Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., and Donald Saposnek, PhD
Something nasty is happening in American politics. You'd have to be in hibernation to be unaware of the bullying, incivility, and disrespect going on. Splitting America is a warning to voters and politicians that current polarizations risks long-term harm to our nation. This book compares the same five traits of high-conflict divorces to today’s politics. It generally includes:
• Personal Attacks (calling the other person crazy, stupid, immoral or evil)
• Crisis Emotions (which trigger fear and hatred of each other)
• All-or-Nothing Solutions (which call for the elimination or exclusion of the “other”)
• Narcissistic Behavior (acting superior and not caring about anyone else)
• Negative Advocates (constantly recruiting others to join in this hostility)
We are well-acquainted with this pattern in high-conflict divorces, and it’s not good. This behavior is called “high-conflict” because it increases the conflict, rather than reducing or resolving it. Worst of all, it’s contagious—it spreads when people are exposed to it, like a virus. We are now concerned that this behavior is spreading into politics at all levels and that's why we've written Splitting America: How Politicians, Super PACS, and the News Media Mirror High-Conflict Divorce.
Political leaders appear to be adopting and escalating high-conflict behavior, and perhaps, even leading it. Millionaires and billionaires are funding expensive ads as key elements in high-conflict election campaigns. And, the news promotes high-conflict behavior in every broadcast – to children as well as to adults – by relentlessly showing, and thereby teaching, the most dramatic bad behavior of the day.
Even worse, politicians, donors to Super PACs and the news media don’t seem to realize how destructive and self-destructive this escalation of high-conflict behavior can be. Splitting America warns them and the rest of the nation about the dead-end nature of this unrestrained behavior that knows no limits.
We have seen splitting destroy too many families, and we don’t want to see it destroy the American family. We want to avoid a high-conflict political divorce. In approaching these problems, it’s not about pointing fingers and deciding who is more at fault. It’s about everyone taking responsibility for his or her own behavior, and managing collaborative relationships, even when we disagree.
Analyze your favorite leaders before you vote with the High-Conflict Politician Score Card included in the book and decide for yourself if they would be a good leader or not.
Publication date: 2012
Authors: Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. and Don Saposnek, PhD
ISBN (print): 978-1-936268-09-2
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-936268-53-5
Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute. He developed the “High Conflict Personality” theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training on this subject to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, France and Sweden.
As an attorney, Bill is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law for six years and he is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College. He is the author of numerous articles and several books.
He is also the developer of the “New Ways for Families” method of managing potentially high conflict families in and out of family court. He is currently developing a method for managing potentially high conflict employees titled “New Ways for Work.”
Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. is a clinical-child psychologist, child custody mediator and family therapist in private practice for over 40 years, and is a national and international trainer of mediation and child development. For the past 35 years, he has been teaching on the psychology faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He is the author of the classic book, Mediating Child Custody Disputes and has published extensively in the professional literature on child custody and child psychology. He serves on the editorial boards of the Family Court Review and Conflict Resolution Quarterly journals and is the editor of the international Academy of Professional Family Mediators’ The Professional Family Mediator. As director of Family Mediation Service of Santa Cruz, he managed the family court services for 17 years and has mediated nearly 5,000 child custody disputes in both the public and private sectors since 1977. For more information about Don Saposnek, please visit: www.mediate.com/dsaposnek.