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Reacting to Interpersonal Conflict

There are days when we are in conflict with another person we respond strongly to his or her action or words that may not have the same impact on other days. Fatigue, personal or professional worries and other stressors all contribute to how reactive we are, to whom and for what reason. Some strong emotions leave us in a state of heart and mind that may confuse us and add to the strain we already experience as a consequence of the conflict. These emotions can sometimes take over and we find ourselves responding in uncharacteristic and extreme ways to the other person (and even other people and situations that are unrelated to the initial trigger point).

It is often a challenge to figure out what is happening in the moment that leads to reactions we then agonize about – sometimes for days and nights. Continuing feelings of shame, vulnerability, sadness and upset do not help us move on, of course and they add more tension to our lives, for the other person and those around us. Considering a past dispute to which you reacted strongly, here are some questions:

  • What specifically was it that the person said/ did (did not say/do) that you reacted to?
  • What were you feeling when that happened?
  • What do you suppose led you to feel especially reactive in this situation?
  • What were you thinking about the other person and situation when you were provoked this way?
  • Under what circumstances do you usually find you react stronger than others? Under what circumstances are you less reactive?
  • What are you most distressed about right now as you think about the situation and/or the other person?
  • For what reasons do you suppose that sentiment remains with you?
  • Generally-speaking, what is the usual impact (if any) on other parts of your life when you react strongly? How about for the other person?
  • What positive repercussions are there for you when you react strongly? How about for the other person?
  • How do you prefer to react when you are in conflict? How may you ensure that reaction next time?

Any other comments about this topic and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may work here with respect to reacting strongly?

This entry was posted in Emotions in Conflict, Post-Conflict, Reactions, Resilience. Bookmark the permalink.

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