Let’s Unpack This
It’s the Holiday season and many of us are gathering with extended family and friends. Unfortunately, sometimes these times of gathering can give way to disagreements that cause painful memories, instead of meaningful memories with loved ones. It is natural for family members with different views or beliefs to clash, but there are healthy methods to deal with family conflict when it arises.
Don’t be a victim to your amygdala this season! The amygdala is a part of the brain that coordinates our response to emotions such as fear and anger. During a disagreement, an innocent statement that is perceived as a threat or a slight can trigger the amygdala and lead to an escalation. Allowing the amygdala to control a situation can turn what could be a constructive discussion into a battle, and possibly into a war.
Conflict is a part of our human experience, but if we learn and apply certain tools to resolve conflict peacefully, we can avoid fighting and resentment. Here are several strategies in managing conflict in a productive manner, taken from the book “Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life”: Read Full Article Here : Mediate.com
1. Be hard on the problem, not the people. Recognize that your difference of opinion or belief is not reason to attack one another’s character, and it should not be an opportunity to bring up past hurts or disappointments. Focus on the problem specifically.
2. Understand that acknowledging and listening are not the same as obeying. Strive to understand your loved one, and not only to be understood. Listening to their perspective is an opportunity to learn and grow. Show the same level of interest in their opinion that you would like others to show you.
3. Use “I” statements. Try not to accuse the person you disagree with. Clearly explain yourself and the way
you feel about the situation. Using “I” statements keeps the other individual from being on the defensive.
4. Give the benefit of the doubt. Believe that your family member has good intentions and means well, even though you disagree with them.
5. Have awkward conversations in real time. Don’t let a disagreement simmer for a long time. This can lead to a big boil over for a situation that could have been addressed when in real time. Be honest with your loved ones and trust that they respect you enough to hear your thoughts on an issue in the moment it arises.
6. Keep the conversation going. Life is a dialogue. Thank your family member for sharing their perspective and for listening to your thoughts as well. Invite them to continue your discussion another time. This continued dialogue could strengthen your relationship in ways you didn’t imagine.
7. Ask yourself “Would I rather be happy or right?” If you feel like your conversation is not going anywhere, know when to bow out gracefully. Sometimes holding your tongue is the best way to keep the peace in a situation. Be confident in your own truth and hope for an opportunity to have the conversation at a time that may be more suitable for both parties.
8. Be easy to talk to. We are all human. Be approachable and a listening ear. We never know what other people are going through, and sometimes taking the time to listen without jumping to conclusions, is all that someone else needs.