Conflict, no one enjoys it, no one thrives with it, and it is rarely productive.
When there is a conflict there tends to be 2 ways we look at:
Someone must be blamed. Someone must be doing it wrong. It is oh so easy to enter the Blame Game.
Usually, one person isn’t completely to blame, as the expression goes “it takes two to tango.” Still, we waste so much time living in the blame game. Either beating ourselves up or being critical of the other person. The blame game happens for many reasons, most of them out of our control. In the middle of a conflict, things get heated, we get triggered, and our insecurities, shame, anxieties, fears hit full force, and the Monger Vortex begins. Once we have entered the Monger Vortex things feel out of control. Our Mongers start ‘driving the bus‘ and to make ourselves feel better about the situation…we step into the Blame Game. The Blame Game provides an outlet for our anxiety and fear. It provides a place to put our doubts and insecurities. And best of all it prevents us from being vulnerable. If we are so wrapped up in the drama of the Blame Game, we don’t have to figure out what is going on, what it is we need in a situation or worse ask for what we need.
So, you may be asking, once the Mongers are driving what am I suppose to do. This is where the real Live Happier work comes into play.
Step 1. Recognize your Monger patterns. What does it FEEL like when the Monger’s are driving the bus?
I know for me when I notice I am wrapped up in self-justification and telling the story over and over so I can justify my behavior and how RIGHT I am I am probably riding in a Monger ridden bus. OR when I shut down discussion I have turned the blame on myself and my Mongers are moving on up to the front of the bus. I have learned to recognize my patterns.
Honestly, if you can simply hang out in Step 1 for awhile, you will live happier. Knowing and recognizing when you aren’t driving the bus anymore is priceless. But let’s check out Step 2.
Step 2. Take Back the Bus, Step out of the Blame Game Ask yourself what is it I need here? And get specific.
The reason you are in conflict is because on some level your needs are not getting met. Step 2 requires you to get curious. It requires some heavy duty honesty. Sometimes the answer isn’t one you want to hear or share. Stepping out of the Blame Game requires vulnerability, clarity, and compassion.
Resolving conflict isn’t about figuring out who is wrong. Resolving conflict is about bringing curiosity, awareness, and compassion to the table, lovingly reminding the Mongers that you are driving the bus, and responsibility getting the needs met of all the parties involved.
I would love to hear from you in the comments. Do you agree? What are your Monger patterns?
One of the things I hate about the corporate world is this need to find someone to blame when something goes wrong. Sometimes we do need to find the root cause of a problem so that we can hold the appropriate party accountable, or determine who has the onus of restitution. But finding out whose “fault” it is, is not an end in itself. Figuring out who screwed the pooch doesn’t fix anything.
I find sometimes that when I’m caught up in my own righteous indignation at how I’ve been wronged, there is often something about the situation I’m not accepting. When I’m clutching my pearls, repeating “Can you BELIEVE how so-and-so acted?! How she TREATED ME?!” I’m either not accepting the relationship I DON’T have with that person, or I’m not accepting that my perception around how she treated me is valid. So I’m either hanging out in the drama of being offended, because the next step (maybe curtailing that person’s place in my life) is painful. OR I might be seeking validation from others, because my own sense of “hey that’s not cool” isn’t strong enough for me to trust it.
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