract HCPs, because they usually welcome almost anyone who shares their interests. Members for many of these organizations are not screened for conflict resolution skills or any other skills.
Such organizations also have rules and procedures. HCPs are often the ones who won’t follow the rules and procedures, or who want to get into positions of power so that they can try to impose their own rules and procedures on others. Most of these types of organizations encourage members to take leadership roles, so that they are more vulnerable to the quick rise of individuals who have these problems.
This is not to say that volunteer leaders and others are all HCPs – most are not. Instead, this is just to say that HCPs can more easily slip through the cracks and into leadership roles in these types of organizations than they would in business or the professions. (They show up there as well. It just takes them a little more work to get there.)
Religious organizations particularly struggle with how to handle HCPs, because they value every individual, their procedures are slow and forgiving, and the membership becomes divided over what to do. When a religious leader is an HCP, it can be confusing to determine whether the conflicts are over religious differences or the leader’s high-conflict personality – or both.
Government agencies and employees are focused on rules and procedures, and enforcing them in society. Much of their work is dealing with HCPs who do not comply. HCPs can also get into positions of power in government agencies, because they like having power over others. However, just as with the organizations described above, this does not mean that most government workers are HCPs or that most people who use government services are HCPs – they are not. This just means that there is an attraction to HCPs, because government offers so many opportunities to receive help, or to have power and control over others.
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:
For more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com.