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High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped

Published Tuesday Sep 28, 2021

Author Terri Schlichenmeyer of The Bookworm Sez

“High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out”
by Amanda Ripley
2021/Simon & Schuster
$28/353 pages

Everybody seems to have an opinion they’re not about to budge an inch on, which, says Amanda Ripley in her new book, is high conflict, and being stuck is one of its hallmarks.

While small disagreements move us forward and “good conflict” is healthy, when we settle firmly into an us/them, “good-versus-evil kind of feud,” it becomes high conflict, which isn’t good, physically and emotionally.

The first thing to do to minimize high conflict is to make everyone understand that entrenching so deeply in an argument won’t change minds, and it won’t make things better. In fact, it might make things worse.

In conflict, both parties must learn to listen and loop, which tells a speaker that they’re truly being heard. Always offer more than two choices. Know the accelerants in high conflict and how to spot the conflict entrepreneurs who love a good feud.

And, in conflict, try to really know the other person. Studies show that if you kind of like each other, it’s harder to dig in your heels.

Like a lot of people lately, you’ve looked around and shaken your head. This “them-versus-us” entrenchment is everywhere and “High Conflict” can help end it in your sphere.

Ripley hits readers with powerful real-life stories to illustrate high conflict when it’s out of control, particularly showing how the spiral began. Those tales read like a postmortem on a disaster: it’s plain to see how the process is generally unique in its various outsets, but it’s remarkably similar in its progress. And it’s end-able, at least on a small scale.

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