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Mutuality in Interpersonal Conflict

When we are in conflict, our experience of it is not something we are always able to articulate. What is really going on for us, to what we are reacting, what we are attributing to ‘the other person’ and so on are often clouded with our emotional responses. Similarly and probably to an even greater degree, we do not have a full sense about where the other person is coming from. We hear their perspective through a lens that is foggy with our own viewpoints, feelings and confusion. Mutuality in conflict refers to the ability to not only gain a clear understanding on our own perspective on a matter. It also means gaining an understanding of the other person’s, to whatever extent possible.

If we take some time to consider what is happening for ourselves and the other person, there is more likelihood that there will be the sort of connection that helps us both be heard and understood. Please consider a previous dispute that has puzzled you about what was going on between you and the other person as you consider whether these ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) help develop mutuality:

  • How would you describe what you and the other person disagreed upon in that situation? How would the other person describe what you disagreed on?
  • What did the other person say or do that particularly provoked you?
  • What did you say or do that may have stood in the way of the other person being able to hear you and understand you?
  • What did you expect from the other person?
  • What do you think the other person may have expected from you?
  • What don’t you know about the other person’s perspective? What doesn’t the other person know about your perspective on this situation?
  • What would you say you both agree on?
  • What would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
  • What may be threatening, uncomfortable or concerning for you to engage the other person in a conversation to better understand what happened and to make amends if you want to? How about for him or her?
  • If you want things between you to be resolved in a mutually satisfactory way, what would that be and how may you facilitate that?

Please feel free to share any comments about this topic. If you want to add other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) that inspire mutuality please do so.

© CINERGY® Coaching, June 2011

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