HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE; NARCISSISTS, HIGH CONFLICT PERSONALITIES, AND TOXIC PEOPLE
by Lisa A. Romano
In this blog, I’m going to be talking about what not to do when you meet someone who has a high conflict personality.
Let me break this down for you, a high conflict personality fits the description of someone who seems highly argumentative, very disagreeable, angry all of the time and complains often about how the world is out to get them.
Have you ever met someone who ticks a few of those traits? If so please do continue reading on. And if like me, you have been a target of a person with a high conflict personality or know someone who has been the target of someone who possesses these types of traits, this blog will help you understand more about this personality.
High Conflict Personality Common Traits
When dealing with someone who has a high conflict personality, they usually have an intense black and white way of thinking, lacking self-awareness and personal insight. Someone who will often see themselves as a victim and the last thing you want to do is draw attention to this person’s character when you point out that they act like a victim. If you question their motives, you are redirecting their energy and you will become their target. So what do you do in this situation?
When you can sense their rage is coming out of their skin, it can be very frightening and even more so when you are talking to somebody who absolutely believes that they are within their right to destroy other people's lives. It is bewildering when you are in the company of someone who has this rage and who has little to no interest in what you have to say. This is someone who behind closed doors thrives on dominance in a relationship and when they lose that dominance they may become enraged with unmanaged emotions. There isn’t a rationale, no filter where the emotions run through to help them calm down or help them see the other side.
How To Deal With High Conflict Personalities
There is a line that some people will cross with these types of personalities and if you are the target of someone who feels like it is within their right to destroy you, you are now involved with someone who has a high conflict personality. This type of personality usually is someone who is rationalizing poor behavior and often blame their targets for all of their misery.
When you are dealing with someone who is unstable or when you are dealing with someone who reveals some of these personality traits, the best thing you can do is start figuring out how to exit this friendship. Most people would not humiliate someone else or go to extreme lengths such as tearing up contracts in a business meeting because they didn’t like what they saw in the paperwork. Most people would not put their hands on another human being and would not curse at someone that they loved or even turn an entire family against another family member. There are people in society that speak with such venom against other people and that is a cause for concern. If you know someone who is like this then it is in your best interest not to engage with them. It is in your best interest to listen and to make an analysis of this person’s personality and to
“find any way possible to exit the relationship.”
If you have ever been the butt of a smear campaign, you know what I’m thinking about as this is someone who is highly unstable and makes you their target. They are gunning for you and going after your business, they don’t care if they hurt your kids, lie or exaggerate. For example, let’s say you are dealing with someone who is raging at you and you don’t want to react hastily to them, you want this person to leave the premises quickly so you remain calm and ask yourself is this normal behavior? Would I behave this way?
There are people out there who are struggling with their anti-social personality issues or have serious high conflict personalities who are highly disagreeable and feel the need to blame others. If you have identified that you are dealing with someone like this, you’d need to keep calm and take note of how unrealistic this person is. Try and do everything you can to remain calm and cool whilst listening to what they are asking for and what their frustration is but do keep your emotions in check.
“Do not let your emotions escalate, this is so important.”
Keep Your Emotions In Check
The best thing that you can do if you’re dealing with this person is to keep your emotions in check and figure out what you’re dealing with, and where their frustration is coming from because it’s not fair to blow up on you. During my divorce, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that there was an intention to destroy me in as many ways possible. My finances and my relationship with my children were impacted and I became the absolute target and this lasted for over seven years.
A simple fallout with someone can then result in them being angry and not ending easily when they have a high conflict personality. It can even go on indefinitely and it was after seven years that my ex told me “I always thought that if I destroyed you you’d come running back”. But you see that this is somebody whose mind works in such a way that if you need me and you depend on me then that is the reason that you will stay.
No relationships are about dominance and control, some people’s minds work that way in order to be in a relationship. They feel like you need to depend on them or them to depend on you and so they convince you that it’s your fault that they feel the way that they feel. If you are the target of someone who has a high conflict personality, I encourage you to not go back to them and I encourage you to not call them out. Do everything you can to keep your emotions in check.
I vividly remember during my divorce the moment that I took my phone out of a locker after receiving 20 or 30 abusive texts daily, I looked at them and I just said ‘not today’ and I shut the phone. This is where I developed the term ‘shutti, shutti’ from - I began to extract myself emotionally. I began to focus entirely on what I could control and if it wasn’t in my control, I forced my mind to identify it and choose to let it go. That was really difficult, it is like walking through fire when you deal with people with high conflict personality traits and it is important to check the self so we don’t allow someone else to trigger us.
If you are healthier than someone who has these types of personality traits then you have to understand that they are built for this. You might get exhausted with your mind baffled as to why this isn’t over but to someone who has this type of personality issue or personality disorder, you’d want to find a way to stop being their target as soon as possible.
“This is the way you save your sanity when you’re dealing with people who want to blame you.”
Until next time, Namaste.