In working through disagreements and various forms of conflict, we can easily get stuck and may not always know how to move forward or have constructive conversation. This video is a great resource and offers guidance for working through conflict. In addition to the link, I have included a written guide based on the video. I hope you find this helpful in your relationship.
Conflict Resolution Questions to Guide Conversation
1.)How do I feel?
-Use an “I” statement and just one feeling/emotion word: “I feel _________”
-Do not insert additional thoughts, interpretations, or other things about your partner.
2.) What do I want?
-What is it we are fighting for?
-What is my/our larger life dream?
3.) How does the past play into the present?
-How is it affecting me now?
4.) What do I get out of staying stuck?
-What is being reinforced for me?
5.) What needs to be said (to your partner)?
-In a structured way: What hard truth needs to be told?
6.) What agreements have I broken?
-Opportunity to take ownership of broken agreements; both known and unknown/hidden.
7.) How can I be of service to my partner?
I have been debating whether to write about this as it is a hot button issue and it could be seen as political. But we are in a moment as a nation. Perhaps several moments, depending on the issue being talked about at any given moment in the media. However, the way we treat each other, learn to respect other's bodies, space, and personhood, matters deeply to me and many people I know.
Something I highly value as a social worker and counselor is empowering others to become healthier, better humans. Among many that I work with, this includes survivors of various types of trauma, including sexual assault. It also includes people who may have views and beliefs which end up limiting the potential of their humanity as well as that of others. This includes views about gender that may limit one's potential to see themselves and others more wholly. But no matter the side of any relationship in which you find yourself, I'm here to say that I believe there is always room for healing and growth. It's up to you whether you are ready to take steps towards yours.
So here is what I have to say about the issue of sexual harassment, assault and the present moment in our nation. I believe this has triggered many of us in different ways. For survivors, you may be triggered and/or re-traumatized by the Supreme Court nomination hearings and the outcome that has now come to bear. For those who are connected to survivors, you may be feeling the pain again of when your friend/loved one first told you of their experience. For others, particularly men, I know many of you are questioning past actions that may have or actually did hurt someone in this way. And you may be wondering whether you have done what you could to make things right and grow to become a better human being. No matter where you find yourself in this, I hope you are not trying to navigate this alone and that you have someone or many someones to walk with you through this. We need the community and perspectives of others more than ever in this time. We need to find the courage and humility to speak out. Because when we isolate and keep it all in, that pain, anxiety, depression, and shame will eventually destroy us. So please take that step towards the light.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope this has been helpful for you. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback below.
So I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time, and it has been strongly encouraged by mentors in the field. As I embark on this new venture, I want to pause and recognize that we all have a lot of information (social media, news, emails, kids' grades/behavior in school, etc.) coming at us constantly and this can be overwhelming in both subtle and more obvious ways. My goal with this blog is that it will hopefully be the opposite for you, and that it will be a place where you can find unique reflections on issues that affect us all. And the reflections are unique in the sense that I write from my personal and professional experience. I also want to empower you in remembering that you have choice with the information you consume and allow to influence your life. So I am honestly not offended if you pass over the blog.
With that said, I hope this is helpful to you. I welcome comments and feedback on content that I post, as well as content or themes you would like to see in the blog. Thanks for taking the time to read.
Isaac Jacobs, LCSW, is a counselor serving individuals, families, and adolescents. He specializes in improving communication between couples, working through life crises and transitions, and working on overcoming barriers to growth.