Polyamory readiness question #5: How do you handle conflict?

[caption id="attachment_173" align="alignright" width="250" caption="By Agata Urbaniak on stock.XCHNG"]By Agata Urbaniak on stock.XCHNG[/caption] Through miscommunication, boundaries accidentally being broken, or hurt feelings, there is the likelihood of tempers rising and conflict occurring.  In a polyamorous lifestyle, these issues cannot easily be ignored. You need to understand how you cope with conflict and stress, and how to resolve said conflict with as minimal /drama as possible. People have different ways that they cope with stress and conflict. We will take a few moments today to explore these in more detail.  There's 5 ways that people typically handle conflict.  I will relate each "type" to an animal: the Ostrich, the Sheep, the Snake, the Tiger, and the Owl The Ostrich:  The Ostrich likes to stick his head in the sand and ignore the issue. He may change the topic or suddenly become unavailable to talk.  In his mind, the conflict is a real crisis. He doesn't know how to fix the situation without risking other people becoming angry or hurt, so he would prefer to not deal with it. The Sheep:  In the face of conflict, the Sheep will follow the rest of the herd. She will typically agree to whatever solution makes others happy. The problem is that this solution may not be in her own best interest - meaning that the Sheep may end up on the short end of the stick for the sake of maintaining everyone else's happiness. The Snake:  Smooth and cunning, the snake will give the image of wanting to accommodate. She knows what she wants, but she thinks that if she was to assertively go for it, she would be met with aggression.  Rather than  try to handle the conflict directly, she will try to manage things through rumor and manipulation.  The Tiger: Grr! Rawr! The tiger has no difficulty in expressing his unease in the situation. The problem is, he only knows one way of communicating - with his claws. He shows no mercy in showing his disdain, and can be quite cutting in the process.  He wants people to adhere to his views on things, and with how scary the Tiger can be, it's a little intimidating to negotiate with him. The Owl:  The Owl will look at the situation calmly (or as calmly as possible) to try and understand the feelings and motivations of the other people involved. They will try to seek out an outcome that is beneficial for everyone involved. If sacrifices need to be made, the Owl will try to rationalize how those changes would benefit the whole, and relay those to others.  They will be assertive on their views without being overly attacking. Take a moment to examine how you handle conflict with others. Which of these animals best represents your coping style?  
Related sites:

Young Metro Poly » Blog Archive » Polyamory readiness questi (not verified) wrote:

Sun, 02/08/2009 - 12:49 Comment #: 1

[...] Reviewed your methods of conflict resolution [...]