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resolving interpersonal conflict

I have never been good at resolving interpersonal conflicts.  I should probably work on this.  It’s easier (in a sense) when I’m the one in the wrong, because I do at least know how to apologize.  The hardest part tends to be figuring out what I did wrong and working on avoiding in the future.

For some reason it’s harder when someone else hurt me.  In general, I have three basic ways of dealing with it.

1) I can just suppress that there’s any issue.  Sometimes this works, and sometimes it’s a problem.  Sometimes an issue can turn into a non-issue without needing any other kind of active resolution, so a little bit of suppressing my annoyance can work.  Case in point – I recently visited my mom.  She has a habit of forgetting everything.  In fact, it seems that she is only capable of actively remembering what is right in front of her face.  Then I remembered that she once mentioned something about ADD and realized that I really shouldn’t take it personally when she forgets all about me – she just can’t help it.  So I can accept that she’s doing her best and take up the slack in this issue, and it’s ok.  The issue was resolved much better than it may have been if I brought it up, as that may have created a conflict or caused her pain or whatever else.  Of course, sometimes (often?) suppressing an issue does not work, and it cannot simply turn into a non-issue with a few mental tweaks.

2) I can bring it up and try to actively resolve the issue cooperatively with the other person.  I think that this is supposed to be the best way to do it, but I really hate it.  Telling another person that they hurt me puts me into a vulnerable position and gives them power over me to hurt me more.  Not everyone is kind enough to refrain from using that power.  Plus, being vulnerable to another person is inherently kind of painful.  So if they decide they don’t want to work things out with me, I have put myself in a vulnerable position (hurt myself) for nothing.  So while this is technically the right answer, I prefer to avoid it.

3) I can cut the person out of my life.  This is drastic, but it does turn any issue into a non-issue… sort of.  Sometimes this is the right answer for real, but I have been told that sometimes it is not.  Sometimes I don’t want to use this solution, but if the first two fail then it’s all I have left.

I have absolutely no idea if there are other ways of resolving conflicts and hurts.  I’m guessing my focus should be on getting more comfortable with #2, but I really have no idea how that could happen.  I don’t even like making requests of people or asking for things because of that vulnerability thing.  Which I now realize, having just typed that out, might be something to address more directly.  That will certainly be challenging.

Oh yeah, and there’s that perseverance thing.  When someone hurts me, it’s a fairly sure thing that I will go over it in my head again and again and again and again ad infinitum.  Some people seem to be able to get over things just by time passing.  I very much doubt that I will ever be one of those people.  Even if it eventually reaches the point where I only occasionally go over it in my mind, the issue is still there.  I really doubt that will ever change.  Time most certainly does not ‘heal all wounds.’  Sheesh.

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