Eddy sees the pain of the cluster B personality disordered people as fear driven. He distills each of the four cluster B types down to a single, basic driving fear. Those suffering from anti-social personality disorder, the sociopaths, fear being dominated. The narcissists fear inferiority. The borderlines fear abandonment. And the histrionics fear being ignored.
Eddy approaches the cluster B personalities with a great deal of compassion, much, much more than I am typically able to muster. His compassion for their fear and pain is admirable. I love his books. They are concise, easy to read and he provides much needed attention to the histrionic variant, the type most authors and researchers ignore.
Here is another excerpt from one of my favorite books, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes. It completes the foundation and sets the stage for High Conflict People Part 3.
High-conflict personalities don’t get very far unless they persuade others to adopt their cognitive distortions and assist in their interpersonal battles. In substance-abuse treatment, we call these persons “enablers”. They enable the abuser to stay stuck in negative behavior, negative thinking and avoidance of responsibility. I use the term “negative advocate” for enablers in legal disputes, because the adversarial process relies so heavily on professional and non-professional advocates. Enablers–often inadvertently–advocate for the cognitive distortions and negative behavior of HCPs.
High-conflict disputes don’t occur without one or more negative advocates–at least I’ve never seen it happen. On their own, most HCPs lack credibility. They seek negative advocates to justify their misbehavior and misconceptions, and to assist them in blaming others for their life problems–to advocate for them.
Negative advocates are those family members, friends, mental health professionals and legal professionals who try to help but get it backwards–they adopt or agree with the HCP’s backward thinking. They become persuaded–especially by Cluster B persuasive blamers–to focus all their attention on other people’s alleged misbehavior. They help the HCP to avoid responsibility and hold others responsible for their own problems and behavior. They agree with and advocate for, the cognitive distortions of HCPs: their all-or-nothing thinking, emotional reasoning, personalizing events, exaggerating minor (or non-existent) events and minimizing their own major misbehaviors. Negative advocates help HCPs stay sick.
Negative advocates absorb the high-intensity emotions of the HCP and often enhance them to a higher level of urgency–they amplify their distorted thinking and join in generating emotional facts. They have adopted the HCP’s process of emotional reasoning. If family members, friends and professionals would become more skeptical and avoid becoming negative advocates, high-conflict disputes would significantly reduce the pressure on our legal system.
The HCP’s emotional drive persuades them there is a crisis, so the negative advocate picks up that sense of crisis and also becomes emotional and aggressive in defending the HCP. However, the negative advocate usually has more credibility, and therefore is more able to persuade others. It’s the domino theory of negative advocates. In some cases, negative advocates are able to persuade a lot of other people to become negative advocates.
Bill Eddy, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes, 2012
My initial plans consisted of just a part 2 but I realized it would be better if it was broken up into three parts. I will complete the trilogy with High Conflict People Part 3 soon. Estimated publish date: July 4th. In the meantime, I hope you will click on the above link and purchase one of my all time favorite books. It is money well-spent.
High Conflict People Part 1
High Conflict People Part 3