Current Hot Topic:
Brain reacts to fairness
Just seem to attract conflict!
Bill Eddy spent some years as a therapist working in mental institutions with individuals suffering from extreme personality disorders, before becoming a lawyer, and then a mediator. He has written a book titled: "It's All Your Fault - 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything". I have found this extremely useful.
Essentially, Bill's point is that people who are frequently involved in conflict sometimes display various traits associated with well understood personality disorders, and with just a little bit of knowledge you can recognise enough of these to be able to respond effectively.
He is crystal clear that this is not a process of "analysing" a "patient" with a view to changing or "fixing" that person. On the contrary, his general thesis is that "curing" - or even expecting the other to change their habitual responses at all - is simply not realistic (as we are not therapists). Rather, he offers tools for modifying our own behaviour, which - and I can personally attest to this - work a whole lot better that trying to change the other!
What characterises all the responses he discusses as being typical of High Conflict Personalities (HCP) is an excessive and highly emotional reaction when threatened. This stems from a very strong (and generally completely unconscious) sense of fear associated with being abandoned, belittled, ignored or dominated. All of us experience at least some discomfort when threatened in these ways, it is just the degree of reaction that really sets the HCP apart.
The first step, which is undoubtedly the hardest, is to change the way we respond when attacked by a High Conflict Personality (HCP), this is a link to a good introduction.