(even when they don’t feel that way)

When two people are in any type of relationship, family, friendships and even at work, usually there will be moments of conflict and they will see situations from very different perspectives or have different needs. The situation can often feel personal and sensitive and a person feels misunderstood, hurt, or disappointed and there is discomfort and disconnection in the relationship.

The GOOD NEWS is there is a lot of our own personal control that can be done to work out these conflicts in a peaceful way.

This is important to know:

10% of my problems are in the outside world,

90% of my problems are

1)My natural inside response to that and then

2)How I choose to deal with what’s happening inside

What is the best way to handle these situations?

What is the best way to handle these situations? 

  1. Don’t do anything at first. 

Pause, take a deep breath, and slow down 

(When we speak or act from an angry place we cause a lot of pain in our relationships and then have an even bigger mess to clean up.)

  1. Notice the (triggered reaction) 

Describe the feelings, thoughts (beliefs and meanings we make) and bodily sensations that are coming up. 

See chart attached https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Kjq4A8NWH3ppudvI6yGz-SLjAEjCpHCJ118cE2jpVMk/edit

(These reactions come up fast and intense and completely on their own.)

  1. Be mindful; be open, curious, understanding and compassionate with all parts of your response.  This will allow you to process your reaction and come to a calmer peaceful place where you will be able to choose how to respond best in the situation. 

(If you are feeling this way, there is probably a good reason.  Often when we have an intense reaction, it is connected to hurtful experiences in our past.  So don’t judge, just wonder.) 

  1. Remind yourself that in a relationship it’s very normal to have two conflicting views and feelings about a situation. Stretch to see the other person’s perspective and have space to respect other people’s feelings even if you don’t understand or agree with them.  
  1. Consider if it’s important in this situation to share your feelings and if sharing will be helpful to the relationship and if the other person is in a space to hear them.
  1. To get the message across in the best way possible, share feelings in a way that does not attack or put down the speaker.  When we use an “I message”, see attached document https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nBMOSpY3uDHqECi_gZerxwm8AMnKs70f8I28QcW7r6A/edit, the speaker will be least likely to take it personally, feel threatened, get defensive or shut down.  It’s also the best way for people to take responsibility, apologize when needed and find an equitable solution. 
  1. Sharing feelings in a calm, vulnerable and respectful way creates safety and can deepen the connection in a relationship. Being heard and understood is often more important than the actual solution.  
“We have found that the success or failure of a marriage depends not on whether there is conflict, but on how conflict is handled when it does occur.” (the Gottman Laboratory Studies)

Remember before sharing

Prepare in advance what and how you want to share your feelings.
Always be smart and not right (don’t share because you are right, share because it’s smart to share and will help the situation.)
We are our own primary caretakers. We have the ability to help ourselves feel good, important, and valuable. Other people are not mind-readers, don’t know our map, and can only be our secondary caretakers (a cheerleader and a secure and trusting support system).
Let the person know you have something important to share before you start sharing.
Choose a mutually agreeable time.
Start with a positive affirmation/compliment and end with an appreciation for listening.
Take a time-out or pause if things start to escalate or keep repeating the same negative pattern.
Remember the 70:30 care bank (70% deposits and 30% withdrawals) and keep in mind all the good parts of the other person and the relationship.

Sharing safely and kindly is a gift to the relationship.

Good Luck and know that working on relationships is lifelong work and most of us make many mistakes along the way. Try your best and don’t be scared to learn from your mistakes!

My goal is to give as much free practical information so you can try and implement the ideas into your own life. Please don’t hesitate to book a session, if you feel you need more direction or help with any of your relationships, at work or with family or friends.