Someone with a high conflict personality can be nice at times but aggravating more often than not.

There are certain friends and family members whom you have to distance yourself from as they simply stress you out. If you notice your blood boiling whenever you spend too much time with a particular person, chances are that YOU are not the problem. If you are a typically calm person, yet, you feel stressed or angry around one person, they may be high conflict.

Here are seven unfortunate signs that you are dealing with a high conflict personality.

1. Loud voice

Some people are just loud talkers in general, but when someone raises their voice to a yell multiple times a day, they are probably bad news. Whether screaming to achieve a dramatic effect or getting heated too easily and starting arguments, these people add stress and conflict to any situation.

2. Opinions on EVERYTHING

It’s okay to be opinionated, but someone with a high conflict personality goes a little too far. These people have opinions on everything from how you should style your hair to how you should hold a pen.

Moreover, much of the time, these opinions can lead to negative criticism, which, in turn, raises the opportunity for argument and conflict.

3. Very picky

High conflict people will often be picky about everything from the food they eat to the overall lifestyle that they live. These people can’t rough it and go camping or handle trying something new.

When spending time with picky people, you always feel like you need to make sure that they are happy. This is stressful and should not be your job. Eventually, when others get frustrated with this bad attitude, fights tend to break out.

4. Too defensive

If someone is always defending themselves when they clearly don’t need to be, they likely have a high conflict personality.

Highly defensive people take everything very personally and turn neutral comments into attacks. You have to walk on eggshells around these types of people because it’s just easier to keep them happy rather than deal with them.

5. Always right

It’s always nice to be right, but those with high conflict personalities have got to be right all the time unless you want to watch them make a scene.

If someone with a high conflict personality does kind of admit to being wrong, they will be sure to blame others in the process. It’s not their fault that they weren’t right this one time, as someone clearly gave them the wrong information or tricked them into being wrong somehow.

6. They seem too extreme

High conflict personalities will both act and think in extreme ways. Something little always seems like a big deal to them and they are constantly stressing others out by blowing things out of proportion. 

When you tell them that something is not a big deal, it only gets worse. They will do everything they think of to emulate how big of a deal is to them, whether it includes yelling, crying or saying hurtful things.

7. Go big or go home

Go big or go home is a phrase that a high conflict person will take all too seriously. When they react to something, they do so dramatically. If they don’t win the contest, they may as well have gotten the last place. This type of behavior is very difficult to stay sane around, and needless to say, it raises conflict left and right.

If these seven things are something you see in a person you know, this person has a high conflict personality. It is important to know that you are not the one to be blamed. If you need to distance yourself for sanity’s sake, don’t feel horribly guilty. Sometimes that is simply what needs to happen.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. divine spirit

    It’s called bi-polar…peace

  2. Dave

    Its not Bipolar, its comes form a person who has been around negativity and/or agression all their lives. Weirdly enough I like those types just not always sure how to deal with them and its draining. what we need is a how to deal with them approach.

  3. Rick

    It’s not called bipolar ,there called sad, drama queens who
    Look for petty conflicts, very sad indeed.

  4. Kendra

    I live with a lady that has all of these traits. I have nowhere else to live right now so trying to find ways to deal with her issues is important. Everyday is a struggle. I mostly try to ignore her and the other night I literally had to just run out the door and go hang out with the neighbors for a few hours because she was trying to start drama and problems out of thin air. Starting conflicts seems to make her happy and it’s sickening. She doesn’t like that I won’t engage in her weird dramatic overly emotional games but it also helps tremendously to tell her I’m not going to talk to her or be around her if that’s what she’s going to do and if I’m not there physically or involved in the conversation she cannot keep going. It’s really tough dealing with these people because they feed off negativity and conflict.

  5. Ella

    How do you learn to live a healthy life if you are a child who was raised by parents that appear to be High Conflict individuals? I am really struggling with this – with my sense of self, with guilt, with feeling responsible, with feeling a need to “fix” all my family’s problems. Growing up in a family like that made me feel worthless, and “bad”.

    My mother has Bipolar, but I did not know this as a kid. My parents refused – and still refuse – to be open about my mother’s illness. So, I found out because I was bullied at school – everyone at the school I went to knew about my mother’s illness, and thought it fun to laugh at me for it and to make nasty remarks. However, I was not allowed to talk about this at home. If I even so much as tried to ask anything, my parents got defensive and aggressive. PUT SIMPLY, YOU DO NOT TALK IN MY FAMILY ABOUT THINGS MAY PARENTS DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT.

    I feel that my father was the high-conflict one. In public, he was “Mr Nice Guy” – he displayed a fake persona which was centred around being a businessman, a Freemason, wealthy, successful, and a “good father”. He would not let anything tarnish this image, so at home, behind closed doors, another side of him surfaced. He needed control at all times. I often thought he had OCD! He could not stand dirt, so he would obsessively take cans out of the kitchen cupboards, and wipe everything down (even on top of the cupboards, where nobody could see!). The house had to be Spartan, white and minimalist – no pictures on the walls, or ornaments to catch dust! Everything was lined up precisely, even photo frames. He refused to have anything old, antique or second-hand in the house (even heirlooms) because in his eyes new was cleaner and better!

    My father had a loud voice and sharp temper. All I recall of “communication” when I lived at home as a kid was shouting. He shouted at my mum, she shouted at him. Both shouted at the kids. We (the kids) unfortunately ended up shouting back. It felt constantly like a war zone in which you always had to defend yourself. Or else go into hiding.

    My parents obsessed about image, and performance. I was expected always to present myself in a way that made THEM look good! So, top grades at school – expected and demanded. Immaculate appearance – ditto. They worried interminably “what the neighbours might say”! When I became a teen, I got into rock music and my father in particular HATED my clothes and music. So it was screaming and yelling at me all the time. Threats. Groundings. Lectures. Not live-and-let-live. He also dictated my life course, telling me that English (which is what I loved, did well in, and wanted to study at University) was “piss assed” (his words) and “won’t get you a proper job”! What his idea of a “proper job” was, I shall never know, because he spent next to no time with me, and showed no interest in me.

    My hobbies and interests were all stopped when I was about 9 or 10, because my parents claimed there was no money for them. But my younger brother – a boy, and my father’s clear favourite – got to have hobbies. Every weekend my parents took him to cricket matches, or other “masculine” sports. They must have spent a fortune on cricket kit, football kit, match tickets and transport. I reckon the reason for this was because my father liked football and cricket, too, so he condoned my brother’s hobbies. By contrast, I had enjoyed ballet and horse-riding, which my father had NO interest in whatsoever. It felt like, really, the reason my brother got to keep his hobbies is because they were my father’s hobbies too! I ended up becoming a “tomboy” just so that I could get time with my father, who it felt otherwise would exclude me completely.

    I noted the favouritism. My brother was into rock music too. He had a loud electric guitar. He had long hair. He wore leather jackets, and Dr marten boots. HE NEVER ONCE GOT TOLD OFF FOR IT. By contrast, my parents moaned at me all the time. My brother never did household chores. By contrast, it was taken for granted that I did cleaning, dusting, washing and ironing. I even used to clean my lazy brother’s room for him. If I put loud music on my parents would shout at me. If my brother did it – no problem.

    MY father seems to have had issues with me in so many ways. I cannot understand his insistence that I got good grades and went to University, because after I got my Degree, he started commenting nastily about University. He has accused me of being “stuck up” for doing postgraduate study! So, it feels like even when I do something that HE told me to do, it is wrong. And I get punished! By contrast, my brother failed TWICE at University. He started on two different Degree courses at 2 different Universities, and dropped out BOTH times. My father never comments on this, except to make excuses for my brother. But since he failed, he has been treated even more as the favourite. HE never gets called names, or told he is “stuck up”, or accused of things that he did not do. My brother gets endless support, and constant excuses made on his behalf by my parents.

    The worst part is that it feels my father actively tried to sabotage my life. I recall that as a kid, I used to get home from school and start my homework. My father then got home from work, and would turf me unceremoniously out of my seat at the kitchen table, and put the radio on really loud. He did not seem to care that I had nowhere to finish my homework. Instead he would scream at my mother for his dinner. If my mother, or I, told him I needed to do my homework, or asked him to make space for me, or to turn the radio down then he would yell and swear at the top of his voice. “This is MY house”, he would scream, and turn the radio up even louder. I might start begging him to let me finish my homework, or I might cry. My mother might join in asking him to turn the radio down. He would just scream and shout louder, turn the radio up louder, and even make threats to me like “If you don’t shut up, you’ll get a good hiding”. This is a man who hit and slapped me on numerous occasions.

    He threatened to throw me out of the house and cut me off financially while I was at University. This is because I was unhappy with what I was studying (a course chosen for me by family), and phoned my parents to say I was thinking of changing Degree course. My father’s behaviour was extreme, and felt punitive and insensitive. I felt like his possession, not a human daughter. I was constantly flitting between emotions, feeling scared of him, trying to assert myself, feeling guilty for rebelling, fearing him again because I had refused to concede to his demands. And underneath all this was a feeling of absolute confusion because nothing was consistent. He gave mixed messages – did he expect me to do well at school, or fail? Did he want a tomboy, or a girlie girl? Was he happy I got a place at University, or mad about it? Did he recognise that I helped about the house, or did he just expect me to do it? Did he hate me for being a girl? Had he always preferred boys? If I changed to be more what he wanted would he care more? Why should I have to change? THIS is how I felt around him ALL the time. And the biggest, most upsetting thing I felt around him was this…

    WHY are y family hiding my mother’s mental illness from me when I actually know about it? WHY am I being bullied at school because of my mother’s Bipolar, and my parents refuse to step in, or even acknowledge this? WHY do my parents shout at me when I try to ask questions? WHY do they appear to blame me because my mother is ill? WHY do they seem to treat me like I have some role to play in “fixing” my mother?

    After I left home as an adult, my parents still refused to talk with me about the above. Yet every time my mother had a mental episode, my father would contact me in a panic, expecting advice and support (which he usually ignored anyhow). But after the event was over, he talked like it had never even happened. He never thanked me for my assistance. He refused to let me ask questions or discuss what had gone on.

    Is THIS what a HCP looks like? Can parents be HCP? If so, then how does the child learn to recognise and cope with this? Especially if outside support is non-existent because nobody sees that one or other parent is a HCP? This family dynamic was so unhealthy, and I feel scarred by it for life. I feel like it affected my confidence, and how I saw myself. It has turned me into a person who worries all the time about others, who is a constant people-pleaser, and puts other people always first. I constantly feel concern about others’ welfare, and worry that they are not ok. I am terrified of saying no and of letting people down. I always feel guilty and “bad” if I do something for me, or want something that is about me. Everyone about me makes me feel that if I spend time on me, I am being “selfish”. Even though I realise this is MY life, I feel guilty because my parents make me feel that I have failed them by not doing tings the way they wanted, or living the life they wanted.

    Do people understand that some children grow up wit parents like this, and that the result is a confused, hurt adult who feels terrified of letting others down? An adult who has rarely, if ever, been allowed to live his or her own life?

    Do people understand that often, parents who are like this behind closed doors make sure that to the outside world they appear “nice” people? That they publicly blame the child? That they say and do all the right things to make them look “not guilty”, whilst saying things about the child that attempt to make the child look “bad”? I am asking this as an adult, because I could NOT as a child.

    As an adult, I can ask WHY it is that my parents made me get high grades, then never rewarded or praised e for it? Why they demanded that I go to University, but then said it was “stuck up”? I can ask WHAT is the harm in wearing Dr Marten boots, or listening to rock music? I can ask WHY other kids did it, and THEIR parents did not criticise.

    Sorry if this was a long post, but there is so much in my family background. So much that was not recognised by others.

    1. sam

      Ella -your father is a not only a High Conflict Personality but a Narcissist and you are the family scapegoat and your brother the golden child

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