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Control and Conflict

One of the reasons some of us shy away from engaging in interpersonal conflict is that we fear being out of control, or that the other person may become out of control. What that means varies from person to person. Examples may include becoming loud and overbearing or physically aggressive, or even walking away. Insisting and persisting until the other person is worn down, or acting singularly on the mutual problem without regard for the other’s needs, are other examples and there are more.

It is easy to see why experiencing conflict in any of these ways or the fear of these sorts of things happening can lead to avoidance as a conflict style. It also accounts for why (if on the receiving end of such behaviour) it leads many of us to give in – to not try to assert ourselves and our needs. By yielding though, we hand over our power and control to the other person. In other words, when we perceive the other person is out of control we hand over ours. So essentially being out of control equates to being in control.

If you tend to hand over control in some conflicts, consider the following questions and see how they may help you navigate your way more effectively through such situations.

  • When you consider a conflict scenario in which you yielded to someone whom you perceived was in control, in what way(s) did you give up your control?
  • In what way(s) was she or he in control? In what way(s) was she or he out of control?
  • What was it about the facts of the situation that resulted in you giving up your control?
  • What specifically was it about the way the other person was interacting that contributed to your reaction?
  • How might you describe the ways you yielded or gave over control in that scenario? How else may you describe your reaction besides yielding or giving over control?
  • What also happened to you emotionally or otherwise when you did so?
  • What consistencies are there between this situation and others when you have given up control? What consistencies might there be about to whom you are likely to give up control?
  • When you do not yield to the other person in conflict, what mostly distinguishes those situations from the ones when you do?
  • What else, besides control, do you think the other person gains when you give up yours?
  • When is it a positive decision to give up control?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

This entry was posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Control, Emotions in Conflict. Bookmark the permalink.

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