To Fight or Force

I consider my goal as more important than caring for the relationship then and there.

To fight means to fulfill ones own goals at the expense of others. It is a power-oriented manner in which force or authority is used to gain an advantage; using ones ability to reason, ones rank or position. It withholds favors, resorting to economic sanctions.

For solutions that involve this power struggle, one person appears as a clear "winner" and the other as a "loser".

Application of the Five Styles

None of the five styles represent a "best way" to deal with conflict. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, i.e they are effective in different situations. Effective conflict management requires that I learn which style that is effective for me in what situation, and that I can apply the most effective style in that situation.

Filippa: What I've learned is that I "AM" not a style, but that I previously had one or two favorite styles that I usually utilized. When I dared to try other ways to manage conflict I learned to vary these styles as needed. Sure, I still easiest to use my favorite styles, but I have gained much by learning to use more of them.

The first step for me was to dare to expose myself to conflicts and notice how I reacted; did I go into defense, was I curious and did I lay flat on my back directly? When I had noticed this I tried to take a break by leaving or saying that we stop for a while. Then, I thought about what I wanted to try to do, that I usually did not do.

Then I went back and tried it while I took note of what result it ending up producting. Afterwards, I could usually talk to the one I had the conflict with in order to hear how he or she had perceived me before and after the break, and how the break had affected the two of us.

I have changed the meaning of conflict, I see it now more like "we have different ways of looking at things" or maybe not ...? Find out what the situations is instead of assuming that you are standing on opposite sides.

I have had several discussions where we are after a while, have concluded that we think the same thing even though we said it in different ways, misunderstandings are more common than you think. It is not as important to me today that the goal is that we think alike, but it's totally okay that we agree that we are not in agreement.

My goal now is to learn as much as possible about myself and about others.

One tip I can give is to break old patterns, often we have a pattern when we have conflicts with a certain person. Breaking this by doing something totally unexpected and crazy which makes you both lose focus on the conflict.

It can be anything from standing up and singing to throwing water, to asking a question about something completely different like "what was your absolute best day of your life?" Or "where are you most ticklish?". Then make sure they have to answer the question even though they want to continue the discussion.

They will then be forced to change their state in order to answer the question and you too in having to come up with the question. Then you have interrupted an old pattern, if you do this often you will have erased the old pattern and can then create a new one that is better.

Couple cuddling and smiling

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