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Fears in Interpersonal Conflict

Though not always expressed, it is common that people in conflict experience some level of fear about the dynamic between them and the other person. This may be about the issues in dispute and/or the relationship, or their own reactions and experience of the conflict. In a small scale study CINERGY® Coaching did with 200 clients about what fears they have in their interpersonal disputes, the fear of a loss of some sort prevailed. Loss of the relationship (connecting, caring, etc.), of face, of reputation, of job, of security and so on are examples. Other fears such as being hurt, alienated, embarrassed, shamed, rejected, hurting someone and the unknown were also common.

Here are some ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) to consider in more detail about fears if this aspect of conflict resonates for you. Please think of your last interpersonal dispute to answer the following and if you did not experience fear of any sort in that one, choose an example in which you did:

  • How would you describe the fear or fears you experienced in that dispute?
  • What particularly was it that the other person said or did that resulted in you experiencing fear?
  • What does that say about your hope(s), expectation(s) and/or need(s) in that dispute?
  • How did you experience that fear emotionally?
  • How did you experience that fear in your body?
  • What were the thoughts going on for you when the fear set in?
  • What about your fear has a basis in reality?
  • What about your fear does not have a basis in reality?
  • What decision(s) did you make about the issue and/or the person that may have been fear-based?
  • How did the fear help you? Hurt you?
  • What do you think needs to happen in a situation to help reduce fears that get in the way of moving on or letting go?

Any other comments about this topic and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) would you add on this subject of fears in interpersonal conflict?

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