2003-10-24 / Community

The Inner Voice

by Marilyn Gelfand
The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

What do you do when you are in a situation of conflict? Flight or fight has been the most common approach. I’m one of those people that dislikes when people start yelling. Other people I know thrive on conflict. Over the years, I’ve learned to develop a thick skin and now I can handle it much more easily. The first thing to keep in mind is that conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. If both people listen to what the other is saying it can lead to a deepening of the relationship with mutual respect for the differences. In a group situation, there is the storming phase when people stop acting nice to each other and then express their true opinions. If people keep working at it, then a true group can be formed with openness for everyone’s viewpoint as input. So, don’t be afraid of conflict.

You do not have to be bullied by anyone. If someone demands an answer, decide whether or not you want to give it. Silence is another approach. Let the timing be your own, and don’t get caught up in trying to please everyone. A situation will develop that didn’t make someone happy, and you’ll get blamed or be the bad guy anyway. Let things take their natural course. etimes if you wait or are silent, the other person has no one to fight with. Then a discussion may ensue. have to wait till a week goes by before broaching the subject. Make sure your side is heard. If it is eating away at you, you will only allow the energy to grow, rather than dealing with it and letting it go. If it is something not important, or if you are in a rotten mood, you may want to wait till you can more accurately look at yourself and decide if something is important enough to make an issue of.

I am always amazed at how people see things differently. If it can be done with levity, go for it. Humor is often the best way to change energy. Remind both of you that it is not earth shattering so it can be dealt with in a calmer fashion. Detachment from yourself really does bring in calmness. I know that this too shall pass. But it is critical to know the difference between conflict and being abused. If you are abused repetitively, it may be time to let the other person go. Sometimes just the idea that you may leave is enough to shock the other person into behaving differently. However, it should be real, not an act. People usually sense when another is serious or just saying something. If you are willing to release someone, then your boundary will protect you from other people getting a chance to hurt you. Remember that often the biggest intimidators turn into the biggest victims when the intimidation doesn’t work.

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