Conquering Conflict – Part Five: What Style Do You Use Most Frequently?

When the phone rang, I didn’t have the emotional energy to deal with another confrontation. My ex-husband was calling and I knew he had been in the hospital from another drug overdose. My daughter had talked to him earlier in the week and filled me in on the details. But, of course, he told her not to tell me. Lying is part of the sickness of addiction.

Avoiding conflict is another style we use in conflict. I had intentionally avoided the conflict that day, knowing I would not handle the situation well at the moment. But I did later call and confront him. My girls don’t deserve the emotional pain they go through because of his choices, and once again, I asked him to please get help.

If we avoid conflict at every turn, we don’t solve our problems. The timing of  the encounter may be altered if emotions are high, but we must talk about our conflict and how to work through it.

Another style used in conflict is playing the victim role. This happens when one of the parties in conflict gets on his pity pot and sulks about what happened. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of the situation, he points the finger at others involved and never looks at his own part of the conflict. He chooses to feel sorry for himself and gains satisfaction by getting everyone around to feel sorry for him also.

This style magnifies the situation because the sulking person drags others into the conflict with his self-pity and ruminating actions. The conflict is never resolved.

We’ve looked at several styles used in conquering conflict this past week: peacemaking, dominating, avoiding, and victimizing. Each of these styles uses less than ideal ways to work through conflict (although can be approprate at certain times). In our next post, we will talk about the best way to conquer conflict in blended families.

Have you noticed what style you use? Is it working for you?


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