Conflict # 17 – The Blame Game

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re interested in improving your way of handing conflicts. I appreciate that, and am confident this article will help you.

Please don’t try to apply this information at the workplace or with people you’re not close to.
For this article, the focus is on close personal relationships only.

When you get into an argument, do you and the other person find yourselves blaming each other? Do you use words that ‘label’ the other person such as, ’you’re selfish, you’re lazy, you’re stubborn’, etc.? Obviously, this does no good. Back and forth it goes, and everyone gets frustrated.

Communication and conflict resolution are two-way streets. Everyone involved plays a role in creating and furthering conflicts, even if they’re not the ones who created them in the first place. In order to break the cycle, all must come to accept that fact and take responsibility for their part.

When we blame and label others, we usually start by saying “you”. As in, “You never do what you say you’ll do … you always turn it back on me”, etc. If you start your sentence with “you”, unless you’re supporting the other person, you’re going to get a defensive reaction. They attack, then you defend. And so on.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this cycle of mutual blame and labeling.

For years I’ve taught a skill called the ‘feeling statement’, or ‘I’ statement. Instead of saying “you” do this or that, tell the person how this conflict is affecting how you feel; that is, what emotion you feel when the other person says or does something hurtful. Don’t use the phrase “I feel like” or “I feel that”, because that only leads to the expression of an opinion or a judgment. No one appreciates being judged. The key is to talk to each other from your heart, based on the way you actually feel. If the other person cares about your feelings, he or she should respond in a positive, caring way. If they don’t give you that consideration, there’s a way to deal with that, too. And that’s another piece of the conversation.

If you’d like to know more about how to handle conflicts effectively, all you need to do is reach out by calling 219-309-3928. I’d be glad to give you a free consultation.

Thanks for reading!