q-100Dear Rhoberta,

My name is G and i’m 25 years old. I just found out that I’m a high-conflict person.

After continuing fights with my boyfriend (we are together for a half a year) I had to realized that something is seriously wrong with me and if I don’t do anything, it’s going to end up in the same way as the previous ones. My friends always tell me that I’m a really good looking lady, caring, funny, smart, interesting..let’s just say that it seems that I have those qualities which attract people, however when it comes to the relationships (or involves family matters or a workplace) I can become very sensitive and defensive. Accordingly, I get angry (afterwards I do believe that I have anger management problems, tried to drink water during those anger attack moments, though it didn’t help), I start to accuse someone by telling “what you/he/she said was insulting” or “start asking what did you mean, why did you say so”.

In general, I take everything personally, somehow I’m afraid to be abandoned, to be dominated or ignored by others and it evolves into destructive understanding of the situation, shouting and anger management problems which is frustrating to others. I’m a relationship person and I can tell that guys with whom I get into a relationship – are incredibly good persons what is really hard to find these days. Even I’m not sure which is the one, or maybe I already lost “the one” because of my personality problems, I’m really willing to delete or diminish somehow this part of me. I already tried to look for problems in the childhood. I had a very difficult times at school when all of my classmates (guys) were very aggressive against me, because were told to be by one leader who I dated and I was under a torture for approximately a year and no one could do anything. Moreover, I lived only lived with my mom, because with my Y – chromosome was used just for making me, because my mother was 30years old and wanted a child so badly that she wasn’t willing to wait longer.

As they say about HCP, they tend to to harm to others by being manipulative..till now I thought that I’m trying to defend others and was convinced that my emotional intelligence is high and that I’m far away from a competitive sellers profile (but I tend to be competitive, but without doing wrong intentionally). Now perhaps I have to start thinking that I perversely perceived the image of myself. I’ve seen that there are ways to deal with HCP if you are already married to them, but I don’t think any emotionally stable person would like to live with me if I don’t change. If you have any free minutes to tell some insights on how should I manage this new-old me, I would be grateful. SInce I’m living in Lithuania, I’m not able to register for the appointment with you, but perhaps I still will be advised to see a professional. Many thanks in advance.

Best regards,




a-100Dear G,

What a wonderful thing for you, that you are meeting these issues squarely and honestly so early in your life! I applaud your willingness to look within yourself and live a more examined life.

First, just let me respond to the last thing in your question regarding ability to work with me. Anyone, anywhere in the world can book an appointment with me HERE, as we can meet through Skype video and/or audio.  So, just know that.

High conflict people infrequently acknowledge their behaviors, motives and intents…and the results and consequences. That is why I applaud you for looking within.

You are right. High conflict people use the word “you” far too frequently. As you say, your questions are “what are you saying? ” or “why didn’t you say something” is putting the onus on the other person and taking no look at your own behaviors. High conflict people–many, but not all–are looking for ways to prove they are right or the other is wrong. There is a great need to control, manipulate, bully or seduce people into seeing and doing things their way. (Those words may sound harsh, but I think, on reflection, you may find they are accurate, if undesirable.)  There is an equal desire to be right on the part of the HCP.  Many will argue black is white in one minute in order to “win” and ten minutes later argue that anyone who thinks black is white is an idiot, in order to win. They need to be right. That often comes as a result of having little or no control over anything, even going to the extent of being forced or coerced to meet a parent’s expectations, that causes a person to over-compensate with the desire to control everything and everyone. It reduces uncertainty for them.  These are general, broad strokes that are often the case in the history of HCPs. Further, if a parent is an HCP, or a doormat personality that an HCP considers weak, this will exacerbate the situation.

HCP behavior is alienating. People who have HCP behavior are neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. They are simply products of their upbringing over time. That means their behaviors are learned–usually to try to feel certain in an uncertain world. Recognizing that this behavior alienates people is a step towards a much healthier way of being with yourself and others.

Gabiya, start by having an honest reflection and examination of your Mom, not to make her wrong in any way, just to get a glimmer of where there may be good insights for you.

Then, consider this:  it is not uncommon for very bright people to have HCP traits if they were raised in circumstances that nurture HCP behavior. Why? Because they have the ability to see the big picture and can be two jumps ahead of others in a conversation. They then have difficulties with close relationships because that behavior pushes people away, discounts them, and leaves little room for other people. It is difficult to have a partnership when there is emotional inequity that is perpetuated by an HCP perseon.

So, insights on how to manage the new-old you..lol.

Keep walking. You’re on to something that can change your life for the better in every way.

As yourself this question before you open you mouth in any relationships: “If someone said what I’m about to say in the way I’m about to say it–tone of voice, choice of words, body posture, volume–would that be acceptable to me?  If the answer is “yes”, proceed to speak. If the answer is “no”, you have given yourself the opportunity to change. That will likely change the outcome. NOTE: It will take other people a little while to recognize the changes in you. You’re doing this for you, not for them. Remember that.

Engage with a competent therapist who specializes in high conflict personalities. This specialty is important because many therapists can be taken in by the seducing, manipulative, bullying, controlling, and/or passive-aggressive behaviors in clients, just as most people are. Those therapists cannot help you as much as ones who are particularly interested in HCPs. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to walk with your therapist and use this delightful new sense of self-awareness you have uncovered!

I hope this helps you with the next steps, Gabiya.  Again, kudos to you for taking this journey.

I wish you well.

get the relationship help you need in-person or through Skype videoRhoberta Shaler, PhD is The Relationship Help Doctor. She works with individuals, couples, families and workplace teams to help them develop the skills, insights and solutions that lead to better communication, conflict management and collaboration. You can work with her online through Skype® or Google+, by phone, or in-person in her office in Escondido, CA, at The Optimize Center.

For immediate insights, subscribe to her blog at www.RelationshipHelpDoctor.com  There are hundreds of posts there and a search button to help you find what you need.


Disclaimer: all advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her opinions  for your consideration only.



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