Excerpt: B.I.F.F.s for Politicians

February 20, 2012

ImagePoliticians are among those who use Blamespeak the most – because it works! In recent elections people have deplored the use of negative ads, yet they have been used more than ever. They grab your attention and make you concerned. While most politicians in the past were not high-conflict people, the times we live in seem to reinforce high-conflict politicians the most. In our highly competitive world of news, the most extreme behavior gets the most attention.

The effect of this trend will be more and more high-conflict politicians getting elected – and acting badly. Those who live by Blamespeak will often crash by Blamespeak – and we have seen many politicians getting pushed out of office for bad behavior. High-conflict people have predictable patterns of behavior – at least to those who pay attention to HCP dynamics.

HCPs in politics often start out by alleging to be heroes against evil villains – and all-or-nothing approach. “Elect me and I will eliminate the fraud and corruption of the prior government official.” The ones who say this the loudest are often the HCPs, because they rely on extreme emotions to hook in the electorate and often promise extreme solutions.

Government is a messy business, because it has to somehow deal with differences of opinions in ways that everyone can tolerate. Good politicians can get work done by managing these differences, with respect for everyone, including people who hold very opposite points of view. High-conflict politicians are less able to manage differences and resort to all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerated emotions and extreme solutions – which only they know how to accomplish! Beware!

This chapter includes two examples of possible B.I.F.F.s in response to real statements – one by a Democrat and one by a Republican. No names are mentioned, as the point is to practice how to respond, not how to judge or promote one party or another. There are plenty of HCPs in all parties, for the same reasons that there are plenty of HCPs in all the other settings described in this book: HCPs seem to be increasing in society and they are attracted to conflict where they can thrive.

HCPs make it look like there is a legal or political issue, but the “issue” is not the issue – their personality is the issue. Of course, I don’t know if anyone was an HCP in these scenarios and my facts are certainly not complete. I never met the people involved and there are always many points of view. What’s important here is the concepts of how to respond to political Blamespeak.

To read more, order your copy of B.I.F.F. Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Hostile Emails, Vicious Rumors, and Personal Attacks  by Bill Eddy Attorney, Mediator and Therapist


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