Conflict # 35 – Name that Conflict

Having led conflict resolution workshops since 2004, one common problem has popped up more often than all the others. That is the failure to identify the conflict in a way that could lead to a solution.

As has been mentioned before, the resolution of a conflict ends up the way it begins. Just as it is essential to start on a positive note and find some common ground, it is essential to identify the conflict accurately. This is trickier than it sounds, and it takes a lot of thought.

In my private practice I always ask “What is the problem?” In working with couples, nearly always it’s “communication”. And when we dig a little deeper, we might find that the real problem is that she, having been raised by alcoholics, is afraid to speak her mind. When conflict arises, she panics. Or in another case, he refuses to believe that talking solves anything, and that action is the only thing that matters. He has no idea that she needs conversation as a way to stay connected. In both cases poor communication is not the real problem, it’s a symptom of deeper problems.

Similarly, the real conflict is not always what it appears to be. Bob and Mary want to take their kids, Justin and Tiffany, on vacation. Bob wants to play golf, but Mary wants to go where there’s a beach; and the kids want to go to an amusement park. They argue and get nowhere. What is the actual conflict? It’s not that they disagree. The actual conflict lies in the fact that none of them will compromise. The source of the conflict is each person’s stubbornness. That is the thing that needs to change. Unfortunately, people do not address the core issues, instead they fuss over the little stuff, and that’s why they never get anywhere.

If you regularly fight with someone, you go around in circles and always end up where you started, call me for a free consultation. The number is 219-309-3928. If you’re strongly motivated to solve this problem, I can help you.

Thanks for reading!