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“I Wish I Hadn’t Said That”

There are times in our interpersonal conflicts that – after the fact – we state things like, “I wish I hadn’t said that”. This is along the lines of “If I had it to do over”. It is often a statement made when we acknowledge that something we said triggered off a reaction in the other person that served no purpose except maybe to escalate the dispute. When we are at a point when we are wishing we had not said something, reasons, explanations, apologies, and requests are not generally heard or accepted. These and other efforts to redeem ourselves are not received well and we are left with regret and self-blame.

It helps to consider what compels us to say things we later regret considering that – at the time, at some level of consciousness – we are likely aware that we are about to say something that is not appropriate, helpful, etc. Perhaps we blurt things out anyway since we feel so enraged – perceiving or experiencing, for instance, that the other person’s words or actions are retaliatory, vengeful, intentionally hurtful, etc. Or, maybe it is a lack of impulse control or filters. Or, it could be a habitual way of responding that has – or has not – worked before and we are too caught up in our emotions to think clearly about how to most effectively handle the situation.

These and other types of awarenesses – that come to us in the moment or after the fact – are difficult to admit at times. However, they provide us with the opportunity to reflect and consider ways to improve how we interact the next time we are in conflict so that we do not repeat things that cause pain to others and ourselves.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog then, asks readers to consider one of your after the fact “I wish I hadn’t said that” statements. This post will invite you to also consider what may work to make amends in that regard.

  • If you said something to another person in a conflict that you wish you had not, what was that?
  • What compelled you at the time?
  • How do you think the other person would describe what she or he experienced and felt?
  • What do you wish you had said instead? What may have been the different result had you said that?
  • What have you said or done to make amends, if you have?
  • If attempts to make amends have not worked, why do you suppose that is the case?
  • If you have not tried to make amends and want to, what specifically may you say or do?
  • What has worked for you in similar situations that may help make amends? What may you advise someone else in this sort of situation?
  • What is your learning from this week’s blog about ways to prevent “I wish I hadn’t said that” statements?
  • What is your learning about making amends in these situations?

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

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