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Dealing with Disputes III

Ashley -> Health Educator
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Previously we discussed the stages of a dispute. Today we will take a look at what can cause a dispute and how to work with people during one.

People can have disputes in their relationships about just about anything including:
•    Anger    
•    In-laws    
•    Loyalty    
•    Trust    
•    Betrayal
•    Infidelity    
•    Disappointment    
•    Jealousy    
•    Resentment
•    Finances    
•    Parenting    
•    Sex    
•    Intimacy

No matter what the content of the dispute is, it’s more important to understand what is going on (the pattern) during a dispute.  

There are a number of very productive techniques that you can use to resolve disputes. Here are a few:

Thought Records
Why not? Thought Records can be used for any situation that changes your mood. What you’re thinking about is probably affecting how you are feeling and how you behave. See if there’s some negative thinking going on - and see if you can challenge it.

Communication Skills
You can try to use the information about communication style, communication skills and assertive communication that you we’ve discussed previously to improve your situation. Being more direct and assertive in your communication with the other person is a great start. Let them know what you’re thinking and feeling and let them know what you need and want from them (your expectations). Ask them what they need and want from you (their expectations). Try to understand the other person’s perspective as best as you can by asking questions. By practicing new communication skills and being assertive, you can often help keep the dispute in the negotiation stage.

Problem Solving
One way to help solve problems in relationships is to use problem solving techniques that.
•    Break big problems into smaller steps.
•    What advice would you give to other people in a similar situation? Follow your own advice.
•    Think about how you’ve solved or coped with similar problems in the past. What worked and what didn’t work?
•    What are you going to try if plan A doesn’t work? What if plan B doesn’t work either?
•    When you’re planning on how to solve a certain problem, try to imagine, rehearse, or walk through the solution with as much detail as possible.
•    Expect to fail sometimes. When a solution doesn’t work, think of the experience as feedback or advice that will help you develop a better solution to the problem.
•    Talk to others about your problem and get as much feedback from them as possible. A great place for this is our anonymous Online Support Group – especially because you’ll be communicating with others who are going through the program.

Start by reviewing the relationship that you’re working on. After learning more about the dispute, ask yourself if there is anything you’d like to change about expectations in the relationship, either your own and/or the other person’s.

Stay tuned for our next discussion when we will talk analyzing communication styles and skills.

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