12 Signs You're A High-Conflict Personality (And The Problem Is YOU, Not Him)

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serious woman

The other day, I was at the store when I witnessed a woman make a scene over something insanely foolish. All dolled up in her yoga pants and Lululemon jacket, she called over someone behind the counter of the nearby florist aisle and squawked, “Can I talk to your manager?”

Since I was legit just looking at vegetables at this point, I decided that this might be interesting to watch. Maybe she found some rotten fruit I should know about? The manager, a poor teenaged boy, came to the front and asked her what’s wrong.

“The price of this fish is not acceptable. I want it lowered,” she said, in full seriousness.

“The price can’t be negotiated. It’s store policy, ma’am,” he said apologetically.

“Don’t ‘ma’am’ me. You’re insinuating I’m old. Who the hell do you think you are? You overcharge for fish, and now you insult your customers?” she said, raising her voice.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t change the prices. It’s corporate policy,” he said, gesturing her to keep her voice down.

“Well, do something, right now, before I CALL CORPORATE,” she barked.

The dude looked like he was about to cry. At this point, a guy had to step in and tell her that she can go to another store if the prices were so unacceptable. She huffed, turned beet red, and left, her cart still in the aisle. People around us exchanged glances uncomfortably.

Ladies and gentleman, this is what a high conflict personality can look like. People who have these kinds of personalities aren’t popular, even if they think they are. They aren’t liked because no one wants to be around a bully who will browbeat them until they get their way. The way most people deal with them is to roll over and then avoid them.

A lot of people who are high conflict personalities know that there’s something wrong with the way that they’re handling problems. They may think it’s just an anger issue, or that they are just constantly wronged by society.

People who have high conflict personalities actively go out of their way to bully, browbeat, and pick fights with others, often because it makes them feel better about themselves.

The truth is that there’s a chance that you may be a high conflict personality, and that you might need to look into professional help in order to have normal relationships. If you notice any of these signs, you may want to think about how you’re living life and the impact that your love of conflict could be leaving on friends, family, and lovers.

1. You pick fights with people for no good reason.

Stop doing this. No one wants to be around people who pick fights with them. If you know you’re doing this, then you already probably have a suspicion that you might have a high conflict personality. Just saying, this should be confirmation for you.

2. If you were honest about yourself, your love of getting in a fight isn’t about actually getting anything good  it’s about winning over another person.

This is really what it boils down to for a lot of people who have this personality issue. There are plenty of healthier, kinder ways to feel the thrill of winning. Have you tried racing? Boxing? Muay Thai? You can win without alienating people.

3. Your friendships seem to be short-lived.

The problem with being a high conflict person is that your friendships suffer because your friends will eventually be worried about your wrath. The end result is that, after a fight or ten, people end up distancing themselves from you.

4. You have a major queen bee streak in you.

If you are a high conflict personality who is socially adept, you might end up turning into a real-life Regina George. In these cases, you may have a stranglehold on your friends, but you definitely don’t have real friends. After all, real friends don’t fear one another, use each other, or feel like they can’t be real with one another.

5. People have called you a bully before a lot, actually.

Though it’s somewhat rare, there are people out there who will call out high conflict personalities on their bad behavior. If you regularly have both men and women call you a bully, tell you that your behavior is uncalled for, or tell you that you’re really aggressive, then you need to take a good look at yourself.

6. You’ve been banned from restaurants, bars, salons, or grocery stores.

Generally speaking, these are places that you can only really get banned from if you make a scene, start a physical fight, or do some really atrocious stuff. If you have been banned from a number of places, you definitely need to rethink the way you do things.

7. You’ve given people you don’t even know attitude over little things like pushing your shopping cart an inch away from you or walking too slow.

At this point, you either are trying to just actively ruin someone’s day, lack self-awareness or are looking to pick a fight. Stop being a jerk and check yourself.  

8. You expect to be treated preferentially, and bully others if they don’t bend to your wishes.

This is also a sign that you may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but the fact is that it also tends to coincide with high conflict personalities, too.

9. Your kids, parents, or spouse have told you that you’re being abusive and have cut off ties with you as a result.

If it’s gotten to the point that your own family no longer wants to speak to you, a high conflict personality is only the tip of the iceberg. This is one of those points in your life that you need to take a step back and look at yourself, what you did, and why you did it. Otherwise, you won’t have anyone left to turn to.

10. People have told you that you’ve got a hair-trigger temper.

If it gets to the point that people actually say you’re famous for your temper or your aggression, chances are that it’s a problem you need to confront. Being a hothead isn’t cool, no matter what you think you get out of it.

11. You’ve actually faced legal or financial repercussions as a result of your arguments, threats, and temper.

This could be a sign that you have anger problems, a personality disorder, or a very conflict-prone personality. Either way, it’s something that should tell you that you might need professional help.

12. You’ve noticed that people are very unwilling to introduce you to their friends, and have said this is the case because they “don’t know how you’d get along with them.

Though there could be other reasons for this, one of the most common reasons that people would be so worried about introducing you to others is because they’re worried you’ll start arguing with their friends. Needless to say, high conflict personalities tend to have a hard time networking as a result.