5 types of people who can ruin your life by Billy Eddy

We all know of the famous adage that says people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses. How true.

Workplaces are good or bad depending on the people who work with you. The world today has adapted to working in teams and you deal with several people daily, most of them on a personal and intimate level where you spend large time together, brainstorming and getting ideas executed.



Author: Billy Eddy
Originally Published: 2018
Publisher: TarcherPerigee
Pages: 208
Genre(s): Non-Fiction, Self Help, Conflict Management

One can only imagine the plight of workers who deal with people with high conflict personalities. Not only do they make life miserable for others, they also sap your productivity as you deal with their personality disorders.

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and a recognized expert on high conflict personalities, whose book deals with 5 types, but there could be more. He pioneered the High Conflict Personality Theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. Why just workplaces, people with conflict personalities could be your date, your sibling, partner, friend, relative, acquaintance, colleague, mate or even neighbors who could negatively impact your life and make it miserable. Their behavior can impact your peace of mind, money, reputation or life. Spotting HCPs is a tricky thing, especially in today’s world where the digital medium becomes a façade to hide the real self, where we meet several people for work and social occasions, where manipulation is easy- especially online where family support and guidance has become quite weak and where lives portrayed on social media tend to be perceived as real.

Eddy lists out 3 key characteristics of people with personality disorders:

  1. Interpersonal dysfunction: Those who cannot maintain a healthy interpersonal relationship
  2. Lack of social self-awareness: Those who cannot see their part in the problem
  3. Lack of change: Those who are stuck in a behavior pattern

Some of the common ways that one can use to identify High Conflict Personality could be if an individual has the below trait(s):

  1. Lots of all or nothing behavior
  2. Intense or unmanaged emotions
  3. Extreme behavior or threats
  4. A preoccupation with blaming others

The five types of High Conflict Personalities

  1. Narcissism: Narcissist people tend to be self-centered, have few good relationships and put others down to feel superior. They expect to be treated specially, feel entitled and lack empathy. They make friends and have relationships that benefit them and can hurt someone if they don’t fall in line. Eddy gives away practical solutions in dealing with narcissists like setting limits and boundaries, not making withdrawal obvious and not blaming yourself for being gullible.
  2. Borderline personality disorder: People who exhibit extreme behavior. They could be very loving at one moment and turn vengeful when they feel insecure. Borderline personality people have rapid mood swings and a constant fear of abandonment which makes them cling to people close to them. One can deal with these people by connecting, responding, analyzing behavior or setting limits.
  3. Anti-social: Many people seem to get into trouble quite often, at school, in college or at the workplace. Though it’s considered a criminal personality, most sociopaths are outside jail! They want what they want, now and if you stand in between what they want, they will push you aside. Lacking remorse, they enjoy hurting others and habitually lie. Anti-social people put themselves at risk all the time and hence live much less than normal people.
  4. Paranoid: Constantly live in the fear and suspicion that people out there are bent to harm them and bear grudges for non- existent reasons. Their paranoia can drive others crazy and impact their lives too. The fear of being ignored leads them to strive to be the center of attention and hence causes much pain to people around them.
  5. Histrionics: Such people appear overtly dramatic, with less specifics in what they’re saying and more exaggerated emotions. More often, such people feel helpless, vulnerable and victimized all their lives. It is their desperate attempt to seek some attention that they behave the way they do.

Key takeaways

  1. As professionals, we deal with numerous people daily. Spotting HCPs in time and taking proactive steps not to fall prey to their antics is the key to stay safe
  2. People develop personality disorders owing to their own backgrounds- childhood trauma or abuse, neglect, abusive parents or even surroundings where they grow up. As adults, such behavior becomes problematic to them and also to others
  3. Not becoming the Target of Blame of such people and staying away from negative advocates keeps you sane and safe
  4. HCPs can potentially ruin your life because they derive pleasure and satisfaction in blaming and targeting others. Using techniques given herein, one can deal with such persons well

Why I recommend this book

As rightly said, High Conflict Personality people are amidst us, some in the form of our close friends, relatives or colleagues. Understanding such people and their characteristics helps to spot them before falling prey. I would recommend every young and old read this book to understand others (and also self, to know if you’re one of such persons yourself). You can’t always run to consult someone, so it’s better to be aware while dealing with difficult people.

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