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Understanding Heightened Emotions When In Conflict

It goes without saying that experiencing a range of negative feelings is a natural part of being in conflict. When the issues being discussed are difficult for us, or if the other person is making his or her point in an obnoxious and hurtful way, or if there are other reasons we react, we are undoubtedly experiencing different emotions that are not always easy to identify. Understanding what actually leads to heightened emotions when in conflict is not always easy to do either.

Being too quick to try and make sense of our emotions is not necessarily helpful. Time to listen to ourselves is though. It helps at these times to find words to describe what we are feeling. With thought and discussion, we are usually able to identify what we are feeling and consider what is going on for us. That exploration often opens up more meaningful insights than initial expressions of our emotions.

Identifying the words that describe the emotion is a first step. The next step is to explore what is underneath the stated emotions and what drives them. That is, it is important to stand under emotions to understand them. Understanding our emotions is an important conflict management skill and these questions will hopefully help you stand under those that heighten emotions.

  • Thinking of the last time you were in a dispute, what two words most accurately describe the main emotions you were experiencing?
  • Please choose one of those words that may be common to other conflicts that you can think of. If both or neither are common, select one and describe what this emotion means in more detail?
  • What specifically did the other person say or do that aroused this emotion in you?
  • What do you perceive the other person challenged in you when his or her acts or words aroused this emotion for you?
  • What did you need from that person that he or she didn’t provide?
  • What do you know for sure about yourself and this emotion?
  • What do you not understand about yourself and this emotion?
  • What other understanding would you like to have regarding this particular emotional reaction that may help you manage it effectively, if you want to?
  • What do you want to feel and do that would be different than your usual reaction?

Any other comments about this topic and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) would you add here about understanding heightened emotions?

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