Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Moving on From Conflict

I'm sure the adult way to deal with unresolved conflict is to just move on and forget it ever happened. Unfortunately I have never mastered the art of doing this.
I can remember every major fight, slight, or argument I've ever had with my husband. Fortunately there are not a lot to remember and we live in harmony most of the time now.
But I'm having a hard time at work forgetting those problems with the two difficult woman a couple of months ago. They are the ones that refused to sit down with me and work through our differences.
I sit in meetings with them and feel like screaming when they pontificate and try to convince everyone how smart they are. I feel like saying, "Have you noticed that many of the things I was saying have now been shown to be true?"
But instead they send me e-mail messages as though nothing ever happened. I respond and control my urge to say "I told you so."
It's obviously business as usual, but I have difficulty forgetting those awful meetings when we screamed at each other, when the one woman rolled her eyes at me. It would actually be a lot better for everyone concerned if I could just blank all that disagreement out of my mind, but unfortunately it just doesn't work that way for me.
Maybe there needs to be a corporate therapist who helps people deal with conflict. For some of us, it can stay there and fester for a long time. That can't be good.


Blogger Golden Silence said...

Some people refuse to think that they are capable of fault or hurting people's feelings...denying something happened makes it feel as if the problem "went away." I do think an office counselor is a good idea.

Off-topic, but you've been tagged.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

We've had "office counselors" of sorts in my office. I'm a big fan of communicating and trying to learn better ways to deal with conflict before it gets too bad.

Sometimes, though, it's easier to forget. People tend to think I'm angry if I'm direct (and I'm almost always direct). Miscommunication can be exacerbated by too much analysis.

I don’t know. I’m sorry it’s still uncomfortable!

12:56 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Miriam does office conflict resolution. She may be a good source to contact.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

If it's still bothering you, you might try asking yourself the four option questions: Starting with 1)"What am I unhappy about?" build off the answer and ask, 2), "What is it ABOUT that, that makes me unhappy?" Building off the answer to that, ask 3) "Why am I unhappy about that?" Building off that answer, ask, 4) "What would it mean if I were not unhappy about that?" Sometimes the anger we hold is at ourselves for not doing what we consider our best. Releasing that lets us see things in a different light.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

It might take some time before you can let go of all that nastiness. Keep breathing!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You're not alone. I remember all the conflicts I've ever had with anyone but time does make the hurt and anger lessen. I am way too sensitive and hold the hurt/anger/frustration for far too long.
I never bring it up again with the peson..I just bury it and try to pretend it didn't happen, but I visualize scenarios of talking about it with that person.

I need to learn to let things go and absolve any blame on myself or the other person. Because I'm not used to much conflict in my life, these instances stand out, causing me to dissect them, trying to figure out what it was all about. A friend said I should think, 5 years from now , is this going to be important or make a big difference in my life? Then, it might seem like small potatoes.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Everyone -- Thanks for your collective good ideas. I especially like the concrete steps listed by Pauline and MOI. Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a sick side of me that thrives on this grist that I am just not ready to part with.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I'd call it a competitive side rather than a sick one, but I think we hang onto anger for much the same reason we hang onto anything else - there's something in it for us. When you figure out what that is, you might be able to choose differently

6:22 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I agree with you. I have office conflict and it is difficult to forget it.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is said that you might not remember everything someone said to you but you sure remember how it made you feel. I always remember every word!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I don't hold onto the anger, but I do not forget. I use peoples' past to temper my future dealings with them.

If I bring up a past indiscretion, within a relevant context of course, it is not to rub their nose in it, but to simply state a fact. While past performance is no indication of future performance, it can be a useful predictor. (Or put another way, "If you keep doing what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten.")

6:52 PM  

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