Conflict # 50 – Projection

In a previous article, making incorrect assumptions was identified as a source of conflict. Let’s look at just one particularly damaging assumption.

That incorrect assumption is that the other person is like you; and if he’s not, that he should be.

To illustrate, think of an imaginary couple, Brad and Scarlett. Brad loves getting a massage when he’s tense. He loves holding hands, and he loves getting a hug or a pat on the back. Scarlett does not; she’s one of those people who doesn’t like to be touched. Unfortunately, Brad doesn’t get it, and he assumes that she is like him; after all, “Who doesn’t love a massage?” So, when he senses she’s stressed, he gives her a little shoulder massage. She flinches and tells him to stop. He’s offended and wonders what he did wrong, or what might be wrong with her. If this happens often enough, he may think twice before giving her affection, period. Then she’ll wonder what’s wrong with him? Or what’s wrong with me? It’s easy to see how this will create problems down the road.

Gary Chapman’s wonderful book, “The 5 Love Languages”, explains that every individual experiences being loved in his or her unique way. That is, each of us has our own special love language. Some of us like to be touched; that makes us feel loved. Others love to hear encouraging and loving words; or they merely love spending time together.

Here’s the question. Can you accept the idea that it’s okay for the other person to be different? If not, your inability to do that could result in a surprisingly bad outcome. So, you may benefit from addressing this with the right professional.

If so, I’d be more than happy to provide a free consultation. Just call 219-309-3928. I’ve been coaching conflict resolution since 2004, and would be honored to be of assistance.

Thanks for reading.