Conflict is an unavoidable fact of life. From time to time everyone experiences the friction of conflict. It is natural, normal, and at time necessary. It can lead to change and improvement. But some people seem to be constantly caught in a conflict. Little things, big things, nearly all things lead to a conflict for a Conflict Personality. They are magnates to conflict, and lack the ability to get out once they are stuck. A Conflict Personality is often unaware of the role they play in getting in to conflict, and experience a great deal of frustration at not being able to avoid or resolve conflicts.
If you are in a relationship with a Conflict Personality, whether family, friend, social, or work related, it can be confusing and frustrating for both you and them. These are some clues to look for, to identify if the person in your life might be a Conflict Personality:
Rigid and Uncompromising
Emotions Dominate their Thinking
Difficulty Communicating without Attacking or Feeling Attacked
Difficulty Reflecting on Own Behaviors
Difficultly Empathizing with Other People
Focused on Blaming Other People
Refuses to take Responsibility
Depends on Others to Solve Problems
If someone in your life has four or more of these qualities, chances are they are a Conflict Personality.
Whatever you do, DO NOT call them a Conflict Personality. The label alone will likely start a conflict. You probably knew that instinctively. Anyways, it isn’t a diagnosis, it’s a private working theory to help you better avoid, navigate, and/or resolve conflict with these people in a peaceful and productive manner.
P.S. Conflict Coaching can be an excellent way to learn proven strategies for working, living, and being in relationships with Conflict Personalities. Through Conflict Coaching you can learn valuable skills for de-escalating and resolving conflicts in a peaceful and productive manner.
Esther DeWitt, M.S., CAMS, is an organizational psychology practitioner specializing in conflict, anger management and leadership issues. She is a Credential Mediator and Certified Anger Management Specialist. As president of Conflict Navigation, her services include mediation, conflict coaching, leadership and organizational consulting and training, anger management coaching, and curriculum and material development.
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