Do you constantly argue with your partner but can’t find ways to solve your issues?
You may be dealing with a high-conflict personality. Learn more about the high-conflict personality definition in this article.
What is a high-conflict person?
In relationships, we fight, disagree, and bicker often. That makes conflict an inevitable part of a relationship. No healthy relationship can happen without disagreement once in a while. It makes couples stronger and closer as they share their opinions and perspectives.
However, some individuals view conflicts differently. They tend to disagree or fight with their partner over the slightest provocation, mistake, or perceived error. These people are called high-conflict people or individuals with high-conflict personality disorders.
A high-conflict person is an individual with a pattern of attitude that makes conflict worse instead of reducing it. This set of behavior increases a dispute instead of resolving it. Most high-conflict people in relationships are typically challenging to deal with but not necessarily complicated.
In most cases, a conflicted person focuses on the wrong fight. For instance, the person may still be stuck with past incidents, trauma, or hate that have not been processed.
A high-conflict personality is easily triggered by minor remarks, a harmless joke, or an offhand remark. When conflicts occur, they project the hurt of past events to the present. To them, it’s either they win or leave.
When this cycle repeats, communication is hard to achieve, and partners get tired. Therefore, people find it challenging to relate with a high-conflict personality or a conflictive person.
Some of the typical behavior of high-conflict people in relationships include silent treatment, screaming, throwing or hitting things, spreading rumors, refusing to talk about an issue, and leaving one for a long time.
Breaking your partner out of the cycle of high-conflict personality isn’t easy. If you want to know how to handle a high-conflict personality, you need to work twice as hard. As such, you must indulge in healthy communication with your partner.
4 red flags of a high conflict partner
When it comes to high-conflict personality, people in relationships tend to have some patterns of red flags behavior. To know how to deal with a high-conflict personality, it’s crucial to watch out for some signs.
That will tell you whether to stick with your partner and help them or leave. Here are the red flags of a high-conflict personality:
1. Blaming others
One of the red flags you may find with a high-conflict person is the need to blame others. It’s always other’s fault for an error or mistake.
You may hear statements like, “The breakup was all her fault because she ignored me.” “We would have been together if he had not left for his new job.” “My neighbors make a whole mess every time.”
While others may be genuinely at fault, a repeated pattern may be pointing the finger at the ones who are blaming others. Confirm if the person usually attributes faults to others. If it’s true, you should be a little concerned.
Once again, conflicts are normal in relationships. The best way to keep the partnership growing is to find solutions together. Sadly, when you are dealing with a high-conflict person, you will realize that they might not be cooperative.
For example, you may hear, “Let’s just take a break then.” Or “Divorce is a great option at this point.” Statements like these are disastrous to any relationship.
3. Unprocessed feelings and emotions
Another standard red flag of a high-conflict personality disorder is unmanaged emotions. You may be surprised that your partner is still holding on to a fight you had months ago.
Your partner may suddenly burst out and flare up over some minor problem or perceive the issue. You then wonder, “Could my behavior cause this backlash?” “Could there be something wrong with me?” “Maybe I am at fault.”
These are statements and questions people say or ask themselves when dating a high-conflict person.
While these statements and questions are signs of healthy self-reflection, you should only work on yourself if they are true. However, suppose the other person’s behavior clearly shows that they are at fault. In that case, it is a red flag about their attitudes.
4. Extreme behavior
Another red flag of a conflicting person is a display of extreme behavior. As time goes on, you will see some aggressive or extreme behavior patterns in a high-conflict person.
For example, a person with a high-conflict personality disorder may leave their house for days because of an argument.
Then they give excuses that they were angry or needed the break to calm themselves down. While their reason may work, you may need to ask yourself if you would do the same thing to them.
In addition, another extreme behavior to watch out for is a threat.
For instance, statements like, “If you try that again, I will leave this marriage.” Or “You will never see the kids again if you cut me off.” “I’m going to destroy everything you hold dear if you challenge me.” You shouldn’t take these statements lightly.
High-conflict personality discovery is a broad spectrum that encompasses different kinds of behavior. You may realize that a particular attitude is dominant with the high-conflict person you are dealing with.
Learn about them below:
1. The verbal attacker
As the name implies, this type of high-conflict personality disorder capitalizes on attacking their partner with hurtful words. When an issue occurs, they resort to blaming, judging, and assassinating people’s characters.
A conflictive person with this personality finds it difficult to take responsibility. The fault always lies with others.
2. The stonewaller
What this high-conflict personality does best is to evade events that might bring solutions during an argument.
They shut down during disputes and refuse to communicate. This behavior is to protect the ego of a conflicting person. Therefore, the receiving partner gets frustrated over their spouse’s inability to cooperate.
3. The submissive
A person with this personality type admits they are at fault, but only to avoid elongating the argument or avoiding another fight.
4. The antisocial
Antisocial high conflict disorder can be deceptive, even though it looks attractive. Individuals try to manipulate things to get what they want. However, when they don’t get their desired outcome, they blame others and act cruelly.
Learn about five signs that you’ve endured narcissistic abuse:
10. The avoider
They find safety in not communicating whenever there is an argument. An avoided high-conflict personality will do anything to avoid confrontation with you.
Also, an avoided will often digress and distract during an argument or discussion to solve an issue.
What causes a high-conflict personality?
What causes high-conflict personality in individuals?
Unfortunately, it is hard to pinpoint the causes of high-conflict personalities in individuals. There are research that has linked high personality disorder to childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. But it’s hard to tell on the surface.
One fact is particular: temperament has a huge role in developing a high-personality disorder. That’s why a conflictive person makes a big deal out of a minor situation.
In addition, events that often cause emotional stress and anxiety, such as divorces, heartbreaks, trauma, and relationship difficulties, can trigger high-conflict personalities. Nonetheless, these are just scientific speculations considering the similarities of these circumstances with HCP.
It’s important to know that a high-conflict personality has nothing to do with genetics or psychological conditions. However, individuals, especially children, can emulate an older person.
Regardless of the causes of conflict in personality types, couples should devise means of resolving conflict as quickly as possible. If the conflictive person proves adamant, the other person may approach the issue by considering the individual’s background and needs.
How do you deal with a high-conflict personality in relationships?
Indeed, dealing with someone that has HCP can be daunting. You might not know what to say or do sound them anymore. However, Suppose you still value your relationship and believe in your partner. In that case, there is a solution on how to deal with a high-conflict personality.
If all your attempts to solve the problem seem to be going nowhere, seek a professional in the field of conflict resolution.
A high-conflict personality person is constantly involved in endless arguments without hope of resolution. Dealing with such a person is frustrating as you get to be on the receiving end most of the time.
Nonetheless, knowing the conflict personality types and how to deal with high-conflict personalities will help you manage your relationship well. You may also consult a relationship therapist or expert for more guidance.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Noah loves to write on matters of the heart and mind. His experiences have taught him that being an honest friend who communicates well and giving importance to self-love can go a long way in maintaining loving relationships.When he’s not writing or advising people on how to thrive in their relationships, he loves exploring new places with his partner, working out, and pretending that he’s good at cooking exotic stuff.