It’s All Your Fault!: 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything by Bill Eddy

Summary

If you have a difficult person in your life, this is a must read. It is a practical guide to understanding and working with individuals who have high conflict tendencies. You’ll learn about how high conflict people think, their primary fears, and productive ways of managing your interactions with them.

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Key Takeaways

Personality disorders

“A personality disorder is a long-term dysfunctional pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that affects many areas of a person’s life.”

“Since they lack self-awareness, those with personality disorders generally lack the ability to change their own behavior to fit changing social situations.”

Personality disorders can significantly influence a person’s life, including their ability to adapt in changing social situations.

High conflict people

“One of the biggest mistakes you can make with High Conflict People is to give them negative feedback.”

High conflict people do not receive feedback well. They will take it personally, become resentful, and engage in unproductive arguments. So instead of arguing with their logic or giving them negative feedback, change the topic and move on.

Why doctors get sued

“What mattered was the way the doctor said it. If the doctor’s tone of voice was less ‘dominant’ and ‘more concerned,’ the doctor was much less likely to be sued.”

Doctors who are perceived as cold and dominant are more likely to get sued than those who seem friendlier and more concerned. When people feel that you care about them, they will be more understanding even when the prescribed course of action doesn’t work quite as planned. But if they think that you’re just a medical professional who doesn’t care about them, they’ll be much more skeptical of you and more likely to sue.

Negative advocates

“HCPs unconsciously seek Negative Advocates to justify their misperceptions and misbehavior and to assist them in blaming others for their problems.”

High conflict people seek others to validate their perceptions and behaviors. Often, negative advocates will join in on blaming other people and explaining away the erratic behavior of the high conflict person.

Negative advocates are dangerous because they support the high conflict person without looking into the facts. They quickly jump to conclusions and scold those who don’t see their view. Positive advocates, on the other hand, may be supportive of a person, but they first spend time evaluating whether the situation is true or false.

Empathy

“Empathy is the ability to sincerely identify with and care about another person’s feelings and life experience.”

When you’re dealing with difficult people, empathy is critical.

Paying attention

“Paying full attention to someone involves brief, uninterrupted listening, followed by repeating the essence of what you heard so the person feels that you were paying attention (and not just thinking of a response).”

Instead of looking for the next thing to say to impress the people you’re with, try being fully present with the conversation. Listen and summarize what was said to make sure you fully understand. Then, if you have more to add, go for it.

Seek to understand, not judge

“The goal is not to judge people, but to understand them.”

The principle of seeking to understand, not judge has had a profound impact on my life. Instead of listening to my initial impressions, I’ve found comfort in spending time understanding where the person is coming from and in listening without judgment. It’s a principle that will transform your relationships if you adopt it fully.

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