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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rules For Constructive Conflict


I asked Michael awhile ago, I mean several, several weeks ago to bring home a copy of the Rules of Constructive Conflict, by Bach and Deutscn. 1970. I hope you don't mind me posting it because I think it a great set of rules and guidelines in conflict resolution.



  1. Be specific when you introduce a gripe. (I can do better)

  2. Don't just complain, no matter how specifically; ask for a reasonable change that will relieve the gripe. (I know I can do better, I love to complain)

  3. Ask for and give feedback of the major points, to make sure you are heard, to assure your partner that you understand what he/she wants. (I think I do okay at this)

  4. Confine yourself to one issue at a time. Otherwise, without professional guidance, you may skip back and forth, evading the hard ones. (I try to do this)

  5. Do not be glib or intolerant. Be open to your own feelings, and equally open to your partner's. (I try to do this too, it is easier when you remember a rule farther down.)

  6. Always consider compromise. Remember, your partner's view of reality may be just as real as yours, even though you may differ. There are not many totally objective realities.

  7. Do not allow conterdemands to enter the picture until the original demands are clearly understood, and there has been a clear-cut response to them. (I'm not so good at this)

  8. Never assume that you know what your partner is thinking until you have checked out the assumption in plain language. Nor assume or predict how he/she will react, what he/she will accept or reject. Crystal-gazing is not for pairing. (I need to be better at this too.)

  9. Don't mind-rape. Ask. Don't correct a parnter's statement of his own feelings. Do not tell a partner what he should know or do or feel. (I think I do okay at this)

  10. Never put labels on a partner. Call him/her neither coward, nor a neurotic, nor a child. If you really believed that he/she was incompentent or suffered from some basic flaw, you probably would not be with him/her. Do not make sweeping, labeling judgments about his/her feelings, especially about whether or not they are real or important. (I am good about this, at least I think I do.)

  11. Sarcasm is dirty fighting (I really don't like sarcasm, so I think I do well at this)

  12. Forget the past and stay with the here-and-now. What either of you did last year or month or that moning is not as important as what you are doing and feeling now. And the changes you ask cannot possibly be retroactive. Hurts, grievances, and irritations should be brought up at the very earliest moment, or the parner has the right to suspect that they many have been saved carefully as a weapons. (I do this, I hate bringing up the past.)

  13. Do not overload your parner with grievances. To do so makes him/her feel hopeless and suggests that you have either been hoarding complaints or have not thought through what really troubles you. (I don't do this.)

  14. Meditate. Take time to consult your real thoughts and feelings before speaking. Your surface reactions may mask something deeper and more important. Don't be afraid to close your eyes and think. (I am really good at this. I want time alone, Michael likes to talk it out at first. He has learned to give me space and time. )

  15. Remember that there is never a single winner in an honest intimate fight. Both either win more intimacy, or lose it.

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