The Cycle of Conflict

Donna White

Donna White

By Donna White, Principal Consultant and Owner of Legacy Consulting Services and Legacy Billing Solutions in Montgomery, Alabama.

Conflict is an unavoidable event in our lives. Be it at work, at home, at school, or any organizational event, conflict will eventually arise. Knowing how to help resolve the cycle of conflict can help stop things before they get out of control.

First, let’s take a look at the cycle of conflict and how it progresses and escalates.

Cycle of Conflict

NOTE: The broken lines indicate strategic points where the conflict can stop.

If the cycle of conflict is to be broken, one person must be willing to accept an “I’m Responsible” attitude by applying encouraging words and health behaviors (the broken line points) to the situation. In other words, one person must reflect and respond appropriately, rather than REACT. This kind of action is what is needed to turn the situation into a more positive direction.

ANGER may be thought to be the primary fuel in conflict because it is most readily seen. However, FEAR and HURT are the roots. Anger is actually a secondary emotion. When we recognize and acknowledge the fear or hurt that is present, the challenge soon begins to dissipate – like smoke into the air! The idea is to REFLECT and RESPOND before you REACT.

It may sound impossible. However, when you are presented with a conflict of any sort, take a moment to stop, take a deep breath and consider, “Why does this hurt me?” Then determine the best way to articulate that reason to the person with whom you are in conflict when the time is right. Make sure they are at a point where they will be able to take a deep breath and consider their response as well.

No one enjoys conflict. But it is an unavoidable fact of life. Knowing the tools to deal with conflict in your life can save more hurt and regret over time.

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