What’s My Part In This Conflict?
The images to the left are a reminder tool I call ‘Round Up My Usual Suspects’ card. The actual card is the size of a business card and is printed front and back. The card helps you remember the common behaviors that you, in particular, have that make others feel defensive. You check 3 or 4 of the checkboxes you think apply to you. The ones that you are most likely guilty of doing when you get upset. Often, the usual suspects are non-verbal behaviors like using a harsh, or demeaning tone of voice; or making a face that is filled with rejection or contempt.
Your ‘Usual Suspects’ are the behaviors YOU DO to make your partner feel intimidated or anxious or mad. Then, you ask your partner to use a yellowhighlighter to underline the number one behavior that gets him or her upset. You keep the card in your wallet or purse.
One day you find yourself confused about why someone is irritated with you, or picking fights with you, or just pushing your buttons. Or, maybe you’ve taken some of my Power & Compassion Communication course and you’ve just taken a Time Out. So, you pull out your trusty card and review your recent behaviors asking yourself, “Which one of my Usual Suspects might have been operating just now.” It doesn’t matter whether you only showed these behaviors because the other person did something first. It doesn’t matter whether you are right, or justified, or that your response was understandable. The point is to be able to eventually return to the person soon, to be the first person to sweep his side of the street. Yes, it sounds odd, to admit that you did something, even when you think the other did something first, or worse. But, just because you sweep your side of the street doesn’t mean you can’t make your case later that you want to hear the other see what his, or her, part was in the recent problem.
So, you return to the person and simply say it out loud,
“I was _(fill in from the card above)__ just then. I see how upset that made you. I’m sorry, I’ll be mindful of that in the future.”
AFTER saying these three sentences the other person will be more open to hearing your experience of the problem. It takes perhaps 8-10 seconds to say the three ideas about What I did, How the other felt or though, and What I’ll do about it. The 10 seconds you invest in saying these sentences will save you hours, and days and weeks of unnecessary conflict. Learn more about the March 19th Saturday seminar in Los Angeles ‘Real Power In Relationships- Responding To People Who Are Upset” HERE.
Round Up ‘My Usual Suspects’
If you are honest with yourself and you know you are an emotional person, who wears his, or her, feelings on your sleeve; then simply admit that you’re upset. Some people won’t admit it, or they deny, justify or blame their feelings on others.
By owning and taking responsibility for your behavior as soon as possible, you are creating a possibility for a ‘Conversation’ about the issues. You make that happen because you’re willing to sweep your side of the street first by checking if your tone of voice or facial and body language contributed to a conflict. When you do this you make it so much easier for others to ‘sweep their side of the street’ by admitting what they may have done to contribute to the conflict. Then, two people may have a conversation! Would you like to see that happening in your relationship?
style of classroom watching videos and learning new ways of experiencing conflict resolution. I am so confident, I offer a money-back guarantee that if you don’t think the seminar is helpful by the lunch hour you just tell me, or my staff, and you get a refund. I’ve done these workshops for over 16 years and have had less than a handful of participants ask for it.
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When you know better, you do better!
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Loving couples argue too!