A Mirror to Ourselves: Understanding High-Conflict Personalities in Survival-based Contexts

A Mirror to Ourselves: Understanding High-Conflict Personalities in Survival-based Contexts

February 19, 20242 min read

High conflict personality.

We all know them, and some of us love them.

Some of us have been driven to reading as much as we can to make sense of what is happening in our interpersonal landscape when we are around high-conflict personalities.

What are the two central themes of this personality?

  1. Emotional Tides: When with or around the orbit of this person, there is a rise and fall of emotions in quick succession, which can feel overwhelming and unpredictable.

  2. Inward-Focused Conduct: This trait is characterized by a strong focus on the inside and the self.  More than often,  disregarding or minimizing the needs and feelings of others.

Now let's surf the outsides of the DSM labeling and psychopathology - the use of a manual can conveniently assign labels to a set of behaviors, sometimes completely disregarding the context.

Specifically when we talk about a survival-focused family or work system, we are talking about a very high-stakes environment, where every day can feel like a battle for survival. When we have nervous systems that have to stay in these types of situations, some of these traits can be essential for the survival of self - and hence the survival of the whole.

However, sometimes we get stuck in those patterns, long after the survival need has been met - i.e. there are economic, and social safety nets now and the need for hypervigilance is reduced and sometimes the nervous system needs helps to facilitate this return to safety and connection and "stand down" from these high-conflict adaptive survival behaviors.

Are you curious about this personality? You do not have to guess. Here, download our assessment here - https://www.sangparth.com/highconflict-download

We encourage you to take it twice, once with you in mind, and the other with the high-conflict person in your life in mind.

The good news is, it is possible to "keep our sanity" around these personalities without becoming doormats, through the power of nervous system regulation. What if you find yourself displaying these traits? Again, with the amazing power of neuroplasticity, it is possible to help the body feel safe and connected.

If this resonates, let's talk, you can reach out to me here: https://www.sangparth.com/contact

nervous systemhigh conflict personalitysurvival
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Sangheetha Parthasarathy

CEO, Sangparth |Neuroscience| MIT-Harvard Med School Innovation Bootcamp | Ex-Accenture | Top 100 Global HC leaders | Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

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