Resolving Personal Conflicts Through Assertive Communication

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Introduction

“Conflict is a problematic situation that occurs between interdependent people who seek different goals or means to those goals (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).” Perceived differences can affect the relationship adversely if not addressed and is one of the characteristics of conflict. A sense of urgency about the need to resolve the differences are is another characteristics of conflict. While conflict occurs in many places – the workplace, between friends, parents and children, etc., one of the most difficult areas for conflict to occur is in a romantic relationship. Not resolving the conflict can cause resentment and a dampening of the feelings towards one another, and the urgency to resolve the differences is palpable.

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He would criticize you for the least little thing that you did or said, escalating it into a full-blown tirade. Trying to reason with him was useless. It would simply escalate his agitation, making you feel ridiculous for trying to discuss what he said, why he said it, or to find out the root cause of his hostility.

To analyze the conflict, the prelude to the conflict was a mixture of our living in close quarters, attempting to have a relationship with each other, and Rob’s pre-conceived opinions about women. The trigger event was the first time he showed me to the door when I disagreed with him about something. The initiation phase was when I didn’t exit the door, but tried to get to the root of his comment. The differentiation phase was when I attempted to start a dialogue about his statement, attempting to be empathetic and constructive, while he continued to escalate the conflict by using destructive strategies such as intimidation, accusations and threats. There was never a resolution phase. The differentiation phase seemed to go on forever. For almost five years.
After meeting his ex-wives and having conversations with them, I realized that there was a serious issue with our conflicts that probably would not be possible to resolve. His attitude with his former wives had been the same: If you didn’t like what he did, then you knew where the door was. Both related to me that he

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