Strong emotions are both a cause and result of conflict. People in conflict have a variety of strong and often negative emotions. These emotions often conceal the issue in dispute. The emotions are real though and must be addressed for the conflict to be resolved comfortably for everyone involved.
Maintaining emotional control when we deal with relationship conflicts is probably the most important step, and the most difficult. People can reduce escalation of negative attitudes by learning methods to process anger, create healthy alternatives to destructive responses, and create dialogue to discuss the issue while maintaining control. Here are some actions to take when trying to maintain control.
Stop and cool off – There is little point in trying to talk through the issues when both people are upset. Give it a little time and let tempers cool down. Come together when each party has achieved some sort of equilibrium.
Have everyone talk and listen to each other – Make sure that nobody is hiding from the issue at hand. Keep everyone talking and expressing themselves honestly and openly.
Find out what everyone needs – Sometimes these dialogues can focus on complaints rather than developing solutions. Determine what everyone needs from the situation and strive for a solution where everyone’s needs are met.
Brainstorm solutions – Everyone will have their own vision of an ideal outcome for themselves. The challenge will be to avoid forcing our solutions on the conflict situation and allow solutions to emerge out of creative thinking on everyone’s part.
Choose the idea that everyone can live with – One of the ways to break from a negative conflict cycle is to find solutions that you all feel are fair under the circumstances.
Create a plan and implement it – To make sure that the conflict does not re-emerge, you must make a blueprint. Plan ways of working together that will keep emotional outbursts to a minimum.