High conflict parents can’t seem to stop themselves. They are repeatedly told to behave, by counselors, lawyers and judges. Yet they keep behaving badly, and often behave worse. Why is this?

HCP parents are naturally defensive. They feel at war with the world. They take things personally, they over-react emotionally, and they often blame someone else for all of their problems – what I call their Target of Blame.

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In other words, “the issue’s not the issue.” You pick an issue, and they’ll take things personally, over-react emotionally, and blame their Target of Blame. You help them solve a problem, then there will be a new issue – which they’ll take personally, over-react emotionally, and blame their Target of Blame. The problem is their personality-based difficulty in resolving conflicts and solving problems.

High-conflict parents are not self-aware. They do not see the effect of their own behavior on others, including their children. It is as if they are blind. You can’t get them to see, even if you yell, say it softly, or give a long explanation. They just won’t get it, because they don’t have the ability to get it – yet.


About Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute. He developed the "High Conflict Personality" theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training on this subject to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, France and Sweden.

As an attorney, Bill is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law for six years and he is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College.

He is the author of numerous articles and several books.

Areas of Expertise: Mediation, Family Law, Workplace, Judicial Officers, Court Systems, Governmental Entities, Mental Health Professionals, New Ways for Families.


To view his book, “BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People,” visit this link:

To view his book, “Don’t Alienate the Kids!” Visit this site: