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Expert Advice on High Conflict People

Updated on August 23, 2012

I am often asked by clients and friends about which books IThey can read to help them manage their relationships with high conflict people. They may be struggling with someone at work or someone in their family. They may be facing a difficult divorce or child custody battle. Typically, I recommend one or two books depending on their situation.

I often wonder if I should give a better answer. More book options, fuller descriptions. From now on, this lens will be my better answer.

High Conflict People

We estimate that about 20% of people have significant high conflict traits. That means they are already in your life. You know these people. They are in your school, at work, at church, in your neighborhood and in your family.

High confident people are confusing. It is hard to imagine why they make the choices they do. It is hard to understand why they engaged so much drama. It is frustrating to watch them make such disruptive choices.

High conflict people see the world differently than you do. They're driven by profound to compelling fears that dominate their thoughts, emotions, relationships and actions. If you trigger one of these deep fears you are in a conflict with that person. And that conflict will not simply fade away.

High conflict people work their way through conflicts differently than you do. If you expect them to have the same "normal" perspective as you do, you will be endlessly disappointed. If you treat high conflict people the same as you treat other people, you will trigger their deepest fears and escalate your dispute.

High conflict people require us to adopt a different approach when working through conflicts with them. These are the experts that have been most helpful for me.

Bill Eddy

It was from Bill Eddy that I first heard the phrase "high conflict people". His work on the topic has been enormously helpful and I highly recommend his books and seminars.

Bill Eddie's career has centered around the practice of conflict resolution. Beginning in New York City in 1970 as a youth social worker he later trained in mediation. He later earned hs masters degree in social work and earned hs LCSW. After practicing as a social worker for several years he passed the California bar in 1992. Having primarily worked in the area of family law, his unique perspective is essential to anyone involved in a high conflict divorce. He has been able to piece together how certain people with personality disorders drive legal conflicts. His books and seminars have been values by judges and attorneys and by those in high conflict divorces.

For more about Bill Eddy, please visit the High Conflict Institute.

High Conflict People in Legal Disputes by Bill Eddy

It's All You Fault by Bill Eddy

BIFF by Bill Eddy

Splitting by Randy Kreger and Bill Eddy

Nina Brown

Dr.Nina Brown is a licensed therapist that Prof. counseling at old dominion university. The specialty is Narcissis. Her interest began in the wake of several difficult exchanges with the high conflict personality at work. These encounters with this orienting, frustrating and hurtful. Being a good therapist and an academic she set out to understand what was going on. All to our benefit. I fully recommend each of the books listed as they have been deeply valuable assets for me and my clients.

To learn more about Dr. Brown here.

Coping with Infurating, Mean, Critical People by Nina Brown

Loving the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown

Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown

Salt Creek Associates

I will start with acknowledging that I am a founding partner and Saltcreek Associates. Our intention from the beginning has been to help people to the conflicts in their lives. But we learn with certain people drive conflicts these, I conflict people are difficult to understand me for more difficult to deal with.

Our clients are much like you. And they are surprised when they find high conflict people in their lives. Sometimes they find them in their families and sometimes at work. Often the experience is overwhelming.

It is most common that our clients encounter high conflict people into ways. In their families there may have been a long simmering dispute that. Can no longer be ignored. Often this may include legal disputes involving family businesses, divorce and child custody and probate and the settling of estates in the family. Often they are at a loss and don't know how to proceed.

At work there's often and interpersonal conflict that brings clients to our company. One person or small group of people may be creating a great deal of conflict. This can happen anywhere in the corporate world. In addition to working with corporate executives in global 100 and and fortune 500 companies we have also found that certain professions have more than their fair share of high conflict people as clients. For example pastors, educators, healthcare workers and law enforcement all engage high conflict people on a daily basis. Few are fully prepared.

Locally (Orange County, Ca) we provide mediation services for families and businesses.

Locally and nationally we provide coachIng and consulting services for clients who are dealing with high conflict people. We help our clients manage and resolve the conflict they are in, recover from the impact of the conflict in their lives and help them learn to recognize high conflict people before they can do you any damage.

We provide seminars and training for individuals and professional about high conflict people.

Squidoo has become an important part of our business. We are in the process of transforming the handouts we give to our clients into Squidoo lenses. We believe this inormation will become an even more valuable resourse for both current and future clients.

We have two blogs that may be of interest to you.

Salt Creek Coaching - This is the general blog for salt creek associates and includes information about wellness, relationships and conflict.

Wolves Among the Sheep - This blog is specifically about conflict in churches and how high conflict people drive those conflicts.

Some More Helpful Resources

Emotional vampires

Stop Walking On Eggshells

In Sheep's Clothing

Who do you recommend?

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