How toxic people wage emotional warfare on others

Expect emotional warfare where there are high-conflict people.

BILLY EDDY: So high-conflict emotional warfare is something that I've slowly learned And realized exists everywhere That there are high-conflict people. This can be in families. This can be at the workplace. It can be in community and volunteer organizations. So here's how high-conflict emotional warfare works. There's four parts to it. First, the high-conflict person seduces somebody. And it may be one person or several people in an organization. And they tell them what they want to hear. And so they say, I agree with you. We're a team on this problem. And then they attack a target of blame. And so it's seduction and then somebody over there.

It's us against that person or those people. And everyone's familiar with this. In families, workplace, community — there's people you can really — oh, yeah, they're doing that. They're seducing this person and attacking that person. And then they divide the community by doing that. They get other people that agree with them to attack the people they're attacking. And in mental health terms, it's called splitting, where you split people into all good and all bad. And splitting is associated with borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. People honestly see the world in these all-good, all-bad ways. But it's contagious. And so they tell half the people, you're wonderful, and half people-- you're terrible. And those people start fighting each other.

And while they're fighting each other, the high-conflict person gets to dominate the community. So I'm calling this the community. It could be the family. It could be the workplace. It could be a neighborhood. It could be a volunteer group. It could be an athletic group. It could be a music group. We see this in all areas of life, when there's a high-conflict person. And we're seeing it more and more in politics. And so they divide and dominate that way, at the highest levels-- even smaller cities, states, et cetera — school boards, homeowners associations. But this process of high-conflict emotional warfare-- they attack people that usually are left alone — people close to them. And that's contagious.

  • High-conflict emotional warfare exists everywhere there are high-conflict people.
  • Their strategy is usually to get other people to agree with them on attacking someone else. In mental health terms, this is called "splitting," where you split people into all good and all bad. Splitting is linked to borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.
  • High-conflict people dominate by sowing division, at all levels of society — from school boards to state governments.

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.

Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

Credit: sakkmesterke
Surprising Science
  • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
  • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
  • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Keep reading Show less

Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.

Keep reading Show less

We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Sex & Relationships

If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

Keep reading Show less

Should you grow a beard? Here's how women perceive bearded men

Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"

Photo Credit: Frank Marino / Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
  • Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
  • Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Keep reading Show less

Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting

17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Coronavirus

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts between religious freedom and public health regulations have been playing out in courts around the world.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast