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Being Good to Yourself When in Conflict

It is often the case that when some of us are engaged in an interpersonal conflict we self-blame to an extent that is debilitating and unproductive. For instance, we might take on more responsibility about what happened than is ours to own; we might continually replay the situation over in our heads with a negative frame regarding our part; we may ‘let the other person off the hook’ and give in against our wishes; we may lose sleep, feel constantly tense and otherwise experience physical and emotional reactions.

When we excessively self-blame about our interpersonal conflicts, doing so can take its toll in these and other ways. This often results in the situation and dynamic growing out of proportion. While accepting that we usually contribute to our interpersonal disputes in some ways, continuous fault-finding with ourselves seems to be a futile exercise.

If you tend to spend a lot of time in self-blame, it is helpful to consider why and how, and to find tools to be better to yourself so that you don’t miss ways of managing the situation more effectively. Similarly, it helps to find ways to support yourself and your needs, including what skills are required to engage in disputes without, for instance, losing self-esteem and confidence – and giving in to avoid the dissension.

I suggest you think of a situation in which you blamed yourself excessively, when answering the following series of questions.

  • What is the situation?
  • What are the things for which you are excessively blaming yourself? Why these things in particular?
  • What is your inner dialogue specifically saying?
  • If you are sharing your self-blame with others (friends, family), what are you telling them that is different from your self-talk, if anything?
  • How else are you experiencing self-blame, i.e. emotionally, physically, etc.?
  • What purpose does self-blame serve?
  • How would you say you are not being good to yourself about the conflict? Why is that?
  • How might you be better to yourself when in conflict?
  • What are you learning about self-blame so far, having answered these questions? How might that have a positive impact on how you approach future conflicts?
  • What skills do you need to help you be good to yourself when in conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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