Individual conflict assessment

Individual Conflict Assessment Social conflict is like a storm. If the interpersonal realm is like weather, the metrological forces in the atmosphere are like the behaviors people engage in to meet their needs and wants. When these forces meet certain conditions with respect to one another, the potential for a storm occurs. Sometimes, the resolution to the conflicting forces is a quick release of energy like a flash flood. At other times, the resolution is more longitudinal and time builds the momentum to sustain nuances like entire weather systems. Whether a brief exchange or a prolonged series of clashes, weather is an appropriate analogy for social conflict.
Conflict in my family of origin is best described as disparate. It has been such that the meteorological forces of some have traditionally absorbed the sentiment of others, or that the continued momentum of some behaviors has overrun the momentum of others. Conflict in my family has often been asymmetrical.
Personally, I have been feeling very stressed about conflict. I often feel that I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t. For example, if someone takes issue with me and I do not resist, they will often press until they see what they believe to be capitulation. Conversely, if someone takes issue with me and I object, they will often accuse me of being unruly or rude. What is worse is that more often than not, the issue is petty.
Likewise, I often felt much stressed about conflict within my family of origin. I often felt that my voice was not heard, that I was often framed, and that for me there was no real justice at home. When Mom and Dad were at work, it was survival of the fittest between the siblings present. Some days you were more fit than others, and sometimes you just didn’t have the strength to fight back. In the end, Mom and Dad rarely sided with me. I guess the stress comes from the knowledge that sometimes no one will be there to look out for you no matter how ugly things get.
The most disturbing conflict I have had over the past several years has been about my birthright. Since my dad passed away over 10 years ago, my family of origin has never willingly acknowledged my birthright. For me it is not really about material assets. It is more about feeling betrayed that my family of origin seemed to be willing to sacrifice my well-being for material gain. I was appalled.
I responded to it in many ways. I became angry and I fought and I fled and I chased. Finally, I sought outside assistance. This seemed to be most helpful. It seemed that this weather system that exists within my House dissipates when exposed to outside systems.
My conflict style is that I usually try to ” split the difference” in order to resolve an issue. I am often willing to compromise, but sometimes opportunists take it as a sign that it is safe to go for my throat, that I am not able to defend myself. Thus, greater conflict ensues.
I’ve learned that the way I handle conflict may be related to the way conflict panned out in my family of origin. I also learned that it is sometimes helpful to seek mediation. Furthermore, I am mindful that not everyone thinks the way I do, and some see conflict as a zero-sum game instead of an opportunity for both sides to win.
Social conflict is like a storm. If we constantly oppose one another’s efforts, often times needs only get met disparately. If we can guide seemingly opposing agendas together, the resultant force is greater than the sum of its parts, and everyone can have there needs met overwhelmingly.
A. Rahim and N. R. Magner (1995), ” Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict: First-Order Factor Model and Its Invariance across Groups,” Journal of Applied Psychology 80, no. 1, 122-132.