Guest Article by Sherry Gaba
Conflict is difficult for many people. People with codependency often learn to avoid conflict due to fear of abandonment, rejection, and/or criticism. Learning conflict resolution skills makes it easier to handle conflict effectively so you learn not to fear confrontation. Often with the need to people please and receive outside validation, codependents avoid confrontation.
The following are skills you can use to lean into conflict in a healthy way rather then avoid it all together:
- Prepare by getting clear about the problem.Clarify your position by writing down talking points as reminders and to keep you focused.
- Practice your talking points with a friend or in the mirror.
- Use deep breathing to control your anxiety prior to the meeting. Take conscious breaths during the discussion.
- Be ready to experience the “newness” that change brings. If you can shift your thinking from a focus on the unknown to recognize that change involves “newness”—new things, people, places, and ideas—with at least some of it bringing excitement and interest, you’ll feel a whole lot better about it.
- Be clear about your bottom line and the things you are willing to negotiate. Understand that negotiation is part of the process and expect it.
- Look for points of agreement. Find things that you agree on and talk about how to find a win-win solution that benefits everyone.
- Do your homework. It helps to have a good idea of what the other person wants to strengthen your position in negotiations.
- Use assertive language. “I want. . .” Or “I would like. . .” Ask what the other person wants, then work toward a solution that works for both of you.
- Ask for clarification or details about anything you are unclear on.
- Take a break. If you feel overwhelmed by the process, take a break. Go to the restroom or get a drink and take some deep breaths.
- Give positive feedback. Let the other person know that you see their point of view, or agree on certain key issues.
- Table it. If you do not get the minimum you are asking for, suggest that you table the discussion for now and talk about it again later. Don’t give up or give in unless you are certain you have reached a stalemate.
Download a FREE Worksheet PDF file called “Areas of Change” that will help you develop the techniques discussed in this article.
Sherry Gaba helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you’re struggling with co-dependency, sign up for a 30-minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break-up. For more information visit www.sherrygaba.com or sign up today for Sherry’s online group coaching program. Buy her books Love Smacked: How to Break the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to find Everlasting Love or Infinite Recovery