Conflict? Don’t ask me

You have a conflict? I am probably the last person you want to ask for advice from. I’m sure that my kids and the people I used to supervise will disagree. That’s different. Resolving conflict was my job in those instances.

Andrew Lam copyright

Andrew Lam copyright

My nickname tends to be the Queen of Denial, basically because you will find my head in the sand when the shit hits the fan. When personal conflict raises it’s ugly head, my facial expression tends to become a blank look with my mouth gulping air, just like a fish out of water. It really sucks because all the right words slam into my head a half hour later and I have no one to yell them at. It really gave my ex-husband the upper hand in our marriage, he was really good at conflict, especially starting it. I ran from conflict while he embraced it, reveled in it, rolled around in it like a puppy in a pile of leaves.

When there are angry people around me and the air is ripening with tension, I put on my superhero cape and start throwing out one-liners. Yup, I can’t resolve your conflict but I will attempt to diffuse it.

Case in point. My daughters were not allowed to resolve their issues by hitting each other. Yes, they were told not to stay still if someone hit them, but that only applied outside our door. I got home from work, one afternoon, to find them tangled up in each other. Yes, on the floor, arms and legs all over the place. Hands in each other’s hair. I calmly put my things in the kitchen and walked back into the living room. Still calm, I stepped over them and snatched up the tv’s remote control and said, “So, I guess it’s my turn to pick what we watch tonight”. With that I walked away to start dinner preparation.

Once I returned to the living room, everyone was in their neutral corner. The only thing I wanted to know was if the physicality was worth what the argument was about. With negative answers all around, I considered the matter closed with promises of dire consequences if I ever saw something like that again.

It’s an incident we still laugh about.

The advent of social media allows people to believe that they can air and resolve their personal conflicts on other people’s feeds. It’s not pretty to watch and it’s just unnecessary.  Conflicts are never two sided, but three sided, and the truth doesn’t always win.

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