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

Conflict: Threat or Treat

It may seem a strange coupling – threat or treat – when it comes to talking about conflict. Threat is, of course, more straightforward, since we commonly sense some type of challenge when we are in conflict. That is, if we perceive that something undermines our values, beliefs, or needs, we may experience that as a threat to us and our identities. Sensing any sort of threat when we are in conflict causes feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. This may, for instance, be due to fears about losing the relationship, something important to us that we are fighting for, our equilibrium, and so on. Unfortunately, too, some people experience physical threats.

Considering interpersonal disputes (not those that include physical assault) the ‘are-you-kidding-me’ question then is, what can the word treat possibly have to do with conflict? Well, it is suggested here that the treat – defined simply as “something special” – is the potential within conflict. If well-managed, the opportunities in a dispute may include a better understanding and connection, a clearer perspective on the issues and its impact, the opportunity to check out assumptions, to apologize, to forgive, and to move on.

For this week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog, I’ve taken the ‘h’ out of the word threat to ask the following how questions, essentially about the treat in conflict. To start with, please consider a conflict that feels threatening when answering the following:

  • How does what happened between you and the other person feel like a threat?
  • How does that impact you?
  • How have you contributed to the conflict dynamic?
  • How may she or he have experienced your actions or words as a threat?
  • How may the conflict situation actually be a treat for you, i.e. as defined above or in other ways you may define it? How may the conflict situation not be a treat for you, i.e. as defined above or in other ways you may define it?
  • How will you apply what you have learned in this conflict to future ones?
  • How is that learning a treat?
  • How may the conflict be a treat for the other person? How may it not be a treat for her or him?
  • How, in the future, may you make conflicts less of a threat and more of a treat for you? For the other person?
  • How do the questions here provide a different perspective on conflicts?

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

This entry was posted in Reactions. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Conflict: Threat or Treat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *