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Post-Interpersonal Conflict Agony

Something that happens to many of us in the aftermath of interpersonal conflict is a tendency to agonize about what happened. We may criticize ourselves – wishing we had said something else or differently. We may blame the other person and not let go of our feelings about him or her. We may continue to ruminate about unresolved hurts and issues. We may make the situation bigger than it was, or try to minimize it while still experiencing a huge impact that we try to supress.

These types of post-conflict responses and others that occur have many layers to them and at times they may even demonstrate a need to continue the pain. In any case, lingering agony keeps us from moving on and often contributes to building grudges and repeating behaviours we don’t like about ourselves. The sorts of conflict mastery questions that follow help to think out this tendency to agonize in the aftermath of conflict.

  • If you agonize after a conflict, what sorts of things are going through your mind? (Consider three situations when you have continued to ruminate when answering this question.)
  • What emotions do you experience when you respond in these ways?
  • What patterns do you see if any, about the things that cause you to agonize in the aftermath of interpersonal conflict?
  • What reasons do you think you agonize after a conflict is over? What is that about?
  • What is the downside of post-conflict agonizing?
  • How do you experience and show your continuing anguish?
  • How do you suppose agonizing after conflict is interpreted by those who observe you doing this?
  • If you prefer to continue to agonize after conflicts, what do you gain from doing so?
  • On a scale of 1-10, 10 being absolutely, how much do you want to stop agonizing after interpersonal conflicts?
  • If you want to change a pattern of post-conflict agonizing, what will help you do so?

Please add any other comments about this topic. Or, what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you ask about post-conflict agonizing?

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