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Thursday, 8 March 2012

Conflict Resolution

I have had a few conflicts recently both within Eating Disorder world and in my personal life.  I try to bear this list in mind.  At the moment, I need an 8th option - any ideas?

"Everyone has to deal with difficult people, whether they are argumentative, abusive, stubborn, or combative. The question is, how can you assert your own rights without creating an unnecessary incident?

In most cases, angry people are screaming to be heard. They want to be valued, loved, and listened to. They want to feel important but aren’t able to express themselves constructively. With the right attitude, it’s possible to get past these insecurities and reach an understanding.

These 7 strategies will help you setting disputes quickly and peacefully for the benefit of everyone involved:

1. Remain calm. Be still and say nothing. Let the storm run its course. Often times the angry person wants to provoke you. Arguing is ineffective because it raises barriers.

2. Let the other person do the talking. He or she will soon grow tired of it. Sometimes that’s all they want. To be heard. To feel important. Everyone wants to feel important. Some people just express it in ways that are counterproductive.

3. Genuinely consider the other person’s point of view. Imagine yourself in his shoes. Never say “you’re wrong.” In fact, try hard to look for areas of agreement and build on them.

4. There’s power in the words “Yes, yes, I see exactly what you’re saying. You mean…….” This shows the other person you hear him/her. That’s all they usually want — to be validated. By agreeing with them, you gradually break down the other person’s anger.

5. If the situation turns verbally abusive, put a stop to it. Firmly but calmly state: “You’re very angry right now and you’re saying things you don’t mean (give them the benefit of the doubt). I’m going to excuse myself. We can talk again after you calm down.” Then leave the room or ask them to leave.

6. If you are wrong, quickly admit it and take responsibility. You could say, “You’re absolutely right, it is my fault and here is what I’ll do to fix it.” Even if you’re NOT wrong, at least give them the benefit of the doubt, “I may be wrong, let’s look at the facts together.” It’s hard to argue with that!
These words have tremendous power. Not only does it validate the other person’s viewpoint but it also diffuses the tension. You might be surprised by what happens afterwards. The person could end up defending you. You’d be amazed how an attacker suddenly becomes an ally.

7. Use the power of visualization. If you’re dealing with someone you interact with on a daily basis (like a boss or co-worker), try to imagine that person as a loving spiritual being. "


  1. Those are excellent strategies! My only idea for an 8th way to deal with difficult people is to remove yourself from the situation for as long as it takes for you to calm down yourself. Staying on the hot seat when you are riled up can only make things worse. I have an incredibly hard time doing this myself, in fact. Have I ever been able to do it? Only a few times, and then only since I have gotten old.

  2. I run and hide... Pathetic, I know, but I hate conflict and I'm useless at being assertive.


    1. Positive Assertiveness takes a heck of a lot of practice. Seeking and obtaining therapy to learn how to do this using Charlotte's above suggestions as well as those proposed by Dr. Xavier Amador in his theory of communication called LEAP have truly helped me to learn how to step back, draw boundaries, keep calmer than I used to, and reach a solution that works for all. Takes a lot of work. Thanks for this list, Charlotte. I hope someday to meet you.

    2. I am currently working on the "If you keep your head below the parapet, they won't know where to aim" strategy......

  3. Point 7: (Use the power of visualisation)... Dare I quote my mother? OK, I will... She says that when she is dealing with very difficult and powerful people who make her anxious or upset she imagines them naked, sitting on the toilet. Thereafter, she is no longer in awe of them...