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.

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