A relationship manual intended to help the unwary avoid the land mines that litter the dating landscape.
Eddy (It’s All Your Fault!, 2012) and Hunter (Bait & Switch, 2015) collaborate in this dating survival guide that consists of one-tenth hope and nine-tenths somber warnings. Specifically, they focus on what they term “high-conflict people” (or “HCPs”), who “tend toward all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, extreme behaviors or threats, and blaming others.” The bulk of the book is devoted to helping readers identify HCPs, preferably before any deep emotional or financial commitments have been made. “Many of us have blinders on when it comes to love,” the authors write, and their advice is intended to remove those blinders by asking simple, straightforward questions and identifying various types of HCPs, including the “Narcissistic HCP,” the “Histrionic HCP,” and even the “Antisocial (Sociopathic) HCP.” Using lightly fictionalized stories as cases in point, Eddy and Hunter effectively lead readers through a labyrinth of conflict-addicted individuals, most of whom actively try to hide their natures using techniques that the authors lay out in clinical detail. Indeed, readers are never for a moment allowed to let their guards down: “HCPs thrive when they are able to control their fears,” readers are told in a representative passage. “How do they do this? They use you!” The authors further complicate the picture with biomedical factors such as bipolar disorder, chemical addiction, and PTSD. Overall, Eddy and Hunter offer a very frank discussion of the ways that readers make themselves vulnerable by intentionally refusing to think clearly about their own blind spots. Much of the advice in this book may strike readers as simple common sense, such as that people should wait a while before committing to serious sexual relationships, for instance, and that they should beware of people who curse at them. But taken with a grain of salt, it all makes for an intriguing cautionary tale.
A thorough, if sometimes thoroughly cynical, account of the perils of forming relationships with those who thrive on drama.