March 16, 2018 • By Dennis Beaver
For anyone in the dating scene–high school, college, divorced or who has lost a spouse, please cast your vote for either (A) or (B):
(A) I want to be romantically involved with someone kind, caring, honest, pays their part of the restaurant tab, does not constantly blame or put me down, has a good relationship with friends and their own family, OR:
(B) A user, a con, twists the truth, a manipulator needing constant praise, jealous of me and my accomplishments, treats others as all good or all bad, emotional, aggressive, mistrustful, controlling, nasty to family members, creates conflict and steals from me my sense of who I am.
All those who chose (A) please raise your hands. Good. Now, those who selected (B) please step outside, and you’ll see two gentlemen in white coats who have a nice jacket (with no sleeves) for you to wear on your trip to Happy Acres Mental Hospital for People Who Keep on Finding Crazies to Date.
High conflict people have the power to do us real harm
How many times have you heard a friend say, “It seems that I am always picking the wrong kind of person to date?” Maybe you’ve even said this yourself, after coming out of a true nightmarish relationship. But what if you never allowed that first or second date to go any further?
Why is it that our internal radar – our gut feelings – which at some point say, ‘Trouble! Stay away!’ but we don’t listen? What explains this phenomenon, and is there a way to recognize those people who have the power to do us real harm emotionally and even physically?
Indeed, there is, and if ever there was a book that should be required reading at every high school, college, and given to people just divorced, who have lost a spouse, or come from a family where conflict was a daily occurrence, then “Dating Radar – Why Your Brain says Yes to ‘The One’ Who Will Make Your Life Hell,” is it.
The authors of “Dating Radar” have years of experience dealing with the damage caused by what they refer to as High Conflict People (HCP.)
Based in San Diego, they are family law attorney Bill Eddy and Megan Hunter, who spent years a family law specialist with the Administrative Office of the Arizona Supreme Court.
First few dates tell all if you are observant
So, how do you know if the person you are dating is an HCP, someone who goes from nice to nasty, and in a truly evil manner? What behaviors reveal that you are dating someone who, as Hunter puts it, “Follows the same script their entire life, first charming their victim and then creating more misery than they ever could dream possible.”
Eddy describes an HCP, emphasizing, “This is not a diagnosis. It’s a description of high-conflict patterns of behavior, and there is considerable overlap with people who have true mental health diagnoses, including narcissists, sociopaths, borderline personality, histrionic behavior and paranoia. But you can be an HCP without having true mental illness.
“These people are rigid, uncompromising, repeat failed strategies, refuse to accept a loss, and negative emotions control their thinking. They cannot examine their own behavior, are unable to empathize with others and constantly blame everyone while refusing to accept any responsibility for problems which they often have caused.”
That description of a High Conflict Person should cause anyone who gets involved with one to ask themselves “Why am I with this head case?” But wait. It gets worse.
Hunter says that, “About 10 percent of the U.S. population has a high-conflict personality, and the chances are good, Dennis, that some of your readers will see they are in or have had a relationship with an HCP.” She lists characteristics an HCP reveals as early as the first date, pointing out they are:
(1) Overly charming, try to sell themselves, put on an amazing performance,
attempt to get too close, too soon. If you describe the person to others as
“Extremely charming,” this is a huge red flag to explore!
(2) Are often described as “Too-good-to-be-true.”
(3) Want to get sexual or sensual very quickly.
(4) Are overly compatible, like everything you like and go out of their way to please you. Victims state, “I never met someone who had all the same interests I had and did everything she could to please me! At first it was fabulous, and then the real person showed her face and it was pure evil!”
(5) Talk or reveal too much about themselves.
If any of this sounds familiar, to discover how to protect yourself or get away from an HCP, then “Dating Radar” will be the most valuable book you ever read.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.