Stop playing games to resolve differences

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When two people argue, it means they are looking at two different perspectives of a situation.
Resolving their differences can be accomplished if both parties are willing. This requires a specific peace-building process that involves setting the priority of listening to one another and talking rather than bickering with angry words aimed at winning. If the goal is to ‘win’ or to protect one’s ego, everyone will lose. Protecting the self-worth of both people and allowing both to be heard is the key to resolution. When time is lost fighting, it can never be recouped. Painful words are not forgotten and it becomes harder and harder to accomplish a peaceful relationship. Eventually game playing makes this impossible. The following are some of the basic techniques used in playing games to win. Note the suggested beneficial behavior is written in italics after each game playing behavior to incorporate constructive resolution.

Diversion: If either one approaches communication by the use of diverting tactics to change the subject, the frustration level is raised by the other person who is trying to get to the point of the issue at hand. Arguments are accelerated over bringing in side issues.

Keep on track with the issue that is up for discussion.

Ego Issues: If the ego won’t let the person be honest with themselves about mistakes or limitations, then phony excuses raise the level of conflict.

Humility comes from true inner security and allows a person to be honest with themselves and others about any short comings. Be  secure enough to be honest.

Loaded Questions: Asking a question to lead the other person into a trap involves asking something you clearly know the answer to and interrupting before they can finish answering.

When an question is asked, let the other person answer. Listen with the intention of really hearing what he/she is saying.

Lack of Attention:  If the purpose of the discussion is to make it a debate, each person will be so busy thinking of their next response, there is a lack of attention to what the other person is really saying.

Listen with the purpose of compromise which is a ‘win-win’ situation.

Focus of Faults: If the argument leads to issues of fault and blame, the tendency is to focus on the other person, rather than take responsibility for one’s own part in what is now becoming an escalating crisis.

Look within at your own behavior.

External Focus: If person number one starts pointing a finger and telling person number two how number two is feeling, nothing worthwhile is accomplished. Never criticize the feelings and behavior of the other person.

If both people focus on being honest about their own actions and feelings, the level of conflict diminishes.

Denial: Refusing to acknowledge one’s anger level and feelings is the primary reason that a disagreement turns into a heated argument.

Acting with integrity incorporates looking within at the character traits you are demonstrating in every situation to bring self-awareness and inner control over you own behavior.

Assumptions: This is when instead of talking the issue out, one or both persons, decide what the other is thinking. Since this is usually based on where the person making the assumption is coming from, it is usually wrong.

Being alert to the present moment is the key to realizing the other person may have changed his/her mind or is ready to let it go and make up.

Silent Treatment: Clamming up is actually abandonment. Avoiding the other person by going into another room or leaving the house is basically avoiding the inevitable and making it worse.

If both parties could agree to spend ten or fifteen minutes remembering the priority of their love and work on calming down, then they could at least start the reconciliation process. ‘Silence is golden’ when it is used to start thinking of ways to heal the discord. Being ready to reconcile avoids losing precious time that could be spent enjoying time together.

Avoidance:  Stuffing the disagreement is a refusal to deal with clarifying and validating everyone who is involved. The ‘forgiveness and make up stage’ of a disagreement turns into an unresolved fight that festers and builds walls between the two people.

Building bridges is a wiser activity. Making up and cuddling is much more fun than acting as if nothing has happened.

Intimidation: Speaking in a tone that is meant to put the other person on the defensive only builds discord and distance. This involves the process of ‘taking no prisoners’. It is simply about crushing the opponent and destroys the foundation of any friendship. This dirty tactic will never be a part of any productive interactions.

If the two people remember that they agreed to be on the same team, safety can be established.

Interrogation: Drilling questions in a hostile manner is only meant to gain an edge in what has become a fight and has nothing to do with really getting answers. It is more like hurling words as weapons to wound.

Using words to heal and bond is the only way to maintain peaceful communication.

Make 2012 a year that brings more constructive peace-building among all individuals, families, communities and countries by using these suggested positive behaviors.
Patrice Joy Masterson, MA is a Healthy Living Consultant. She offers personalized and group integrative programs at the Harmonizing Health Retreat in Bedford, KY. For more information call 937-631-5581 or go online to http://www.harmonizinghealthretreat.com.