art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Clarifying What’s Happening in a Conflict

So often we get wrapped up in an interpersonal conflict and lose track of what’s actually happening to us. We seem to let go of our grasp on the situation. Our emotional responses reflect the chaos and confusion going on in our hearts and minds. At these times, we may tend to misinterpret messages, attribute motives to the other person, lose our focus and lose perspective about what’s going on for us and what warrants clarification.

Before engaging the other person in a discussion to sort things out or before reflecting on the situation and what we are experiencing, it helps to find ways to gain some distance from what occurred and our reactions.

Though this dynamic may occur during and after conflict, the questions today are about clarifying things during conflict when it is evident that the interaction has begun to emerge. Please consider a conflict situation that has not yet erupted (and may have the potential for doing so), when answering the following ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions):

  • What are the signs you have in yourself (emotional, behavioural, physical, cognitive) that things are on the brink of erupting?
  • What are your fears?
  • What is bothering you most?
  • In what ways would it be a good thing if the conflict surfaces?
  • In what ways would it not be so good?
  • What are you saying or doing that is not productive and may not help the situation surface in a constructive way?
  • What is most unclear about this conflict for you?
  • What else are you unclear about, regarding his/her actions or perspective?
  • What doesn’t the other person seem to know or understand about you in this situation?
  • What are your choices about how to clarify things?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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