When we are in the middle of a divorce, separation, a workplace dispute or any relationship conflict with, it is easy to get caught up in defending our own behaviour and point of view. This is especially true when we are dealing with a high conflict person (HCP). Bill Eddy (High Conflict Institute) Mediator Lawyer and Social worker coined this phrase in 2003 to describe people who have a pattern of behaviour that increases conflict rather then reducing or resolving it.
As Bill Eddy describes it, these people quickly “push our buttons,” and they seem to know exactly how. When that happens then it is easy to respond by getting into the fight. Difficult people engage in negative conversations about their situations rather than trying to resolve their problems. Usually they focus on personal and counter-attack.
In reality, you don’t have to join in. If you think you are going to be dealing with a difficult person, try to avoid getting “hooked" into the conflict.
"High-conflict people (HCPs) have a pattern of high-conflict behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it". This pattern usually happens over and over again in many different situations with many different people. The issue that seems in conflict at the time is not what is increasing the conflict. Bill Eddy’s noble quote is "The issue is not the issue”. Bill advises "If you think someone is an HCP, use this information as a Private Working Theory”. This is because difficult people cannot see the connection between their own behaviour and their problems. As their intractable, demanding behaviour continues, their conflicts grow. You can learn how focusing on changing your own behaviour not theirs will help you to cope.
Jennifer has engaged in training with the High Conflict Institute in this respect and through studying Bill Eddy’s theories and experience uses this knowledge to deal effectively with difficult people individually and within relationships..