It is surprising to the opposing party or target how the High Conflict Personality (HCP) is able to win in court so much of the time. This is because Family Court is based on the Art of Persuasion. The party that is able to persuade the judge in to believing their story is the party that is going to prevail. People with Personality Disorders are extremely adept at the Art of Persuasion because they have had many years of practice. This puts them at the advantage.
The general way that people persuade one another is based on a variety of factors:
1. The attractiveness of the person
2. How aggressive they are
3. How confident they are
4. The number of arguments that they make
5. The intensity of their language
6. The use of smaller words and shorter sentences
7. Using distractions
8. Their relationship to the person that they are trying to persuade
9. Their emotional appeal
When it appears that the judge, in the case of Family Court, isn’t believing the HCPs case, they will switch gears and increase their emotional intensity. This is especially effective because HCPs often times lose grip of what the facts really are so they rely on emotions to get their case heard and believed. HCPs have developed highly effective skills in this area so they are more easily able to manipulate the presiding judge in to believing their version of the events.
People with HCPs are very good actors and Family Court is a giant stage for them. While the low conflict person is relying on calm truthful testimony to get the judge to believe their case, the HCP uses techniques like dramatic speech patterns, crying, body movements and non-stop talking to get their drama played out. Judges are drawn to these because they can identify with them. They are a part of interpersonal engagement. The dramatic presentation of the HCP is remembered a lot longer than the rational fact based presentation of a reasonable person.
HCPs may even engage in labeling the other parent using phrases like neglectful parent, deadbeat, abusive and unfit. These words may have nothing to do with the case or have facts to back up the words but if used repeatedly with emotion it sticks in the mind of the presiding judge.
Knowledge of HCPs and how they can manipulate people is the first step to understanding, identifying and stopping the behaviors of HCPs before and after entering the Family Court arena.