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Letting Conflict Define Us

Conflict Management Blog by Cinnie Noble

There are times we get so caught up in a dispute that we become defined by it. In other words, our life focuses on being in conflict and the associated emotions and dynamics, such that our scope of life is limited. We view everything around us in negative terms. Pessimism, negativity, hopelessness, sadness, despair, anger and other feelings prevail.

It’s not an easy (or straightforward) task to consider why some disputes take over our being at these times and why or how we let certain people or situations overwhelm us. Being in such states of heart and mind in which we are attached to a conflict often alienates others, takes up energy and time (ours and others), and otherwise consumes us.

Why does this occur? It may be because the other person has deeply undermined something important to us; she or he may have hurt us to our core by something said or done; our sense of security, what we value and believe is true might feel threatened; we might perceive or experience that our safety is at risk; and other reasons knock us off balance as to be totally enveloped by being wronged.

The impact of such reactions to the other person and the conflict situation is dramatic – not only for us. Those around us also become involved in various ways and often, against their desire to be part of the toxicity ailing us. That is, sympathy and empathy may diminish and support we counted on might get lost.

If you have found yourself defined by a conflict, this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog might be helpful to explore.

What is the conflict about?

In what ways have you become defined by it?

What specific definition might you use to describe yourself?

What feelings are you experiencing?

How might others observing/hearing you talk about the conflict define you?

What keeps you most attached to this conflict?

What might it take for you to become less attached to this conflict?

How will you define yourself when you are no longer attached to the conflict?

What feelings will describe you, then?

What difference in what and how you will be is the most compelling reason to let go of the conflict? What is most compelling about staying attached to it?

What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?

What insights do you have?


Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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