Note: This article is one several discussing people-pleasing, love, connection, and my approach to each.
Conflicts are a fascination for me. They’re dreaded by most of us. They inspire those terribly discomforting feelings of anxiety, shame, vulnerability, exposure. It can be down right shitty (to be crass).
I AVOIDED conflicts to the point I denied they existed. Why?
I Made Conflict Personal…
Naturally, of course. It feels personal, so it must be! I bet you can relate to that.
“Oh my…he’s upset. That must have been something I did…” or
“She’s really quiet. What did I do?”
Interesting how we’re first to blame ourselves (which is a what we love to do as people-pleasers). Breaking out of our auto-self-blame requires us to understand accept a simple fact: Our partner is an autonomous person with their own thoughts, feelings, and wants, and needs.
Now I know you know them intellectually, but often we haven’t let that land emotionally. This means that we feel separate from them – that we see that they have their way of getting their needs and wants met, and it may not be our way.
When we’re pleasing or fixing, this leads us to trying to get our needs met by solving their problems our way – not theirs (queue ongoing, recycling conflict #229871).
So, How Do We Fix This?
This is where the magic comes in (its not what you expect! I promise).
Here’s the basic step process I lead my clients through (hi you bunch of bad-ass peeps! love you!):
- Step One: What is it that you Need or Want? How do you want to receive that?
- Step Two: What is it you think they want or need? How do you think they want that?
- Step Three: Ask for discussion on the problem
- Step Four: Discuss the problem by sharing what you believe the problem is, and what you believe they need or want, and ask for their feedback.
- Step Five: Listen actively
- Step Six: Negotiate and Then come to an agreement about how you two will meet their need or want
- Step Seven: Share what you desire, and how you would like to receive it, and what their thoughts are on it
- Step Eight: Share vulnerably and assertively
- Step Nine: Negotiate and Come to agreement about how you two will meet your need or want
These stages can take place in a few minutes or several days. Often the time involved is determined by the emotional intensity surrounding the problem, and the skills involved of both partners.
Use Conflict to build intimacy by understanding what your partner wants, how they want it, and working it out between each other to get it satisfied.
Want more insight into this? Download my free MP3 from Counsellor-in-a-Box™ (the system I trained in and base my relationship management on) here.
Your mentor and friend,