Bill Eddy has worked with many high conflict individuals throughout his career where he has served in roles as a lawyer, mediator and social worker. In fact, he states that the theme of his career has been conflict resolution.
Mr. Eddy's experience and valuable knowledge are shared with his readers who will benefit not only from the clearly-explained theory but also are given valuable strategies to help them deal with difficult situations that they may encounter.
In "It's All Your Fault!" Eddy argues that approximately fifteen percent of the population have a personality pattern that is preoccupied with blaming others due to their own lack of self-awareness and self-sabatoging behaviours. When these individuals experience internal stress combined with ingrained cognitive distortions, a mistaken assessment of danger can lead to behaviour that is aggressively defensive.
Some people who present as high conflict individuals actually meet the criteria for a Personality Disorder diagnosis whereas others just display traits.
Instead of taking responsibility for their problems or focussing on creation of a healthy resolution, the individual attacks what Eddy has termed a "target of blame". These attacks might involve presenting inaccurate information or outright lies to others who have not had opportunity to view the person's patterns and therefore do not have a reason to doubt what has been presented.
The target might not have initially done anything to warrant an attack but can inadvertently escalate the situation if they use aggressive or passive responses.
Unfortunately, the high conflict individual truly believes that his/her thoughts, feelings and behaviours are not only accurate but justified. S/he is therefore not open to change or to therapy so their patterns continue and may even become more ingrained over time.
Eddy offers a number of recommendations for those who become the "target of blame" as well as professionals, family and friends who find themselves involved with high conflict individuals. He promotes the use of assertiveness that includes genuine empathy, attention and respect as well as setting limits that will contain the behaviours of the high conflict personality without attacking. In addition, Eddy argues that it is very important to provide a timely response to correct erroneous information that the high conflict individual has shared with others.
The author stresses the fact that even if you are a target of blame, you are not the problem. However, you might find that you have developed strong feelings of defensiveness or are perhaps even becoming a negative advocate for the high conflict individual. You might find yourself avoiding contact with the high conflict individual. Because you can be drawn into s negative situation quickly and without your awareness, it is therefore important that you have a support system of positive advocates who will help you. Mr. Eddy offers techniques for accessing this support in a healthy way and managing your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours appropriately.
"It's All Your Fault!" is an extremely valuable guide that is easy to read and understand. Several case studies are included to demonstrate difficult scenarios that can develop, options for resolution and rationale for choosing the most appropriate strategy.
I highly recommend this book!