How To Defuse Conflict And Avoid Destroying Intimacy In Your Relationships

Voices are raised. 

The hissing fits are in full flow. 

The anger levels are of the scale.

The claws are out.

And the fur is flying.

And that is just the cats!

Now we get to YOU!

How often do you find yourself in such conflict situations with your partner, that when you really think about it.

Are often over such trivial things, which with some reasoned thought, would be easy to resolve.

So how come you are not doing it?

I know that it can seem impossible, when it comes to solving tensions with those you live with, particularly when text messages are the major part of the 'conversation?'

How often have those 'conversations' gone completely wrong because of a 'miss-understand?'

Now let us see what you can do to defuse tension fairly quickly and head off a 'conflict explosion.'

First lets discuss how you can reduce the treat of conflict.

Start With The Talk-To-Listen Ratio

In other words your listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time.

Spend time actually 'thinking' and process what you are hearing.

How often do you do that?

Most men and women suck at processing what the other person says because they do not get it. 

They have, unfortunately had so much of the process explained only in psychological mumbo jumbo that just leaves you with a 'Homer Simpson' moment...DOH!

Well I am taking that 'psychological mumbo jumbo' and communicating in plain 'speaka da english' for you.

Shall we continue?

Ready for the next part?

Read on...

Silence On Your Part

First thing, 'silence' means is for you to shut up...totally. 

Jaw wired shut, no eyes rolling behind the head. 

Rolling eyes is guaranteed to light the fuse of the conflict bomb.

The conflict bomb can explode RIGHT NOW with one word spoken from your mouth, because you primed it with the roll of your eyes!

Ears Open - Mouth Shut - No Rolling Eyes!

It means, do not try and think of what you are going to say in response to what they say or do.

You LISTEN and record! 

Make this a forever strategy. 

Yes, the very best thing for you to do is to take notes during an argument (fight).

Write down what you are HEARING. 

It will take a while to get used to doing this, and do it.

When what is being spoken is 'recorded' on paper, people tend to instantly 'go down' a few levels and 'tone down' what they are saying. 

And the fact is, you will have it all written down so you have zero chance of misunderstanding what they are thinking/feeling.

You need to gather 'Information!'

And don't ever roll those eyes again.

The bomb has stopped ticking.

Listen To What They Are Saying.

You already thinking how wrong they are (or are they, how do you know?)

Strange... 

They are also mistakenly thinking how wrong you are (has this thought crossed your mind, maybe - maybe not?). 

Therefore you only have one way (without actually fighting and blowing you both up, and what will that prove?). 

You can let each other be wrong without having to prove it to them.

The bomb is still there and don't you dare roll those eyes! 

Let us move on to the next step.

Communication 

You know, that thing where you actually talk and LISTEN to each other, to get to UNDERSTAND each others point of view!

You have now an 'idea' of the basic tools you need to stop the bomb exploding.

Now the next step is to defusing the bomb that can still go off, is being able to repeat, without sarcasm, or put downs (or rolling those dam eyes, I am watching you) what they have just said. 

People want evidence that you 'understand' them, and because 90% of all people argue and never even hear what the other person said, you have now become a different species of human being in their mind. 

Even if you think they are wrong, at least you GET to understand what they are saying. 

You can at least make 'sense' of their argument for them.

This is called building RAPPORT.

In simple English, the relationship between the two of you is now starting to be on the same page and wavelength because they feel you are understanding them.

You are now starting to defuse the bomb.

Show Understanding That You Are UNDERSTANDING.

This step in defusing the bomb is to show that you REALLY UNDERSTAND their point of view. 

As strange as it may seem to you, it IS their point of view. 

It IS their feelings. 

And know it or not, they are entitled to feel whatever they feel.

If you do not understand some of the issues they are expressing then ask and say simply that 'you don't understand' and ask them open questions, such as how, who, what, where and when? 

This invites the other person to explain in more detail what their problem is. 

And helps you in building RAPPORT and UNDERSTANDING with them.

To say you 'understand' when really you do not, is not only dishonest.

It is really stupid on your part, because if they sense and feel you are lying to them.

THE BOMB EXPLODES - BIG TIME!

And they will be a box some where containing a bin bag with the remains of you.

Provide validation that you understand their thoughts and feelings...YOU GET THEM!

Because at this point, providing that YOU have been real and authentic, the bomb is generally defused and now you have to get the thing apart.

So emotional tensions do not escalate again and set the bomb fuse going again. 

In each argument, creative discussion, fight, blow out - you want to be able to cut the wires and defuse the bomb by completing this sentence...

"You must’ve felt X when you saw or experienced Y."

Listen and I mean REALLY listen to what is said and show empathy with that other person.

I will be straight with you, that this is far and away the most difficult part. 

I mean, you got the bomb defused but that sentence takes the bomb APART and renders it impotent.

Realize That You Are Listening

Listening is NOT apologizing. 

It is not time for swearing or saying someone is wrong and shouting your mouth off. 

Listening is when you are building a bridge to understanding the other persons problems and issues.

You are the one stopping the bomb from exploding.

Be Aware of Flooded Feelings - Yours And Theirs

Using 'Bomb Diffusion Technology' during an argument is the first step you can take to rapidly mellow the situation and solve whatever problems have arisen.

Realize, however, that when people feel strongly about an issue, their flooded emotions will influence their ability to communicate and listen.

Flooded means their heart rate is accelerated, their mind is racing, and no matter what, when someone’s heart rate is elevated, even from physical activity, they are NOT going to communicate as effectively...if at all.

You are better off waiting at least 30 minutes for flooding feelings to subside. 

(Author and famed marriage therapist Dr. John Gottman teaches this and it is a method I use personally and teach my own clients, and I will be honest in saying, it is easier said than done...yet when you master this method, it really works.)

OK You LISTENED - Now What Do THEY Have To DO?

Because if you suggest 'intelligent communication,' you could get shot, let alone blown up. 

That simply means that your interpretation of their communication is something near Pre-School Level.

So....don't do that.

Here are five techniques you can use to defuse disasters and enhance effective communication and have an intelligent discussion, instead of a war.

FIRST: Criticize the issue or behavior, not the person. 

I hate criticism as much as you do. 

I imagine the person I am arguing with does, too. 

So don’t do it.

By dealing with the PROBLEM not the BEHAVIOR, you avoid attacking the other person. 

If you are 'arguing' with your child (or whoever) about a curfew (or whatever), stick to the issue of the curfew or to his or hers behavior of breaking curfew. 

Do not dig up all of his/her past mistakes or call him/her a 'dumb kid' who can't do anything right". 

And I would most certainly would not advise this with any adult, you may end up with a smack in the face!

That is attacking the person. 

It will shred their self-esteem and create dam-sized barriers between you both. 

Listen to what they have to say, and keep them on track if he/she strays from the issue. 

Continue to defuse, using the tools I have described above, even if the other person does not.

Your continued use of 'Diffusion Techniques' will help put a stop to a potentially damaging situation.

YOU have to go up one level and look at the situation from a OPEN Point of View. 

Not you throwing rocks from behind your defenses. 

Realize that this person has SOME worth. 

It is almost impossible to practice 'Diffusion Techniques' if you dismiss the other person as inferior or worthless (verbally or in your mind.)

You do not have to agree with them, and it is crucial that you respect their right to a different opinion and acknowledge his/her sense of value as a person. 

Find something that the two of you have in common in reference to this situation. 

Reference a time that was a better day. 

Try to understand what the other person is saying and why he/she feels a certain way.

SECOND: Get TOTALLY OUT Of BLACK AND WHITE Thinking.

Avoid absolutes, assumptions and generalizations - right/wrong, bad/good, always/never. 

Phrases like "you always" or "you never" are absolutes and generalizations that shut down communication. 

If you hear them and understand them, counter with this... 

"I hear you saying I always do such and so. I get that. Actually I..."

The same is true of statements that indicate right/wrong or bad/good. 

This is not to say there are not such situations, and in an argument most right/wrong or bad/ good situations are merely exaggerations and the truth is somewhere in between.

Sweeping generalizations polarize a conflict. 

The focus then is not on solving the problem at hand, but instead the focus becomes each party effectively defining her respective position and feelings. 

Speak with "I feel" messages instead of "You are" messages.

For example, when you say, "You moron, you don't know what you're talking about," you are sending a 'you' message. 

An 'I' message would be, "I don't understand what you're trying to say." "I am upset when I need to take extra time to pick up your things." 

The 'you' message lays blame on the speaker. 

The 'I' message expresses your concerns.

The same is true with your teen/husband/wife/friend. 

An 'I' message would be, "I worry about you when you aren't home by your curfew," or "When you come in after your curfew, I feel like you are purposely defying me." 

The 'I' message tells the other person how you feel about a situation. 

The 'I' message is concerned with the issue.

The 'you' message attacks the person.

Engage your brain and suspend your emotions. 

This is perhaps the hardest of the five techniques, because verbal conflicts by nature are emotional.

THIRD: Arguing vs. Discussing

The ultimate goal is to turn the verbal conflict into a discussion. 

Verbal conflicts are a total waste of time. 

They are counterproductive in conducting business (at home or office) and certainly do not foster a harmonious home life. 

They cannot be permitted.

Instead of letting your emotions take over, ask yourself..... 

"How can I help solve this problem?" 

"What solution is best for both of us?"

"What can we change?"

You need to control your emotions for the sake of the issue. 

Listen non-judgmentally. 

It requires an intelligent person to do so...

And YOU are an 'Intelligent' person, right?

Now wait a minute...

What about THEM?

They are getting off easy. 

You are acting intelligent, wise and caring and they are a psycho-nut from the planet Stupidupon. 

That does not seem fair.

Hey, life is not fair, accept 'responsibility' that you are the SMART one.

FORTH: Use Your Intelligence And Not Your Emotions

1: Do not get in a power struggle.

Part of being the person who is NOT from the planet Stupidupon, is to realize that you DO NOT WANT TO BE FROM THERE. 

You want to be the poster child for intelligence, wisdom, sensibility, caring...and...wait for it.....being LOVING!

At first it will drive them nuts.

I mean, think about it. 

They are SCREAMING at you about what a jerk you are while you QUIETLY sit with your NOTE PAD, taking COPIOUS NOTES.

Do you know how fast a person realizes they are being incredibly stupid with the massive emotional contrast that  exists between you both?

It is almost instantaneous.

And if you stick to your...Pad...and being COOL...you disarm and dismantle the bomb.

There is a significant relationship between power and authority. 

Many times, as power increases, authority decreases and vice versa. 

Erik Erikson noted that children become emotionally disturbed when they possess power they cannot responsibly handle.

Clearly defined norms and rules are needed to govern life, or people become self-destructive. 

That is why eventually, you will ask the other person to adopt the strategy of leaving Stupidupon and join you on your planet...just not today.

And in the case of kids, it may seem you live in a world with generations of X’s and Y’s and Millennial's that are almost anarchists?

One creative response you can bring to conflict is an ability to give away power, allowing others to take control of their feelings and the event in question.

Your authority psychologically INCREASES when you empower others instead of getting into power struggles. 

If you can find a way to turn aside power struggles, you will be more effective during conflict.

Do not detach from the conflict. 

At first, this may seem contradictory, and it is actually a way to monitor conflict and keep it under control. 

It is important that you have a passionate concern for both the people and the problem.

All relationship involve people, and any form of relationship cannot operate efficiently until substantial conflicts are managed. 

Concern is one motivation that drives us to find the opportunity in conflict.

Never let conflict determine your agenda.

Steven Covey was probably the first to come up with the concept of important vs. urgent. 

It is imperative to do the important tasks, not the urgent. 

This principle is often distorted under the pressure of conflict, and many important personal and business matters are ignored in an attempt to deal with the conflict.

2. Perspective is the key.

In conflict, you must know both the goals and direction in which to move. 

Decision and responses to conflict should match this overall direction. 

And sometimes urgent needs interfere with daily schedules. 

A time study should reveal that you have spent time managing priorities and not managing conflict un-endingly.

Remember that every minute spent in emotional verbal conflict is destructive of everything around you. 

The business you are in. 

The relationship you are in.

And it is a huge waste of time that nothing good comes from.

In order to help you manage the urgent, do not spend all your time and energy on one point. 

Move to something where agreement can be found.

3. Time Traps, Resentment and Stress Lead to Bomb Building

At home or in business, watch time traps. 

Are there tasks that always seem to consume your time before you are aware it has gone?

That is worth fixing.

Now, identify urgent issues, especially negative or conflict issues. 

If you notice one consistent time offender, manage that offender.

The intensity of the conflict determines which strategies will be the most effective. 

It is easy to be pushed to worst-case scenarios when faced with a difficult conflict. 

Those locked into higher levels of conflict lose their ability to quantify the intensity of the problem. 

Do not let that be you.
 
FIFTH: Rule of Conflict Engagement

Keep in mind the following...
 
People are rarely as benevolent as they perceive themselves to be. (Even you and me!)

People are rarely as evil as their opponents perceive them to be.

Individuals rarely spend as much time thinking about the issues as they like to 'think' they do.

The motivations of others are rarely as planned or thought out as presented. 

Most aspects of conflict spin off other events, and are not the result of cold-hearted calculation.

Every conflict has a history that extends beyond the present. 

The people and their previous patterns of relating taint the present perception.

Anthony Robbins once said that we get angry when someone breaks our rules. 

He said something like, "all conflicts are 'rules' conflicts." 

What he is saying makes a lot of sense.

Next time a conflict starts, it might be worth asking yourself...

"What rule am I breaking?"

And then...

"What rule of mine is he/she breaking?"

You figure that out, and it might be a very short conflict andno explosions!

A New Intelligent (and peaceful) Planet Of Love And Cooperation

OK.

Now how do you get them to leave Stupidupon?

You suggest you each leave your current planets, and reboot on ANOTHER planet. 

Ask for the person to try to talk to you with a notepad and pen when they get mad, just a couple times for the heck of it.

Generally, if two people care about the business, or each other, they will give each other THAT MUCH, and if they don't, it is time to consider finding another lover or business partner or person to live on your planet.

Fact is...they probably hate arguing and fighting as much as you do, right?

They hate conflict. 

There are psychopaths who will not put a pad of paper and pen in their hands because they are emotional. 

Take that as a tip. 

And, in a quiet moment, most people are agreeable to most things, if you influence them to your way of thinking....

As always leave a man or woman all the better for knowing you. 

Average men and women know only the rules. 

Masculine Men and Feminine Women know and are the EXCEPTIONS!

For Love, Passion and Intimacy...

Ange Fonce


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