High Conflict Personalities and the Financial Neutral, Part 2


December, 2017

Nancy A Hetrick

Last week we discussed the characteristics of High Conflict Personalities, HCPs, and a quick tactic to manage the meetings. This week I’d like to explore your own emotions as a professional and how to best protect yourself so you can be most effective with your clients.

The reality of acting as a financial neutral is that you are still a human being with your own emotions, history, vulnerability, and hot buttons that can be triggered. HCPs are very skilled at quickly discovering your hot buttons so they can control the situation. Remember, at the core of every HCPs behavior is a motivation for control.

“The reality of acting as a financial neutral is that you are still a human being with your own emotions.”

If you tell an HCP to calm down, or you get defensive, it will only fuel them and intensify their state. Likewise, if they see anxiety, anger, or frustration on your face, even in a very subtle way, conflict can grow. So first, you must learn to override your OWN amygdala! The easiest way to do this is with some planned, rehearsed self-talk.

Planned, Rehearsed Self-Talk

1. It’s not about me. It’s about their difficulty managing themselves.

2. I don’t have to defend myself. I’m doing fine as I am. They can’t hear it now anyway.

3. I don’t have to feel what they’re feeling. I can have my own feelings.

4. I’m not responsible for their problems. I can be supportive without getting too involved.

“Shift them from all or nothing thinking to flexible thinking.”

Dance with Resistance

Another tool that Bill Eddy recommends is called the dance with resistance. There are 2 steps, empathize and restate, and educate on options. This pattern is used repeatedly no matter how ridiculous their proposals might sound, and they will! The goal of this is to shift them from all or nothing thinking to flexible thinking.

Once you’re armed with some basic skills to recognize HCPs, shift them to problem-solving, and controlling your own hot-button reactions, there’s no reason you can’t effectively help mediate a financial settlement for these clients.

For more information and further training, follow Bill Eddy at www.highconflictinstitute.com.

And for more advanced training on HCPs and acting as a financial neutral, consider enrolling in VELOCITY through the Divorce Financial Planner Training Center.


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