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Conflict Resolution Series: Common Mistakes People Make

No one with a healthy mind likes conflict. Being at odds with others isn’t a fun place to be and fighting never feels energizing. As a matter-of-fact, it’s draining. Most people would like to believe that they want to resolve conflict the sooner the better, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes people end up derailing their conflict resolution before things get better. But, why?

Why do good people end up in unresolved conflict?

Why can’t people who love each other move towards peace?

Why do some people seem to thrive in chaos and conflict? Many of these answers lie in the psychology behind what motivates people to do what they do. Some people have been conditioned to argue. Though it seems counterproductive, they like the tension and attention that conflict brings. In cases such as these, a deeper dive into their behavior is in order, but for everyday types of conflict there are some common mistakes people make that derail their conflict resolution.

  • They get triggered

  • They use damning language

  • They avoid resolution because of shame

  • They withhold resolution as a form of power

These are some common ways that good people who mean well, keep resolution at arm’s length. Let’s take a look:

Mistake #1. Becoming triggered

Being in conflict triggers baggage brought on from the past. Somewhere, sometimes, something happened, and it created a trigger point. When a similar experience comes up, it derails the situation. It can be a word, a phrase, a mannerism, even a smell or sound. Being triggered often results in a flashback of memories and unrealistic attachments between the past and the current conflict. Triggered people do not use active listening or fight fair. They are reactionary and need a physical breather to refocus and come back later to resolve the current conflict.

Mistake #2. Using damning language

Damning language isn’t the same as foul language. Damning language in a conflict uses global statements that judge and condemn, leaving very little room for grace. Phrases like “You always” or “You never” condemn people and their character summing them up into unrealistic boxes that don’t accurately reflect who they are. Chances are the offending party “sometimes” or “occasionally” does something unsavory, but their behavior is what should be in question, not their character.

Mistake #3. Avoiding resolution because of shame

Some people have a shame-based nature. Their ego and their shame refuse to allow them to admit when they are wrong or unveil their innermost feelings, which could bring them closer to others. Shame-based people live life filled with a sense of being on the outside looking in. They are consumed with feelings of lack and disconnection and in conflict are often too stubborn to save face and humble themselves.

Mistake #4. Withholding resolution as a form of power

Passive aggression is a crazy-making way to live. Being in a relationship with someone who is nodding yes, but acting no is very difficult. Some people withhold conflict resolution as a form of power. Making people grovel, prove their allegiance to gain favor, or jump through ridiculous hoops in order to be back on track is not conflict resolution. The hallmark of conflict resolution is the equitable division of power. Both parties are equally responsible for the resolution.

Falling into the common traps and making these mistakes might be something you weren’t aware you were doing. Knowledge is power. If you see yourself - or someone you’ve had conflict with - behaving in this manner, identify the mistake and change it for a healthier way to resolve conflict.

Are you ready to improve some area in your life with coaching? Call me to see if it’s a good fit… +1 971-319-0452 or email


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