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Self-Blame in Conflict

Conflict
Management Blog
by Cinnie Noble

It happens for many of us that we take on the whole responsibility of our interpersonal conflicts – to our detriment. Owning our part is healthy and a reflection of conflict mastery. However, there is a good chance we both contributed and when we engage in self-blame, it is important to explore that and why. This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog aims to do so.

There are many reasons we might use self-blame. Low self-esteem, bad behavior that we regret and feel guilty about, feeling bullied to believe we are totally responsible, wanting to excuse the other person for any number of reasons, and so on.

To answer this week’s questions, it is suggested that you bring to mind an interpersonal dispute in which you are primarily blaming yourself for what occurred.

  • What was/is the dispute about?
  • For what are you blaming yourself?
  • For what reasons are you blaming yourself?
  • For what are you not blaming the other person that she or he said or did which contributed to the dissension?
  • What are you gaining from blaming yourself? What are you losing by self-blaming?
  • What need is satisfying your self-blame?
  • If you let go of the self-blame, how would you perceive the dispute differently? How might you perceive the other person differently?
  • If you perceived that both of you contributed to the dispute, what would be different about how you feel now about yourself? About the other person?
  • If it is not a matter of blame at all, but rather a sign of two people struggling to assert what’s important to them, what would you say is important to you in this dispute? What’s important to the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
                        author

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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