art work by John Ceprano
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Doing something about your conflict

Several years ago I began asking friends, family members, colleagues and clients what stops them from trying different things to be able to improve how they manage conflict. Of course, their answers varied.

While situations and those involved elicit different reactions, the people I questioned typically recounted a number of things they would have done differently. Others were unable to contemplate what would have made things better. Some people said they were not sure whether they really wanted to.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog asks one question, “What keeps you from doing something else in that conflict that may improve matters?” I then suggest a series of possible answers based on my mini-research. Just circle your answer – yes, no, or maybe. Then there are a few more questions on whether your answers yielded any new insights.

To do this exercise, please think about one of your conflicts that will just not go away. It is about a person and/or typical situation that brings out parts of you that you do not like, or triggers reactions and regret or other negative feelings.

Please circle your answer – yes (Y), no (N), or maybe (M) to the following:

What keeps you from doing something else in that conflict that may improve matters?  
I don’t believe things will get better no matter what I do or say. Y N M
S/he will never change. Y N M
S/he is not worth the effort. Y N M
It’s too frustrating. Y N M
Apathy Y N M
I worry things will fall apart again, even if they improve for a while. Y N M
Why is it me trying to make things better and not him/her? Y N M
If it doesn’t work, it will have been a waste of time and energy. Y N M
I want him/her to do something first. Y N M
I’m fearful whatever I say/do will not work. Y N M
It is likely that my brain is hard wired to keep this interaction and the related thinking where it is. Y N M
I don’t really care. Y N M
S/he reminds me too much of my mother (father, sibling, ex-spouse, etc.) Y N M
I need control and the other person does too and neither of us will make the other one right – even a little. Y N M
There is just no incentive. Y N M
I must be getting something from this. Y N M
It goes back too far. Y N M
It goes too deep. Y N M
It’s just one person and I have a good relationship with most people. Y N M
There’s nothing to be gained. Y N M

Here are a few more ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions):

Now that you have done this questionnaire, consider your Yes’s, No’s, and Maybe’s. What do your answers open up for you, if anything, that increase your awareness:

About you?

About the other person?

About the situation?

What patterns do you think you have about conflict that the questionnaire speaks to?

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