Friday, March 28, 2008

How to Manage Conflicts?

No matter what our communication style or family background, there are some damaging patterns of speech that must be avoided to manage conflicts effectively. For example, if we have the urge to retaliate. Retaliation only leads to anger and an escalation of the disagreement. Instead of retaliating, know that the quickest way to take the heat out of a quarrel is to acknowledge your mate's viewpoint and to apologize for your part of the conflict.

Do you minimize or belittle your spouse's feelings? Granted that not everyone sees the same situation in the same way, but if your spouse is clearly distraught about a matter, your first reaction may be to say, "You're just overreacting." You may have the intention to help your mate to see the problem from a different angle but more often than not this comment makes your spouse feel more angry than comforted. Both wives and husbands need to know that the people whom they love understand and empathize with them.

Give extra thought to how you react when your mate expresses his or her concern. Do your words, tone of voice, and facial expressions convey empathy? Or do you tend to quickly dismiss your mate's feelings?

Do you often assume that your partner's motives are selfish? For instance, if your mate does something nice for you, do you wonder what he or she wants or is covering up? If your mate makes a mistake, do you view this failing as confirmation that he or she is selfish and uncaring? Do you immediately recall similar mistakes from the past and add this one to the list? Can you try this out instead? Make a list of the positive things that your mate has done for you and the good motives that could have prompted these actions.

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