The Dance of Conflict
A verbal conflict occurs when two or more individuals do not agree. This is usually the surface issue, which hides the layers underneath. This desire for agreement is actually a desire for acceptance and when the acceptance does not occur, we feel rejection and activate a defensive response. Most people are afraid of something and feel pain when hearing certain words or phrases. These pains are usually from their past and can reactivate in conflict situations. An individual will choose words that are most painful and fearful to them when they are threatened. They will then use these same words to attack another. To put it another way, “The weapon a person fears most is the one they use to attack.”
This is a vital piece of information for anyone in conflict for it allows us to know what hurts another by what is used to attack. We now have a beautiful opportunity to understand another’s pain and decide how to proceed with the interaction. If it is our desire to hurt them, we know how and use the words and ideas that have hurt them in the past. If we choose to be kind, we would then avoid that which causes them so much pain and choose another path to continue the conversation in a positive manner.
We do not have to answer questions when asked. Some people try to bully others by asking multiple questions in rapid succession thereby attempting to badger another with their words and accusations. Instead of answering their questions, you might consider thanking them for bringing the information to your attention and then offer your assistance to them. This may sound sarcastic so you must be sincere in this activity.
There are times when people offer excuses for their behavior. A good principle to follow is “An excuse is never appropriate, and an explanation is only appropriate upon request.” You do not have to accept nor give an excuse. At times, we are motivated to ask a question such as “what were you thinking?” First, the person probably was not thinking, second you really do not want to know the answer and third it does not matter what they say, you still have to deal with the issue. Just address the consequences of the behavior without being concerned regarding their intent. The interaction will then stay professional and respectful without any negative judgment or attempt to interpret their intentions.
Copyright © 2016 Dr. MarcAndré Bock. All Rights Reserved.