Thought Stopping Once you learn about the distortions that are part of your automatic
thinking, you can then learn how to stop them in their tracks. This works through
a process of challenging your distorted thinking and developing a more rational,
alternative set of beliefs. . The end result is dissolving negative emotions and engaging in a healthy, more reasonable outlook, despite the situation.
•Rx # 2. - Identify Your Typical Conflict Management Habits
People resort to behavioral habits when they experience conflict with others. These
Non-productive behaviors, such as: confronting, dominating, defending, using sarcasm,
hostile humor, repressing emotions, insisting on being right, stonewalling, and blaming;
Neutral behaviors, such as: avoiding, cooling off, apologizing, and giving in or backing
off to avoid confrontation;
Positive behaviors, such as: active listening, empathizing, disarming, inquiring, and
using “I feel” statements.
The goal is to eliminate negative and neutral behaviors and practice positive
confrontation reduction skills until they become new habits. On the average, with
practice, these skills actually can be learned in only 21 days!
•Rx # 3. - Use These Powerful Confrontation Reduction Skills
Active Listening The key to all interpersonal communications is genuine listening.
This is different from defensive listening, which is where you internally plan your retort
while the other person is talking to you.
In order to really listen, paraphrase what the other person says in your own words. Do
this without judging, agreeing or disagreeing. Then, listen and reflect the content, needs
and feelings of the other person.
Next, ask for feedback to determine whether you interpreted correctly. If you have not,
ask for clarification. Continue this process until you are sure that you have heard what the other person is saying and how he or she really feels emotionally.
Once you are certain that you understand the message and feelings expressed by the other
person, respond. The other person then listens and paraphrases for you. This process
continues until you have both clarified your positions and are certain that the other person really heard you and understands.
Empathizing This involves putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and trying to see
the world through his or her eyes. As you do this, consider the age and experience of the person with whom you are in conflict so you can accurately assess the experience of the other person.
Disarming The fastest way to defuse an argument is to find some truth in what the other
person is saying, even if you do not agree with the basic criticism or complaint. For
example, saying “I can understand why you feel angry with me since you believe that I
violated your trust by sharing our conversation with dad” acknowledges and validates
the angry person’s feelings without actually agreeing with what was said. This opens the door to clarification, feedback and reconciliation.