Do you feel uncomfortable when conflicts arise?

If so, you may avoid a conflict like the plague and retreat, feeling powerless and victimized by the situation.

A second way to deal with conflict may be your desire to control the situation and be one-up.  This strategy aligns itself with the Persecutor role, believing it is best to “win” the conflict and dominate rather than be dominated. This is a win/lose mindset that needs to be right and make the other wrong.

Another way to deal with conflict is to be pleasing and accommodating so everyone will get along, hoping the conflict will dissolve.  This strategy aligns itself with the Rescuer.

These are but three basic ways of dealing with conflict—-avoiding, dominating or pleasing—–that reflect how the roles in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ react in such situations.  None of these methods work very well and will limit your ability to be effective in communications and personal relationships, because conflict is part of the human experience.

When family and friends get together, especially during the holiday season, the pressure goes up for everyone to get along.  Are you ready to try a new approach to the conflict?  (Hopefully you are saying “yes!”)

Take responsibility for how you think about conflict.

Most of us develop beliefs and assumptions about conflict early in life and then they “go on autopilot” and we base our reactions on them, often without thinking.

Staying stuck in an old assumption that your only option is to rely on your engrained habits of avoiding, appeasing, or dominating, limits your relationship to life’s challenges. These old beliefs and behaviors keep you firmly planted in the DDT, resulting in disappointment and frustration when struggles arise.

Change your intention about dealing with conflict when it arises. 

Your new intention may be a desire to listen deeply and connect with the other person.  Or your new intention may be to learn something new in the conversation, rather than to change someone’s mind.

If you shift your intention toward being curious, to listen deeply or learn something new, seeing the situation as a conflict melts away.  Turning your focus away from the person or situation that you have judged unpleasant, toward a new intention, creates a more empowering relationship with the conflict.

Setting an intention to stay open, listen and learn transcends the limitations imposed by the old beliefs and assumptions.

There is no denying that there are times when conflict is emotionally or physically dangerous.  In these situations, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and seek safety.

Most conflicts, however, are about everyday misunderstandings or different viewpoints.  This is when shifting your intention can be a game-changer.

When a conflict arises with another person, remember that they wish to be happy too, just like you do.  By seeing them as a Creator (whether they act like it, or whether they know it) and connecting with them, you are nourishing your inner-Creator and giving both of you an opportunity to transcend the conflict.

Experiment.  It’s worth a try, because when anger with another person or the situation “owns” you, it is easy to rely on old habits of avoiding, dominating or pleasing that keep you stuck in old and disempowering habits.

Whatever feelings you are having about the conflict, you can always return to your new intention.  Do you want to return to the conflict with your old ways, or try something new?

The world needs new ways of working and relating with one another.  Start today to think differently and create your new intention about the way you relate to conflict.