Managing people with high conflict personalities can be challenging and overwhelming. A high conflict personality can be someone who abuses people while making unreasonable demands, aggressively blames others when issues occur, lies or exaggerates to seek attention, takes feedback personally, or shows no empathy for people’s feelings.
High conflict personalities are a constant source of issues and distress for the people around them. They’re challenging to manage and are high risk and cost to your business. While dealing with high conflict personalities can be frustrating and exhausting, note that most show various predictable behaviors you can control. This article outlines five strategies for managing people with high conflict personalities.
1. Avoid escalating conflicts and resolve disputes amicably
Avoiding the escalation of conflicts is an excellent way to deal with someone with a high conflict personality. Consider respecting and paying full attention to their concerns, and where possible, show empathy even if it means going against your feelings. This is crucial in lessening the high conflict personality’s fear response and defensiveness.
However, when engaging in a conversation with a high conflict personality, it’s essential to avoid volunteering, believing, or agreeing to fix issues. Opt for amicable ways to resolve your disputes.
2. Set limits on behaviors that are aggressively defensive
While bad behavior should be stopped, you should find an effective way to do it. Consider showing concern and empathy for a high conflict personality, explaining the reasons or rules such behavior must be stopped, and what the effects are should the behavior continue.
Express regret having to address their behavior. However, you should at the same time explain how you’d like to help them and how other behaviors can effectively get them what they need. Your aim should be helping the high conflict personality achieve the goal underlying the poor behavior.
3. Reduce their mistaken danger assessment
High conflict personalities may have a long-standing mistaken assessment of danger. You can reduce their fears in how you interact with them. When dealing with different types of high conflict personalities, including borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, histrionic, and paranoid high conflict personalities, handle each with care to reduce their fears.
4. Avoiding giving negative feedback
While responding to bad behavior with negative feedback makes sense, doing that with a high conflict personality isn’t wise because they take it personally, and it fuels their mistaken assessment of danger, triggering bad behavior in their defense. This is usually more personality-based fear and has nothing to do with the present. Nonetheless, you can’t say this to them to avoid getting even more defensive behavior. Concentrate on lessening their emotional threats and setting limits on their behavior.
5. Keep calm during a confrontation
Confrontation with high conflict personalities can be unavoidable. However, you can significantly lessen their impact by understanding the person’s patterns and planning for the conflict in advance. Consider keeping yourself emotionally detached during a confrontation. While it’s easier said than done, remember the person you’re dealing with has an emotional maturity pattern and that you can’t take it personally. When a high conflict personality starts getting aggressive or confrontational, consider remaining calm and not responding to their hurtful actions or comments.
Dealing with high conflict personalities can be difficult. However, these strategies can help you manage them.
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