Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Conflict Management 4

Accept Personal Responsibility

Feelings and behavior are not always a direct result of another’s behavior. My feelings are usually the result of what the others’ behavior means to me.  

If Karen comes home from work and fails to speak to me, I could respond with anxiety, hurt, and anger. Or, I could respond with empathy. What makes the difference? The difference in my feeling state is directly related to my perception of what her behavior means. 
If I perceive that Karen is worn out after work and needs some peace and quiet before she has enough energy to relate, I can respond with an empathic comment. However, if I think she is rejecting me, I will feel upset.

Note that Karen does not make me feel mad, sad, or glad.  My feelings are actually the result of my own thoughts.
I could say: “You make me so mad when you come home from work and don’t even say a word. What is wrong with you? Why are you so cruel to me?” This is an illogical statement that gives my wife power over my thoughts and feelings.  In fact, whenever I use a You statement to describe my feelings, I am giving power to others.  Since I do not like to give power over my thoughts and feelings to others, I try to remember to use I statements. Example: “Karen, it doesn’t feel good when you come in the house without speaking. I wonder if I have done something wrong.”
Scale of Reactivity

Perfect Peace  -----------------------------------------Reactivity

People that overreact emotionally to unimportant events are probably feeling the other person's feelings.  A strong reaction means that my mind, emotions and body go into high gear when the person to whom I am connected says something different from my own thoughts.  

Some people have stronger emotional reactions than the activity warrants. My granddaughter recently went into an angry funk when her brother said he wanted to sit next to me rather than her. She pouted, shouted, and acted very hurt. Her reactivity was high even though the event was not a big deal.
If I go into a raging attack when Karen does not speak as soon as she comes home, it is obvious that I have over reacted.  Karen’s behavior might be at most level two on a ten-point scale, but my emotional reaction to her was an eight or nine.
Responding at the same level of the event indicates more internal peace or less anxiety.  Responding means I have perceived the events realistically and am allowing the Holy Spirit to control my feelings. My mental and emotional faculties correlated closely with reality.  I do not overreact, but respond with emotions that are appropriate to the situation.  

Not long ago I overreacted to my wife. She left the computer on overnight, and I became angry and acted badly toward her. That was my sin. Her mistake was to leave the computer on, but mine was yelling at her!
When I am at peace with myself, I do not give other people’s behavior power over my feelings, no matter what they say to me. However, when I love and respect another person, I may give them too much power over my reactions. Every remark can cause me to react. 
·       Reactions: Emotional states that are more intense than the situation warrants.
·       Responses: Emotional and behavioral actions in line with the facts.

In both cases we need to interact with I statements rather than You statements because we choose to feel our feelings. No one else is causing me to feel this way.  (Note: My immediate feelings may be automatic but over time I can change the feelings by renewing my mind according to the scripture.) 

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