Let’s Talk Conflict
How often do we enter an interpersonal or intrapersonal conflict? Regardless of where it happens, I would say that the four main categories are Relational, Task Related, Process Related, or Status related. We try to live our lives free of conflict because it is challenging to cope with it when we lack the skills. The hardest type of conflict for me is relational. The relational conflict for me is when you are lacking the honesty, support, understanding, or confidence to tell someone what you feel for the fear of rejection or anger. Task oriented is when we argue with our husband, boyfriend, friend, or family member about what way something should be done. We are completely annoyed by their actions because we have a certain way of doing things. Process conflicts are conflicts of how something should be done. This is a manner of doing the dishes to running a company or a storefront. Status can be anything from jealousy to the extreme of who is in charge. It is as common in adults as it is in children. A different way of looking at this is man/women vs people, self, nature, and society.
I recently was in a situation with a friend that caused her to react very negatively to me because I did not want to participate in her lifestyle. My idea was instead of saying no to the conflict and explaining my side, I feared she would not listen to me so I ended up avoiding the conflict. This only ended up driving a deeper wedge and frustrating that person. I ended up thinking of the ways that I had done this in my past. I neglect to tell people my real feelings to save face. I know that that is not the proper way to deal with conflict. So I did some research: How do I tell this person that I do not want to do something? I also googled, “Why do I keep saying yes to things I hate?” Most likely it is because we want to avoid a specific conflict in our life.
Like any type of conflict you have the choice here on what you are going to do about it. So you can use your logical self to investigate what you need to do, check yourself before you try and decide. We can choose to absolutely do nothing, we can cool off and come back to the issue, we can address is passive aggressively, or we can choose to end that relationship. These are broad spectrum ideas of what we can do. When we have personal connections to our conflict deep in our emotions we are going to struggle with that. We want to appease all sides of the issue, sometimes we do not consider our own feelings. This will cause you feel like your identity is shaky.
What may have started as a small disagreement can easily grow into something large if we do not de-escalate the scenario. Stop yourself from personifying the conflict do not blame the other person for not having your exact feelings. It is easy for me to expand a problem by bringing up the times they had done things in the past. It only causes me to get angry and the other person to get defensive. When I am upset sometimes I use outright hostility to get others away from me. “I hate you- Do not leave me.” This is the type of thing that does the most damage for me.
Make sure that when you are in a relational conflict that you set your feelings aside to better understand the person who you are in conflict with. This can more easily defuse the situation and create a more calm atmosphere in which to discuss the hurts you BOTH are feeling.
Task Related Conflict
Time management and tasks are very interrelated. We can see that when we look at what we need to get done in a partnership, relationship, work, or any other thing you are doing with people. We will disagree on what should be done. When we have a work conflict and our boss is consistently making mistakes and blaming others, or a co-worker neglects his or her work how should we respond? Instead of becoming a rumor mill why not go directly to that person? Another co-worker may disagree for fear of being a subordinate to the manager or owner. Though saying nothing could draw in more unchanged issues that would further cause harm. In my mind leadership and conflict resolution, both have to do with taking hard steps to get to the bottom of things so that there is a clear path to solving that issue. Rather than trying to step on egg shells. It makes for a very hard relationship or work environment.
Process Related Conflict
We are all going to disagree on what certain things should be done. We will want the television wide screen with subtitles or full screen with no subtitles. Though we all have preferences sometimes that makes us angry when we do not meet those specific qualifications for ourselves. It can also have a deep effect on a working environment. When someone is told to do something a certain way but they lack the ability to do it themselves that way. For instance, your boss says, “Place these items alphabetically.” Then that person goes and messes up your freshly alphabetized information just simply due to time. They neglect to see the hard work you put into it based on the way they wanted something to be done in a certain way. This sort of disagreement can be easily changed with simply voicing your opinion respectfully to the other person and using a phrase that points out partnership over personification of the issue.
Status Related Conflict
Who is in charge? How do we deal with people in charge? This type of conflict should be understood clearly in working environments or volunteer environments. When the status is unclear it muddies up who is responsible for the downfall of the company. Good leaders understand that when there is something occurring that is neglection, fighting, issues of process or tasks, the leader is in charge of trying to make amends and clear a passage to resolution. When this is neglected that leader begins to fail. I also notice that this occurs in relationships as well. When we are with a passive spouse, pastor, or leader. That passivity creates a debt where there should be something.
What Do We Do?
To help deal with these conflicts we can try to develop a relationship with a counselor or someone that you to help you work through issues. This can be a long ongoing relationship that you can find solstice in. Also asking advice from people who you love or know have been in a similar issue would work well. I think that asking people who know both of the people or groups involved would give a well-balanced advice. Always take the time to back away from the conflict and set your mind on the resolution. This allows you to calm down and not be explosive.
When we are in healthy relationships we have the support of mutual respect in all parties. We know that we can trust our opinions to be heard, maybe not exactly agreed upon but at least respectfully heard. We can also choose to have accountability for the things that we do wrong. This is a huge thing it allows us to be held accountable for our transgressions that cause us to be in conflict. We also want to have safety and support which causes us to be able to freely voice what is in our minds and hearts. When we have the support to share and are encouraged things that are slowly becoming a bother can be alleviated or more understood. Cooperation within any relationship is the thing that matters the most. You want to always have that part in relationships so that you are continually growing.
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