It happens, at times, that we get in our own way when a conflict erupts or is about to. This means doing things like making assumptions about the other person without checking them out; blaming; taking all the responsibility; not taking any responsibility; yielding; avoiding; name-calling; withdrawing; having selective recall that serves us only; not forgiving; not apologizing for our part; and so on.
These and other ways we might choose to manage a fractious interaction get in our way of effective engagement and satisfactory resolution. Essentially, by choosing to speak and act in counterproductive ways, we sabotage a dispute’s potential for success, for reconciliation and for mutual understanding.
Your answers to the following questions about a specific situation in which you may have gotten in your way might provide insights into how and why:
- What was the situation?
- In what ways did you get in your own way?
- For what reasons did you do that (your answer to the previous question)?
- What about how you got in your way in that situation indicates a pattern you have about how you generally manage conflict?
- What sorts of triggers bring on that way of reacting, i.e. the person, the issue(s), the dynamic between you and the other person, etc.?
- What metaphor might describe you or the method you use to get in your own way when in conflict?
- What happens when you get in your way? What stops you from getting out of your own way?
- What methods have you used to get out of your own way in the past?
- How might one or more of those methods work in the situation you described (in response to the first question)?
- How might you stop yourself from getting in your way in the future?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?