Understand that during times of social distancing, with all of us all being in much closer proximity to those in our immediate environment than we may be used to, conflict can occur. Arguments and disagreements can be very painful if not dealt with, and one trauma-informed care tool that HAGAR staff globally use in our own offices, and teach our clients and partners to use, is how to deal with conflict in healthy, constructive ways.
In the event of severe conflict, violence or abuse, HAGAR recommends you contact your local service providers to seek informed confidential information, counselling and/or referral to an appropriate provider.
To overcome drama and heated conflict, it is useful to move to the empowerment model of conflict resolution. Below is a summary of the 3 common positions we can assume, and how to break out of them to resolve conflict in an empowered way.
1. From the Persecutor to the Challenger
A Persecutor is someone who reverts to being critical, angry and bossy when they are in conflict. To become a Challenger (someone who builds others up) and move to a healthy communication pattern with those around you, try the following:
- State Clear Boundaries and Expectations: e.g. “I only have 30 minutes to help you.”
- Provide Choices: e.g. “I can talk for 10 minutes now or 30 minutes tomorrow. What would be better for you?”
The Persecutor becomes the Challenger who encourages responsibility and accountability while fostering learning, action, and next steps. The Challenger consciously builds others up, instead of putting them down by belittling them. This tool deals with our inner dynamics.
2. From the Victim to the Creator
A Victim is someone who tends to feel sorry for themselves when things aren’t going their way and they wait for someone else to do something about it. To move to a healthy communication pattern with those around you and become a Creator (someone who takes conscious steps to achieve their desired outcomes), try the following:
- Take Responsibility: Decide what you really want and take action
- Count Your Blessings: Acknowledge your strengths and what is going well
With intention a Creator focuses on a desired outcome fuelled by the passion to manifest what they desire.
3. From the Rescuer to the Coach
A Rescuer is someone who seeks to help and fix everyone else. They provide support even when they don’t want to and feel guilty and anxious when they don’t rescue someone and validate their behaviour. To move to healthy communication with those around you and become a Coach (someone who provides encouragement and support instead of rescuing actions), try the following:
- Ask Questions: e.g. “What do you want the final result to be?” and “What can you do to achieve that result?”
The Rescuer becomes the Coach who supports the Creator with compassion to develop their vision and action plan.
Conflict can be hard but it can also be resolved in healthy ways if we are each prepared to be the change we want! Three questions to ask ourselves:
- Are we focusing on problems or the outcomes we want to create?
- How am I relating to others, my life experiences and myself? Do I perpetuate the drama or empower myself to take action?
- What kind of actions do I take? Are they reaction or future generative actions?
Importantly, HAGAR acknowledges the link between economic instability and mental health problems, potential increases in alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence, including child abuse. Stress and social isolation make it difficult and/or impossible for those experiencing domestic violence, to seek safe spaces. HAGAR advises anyone in this position to contact the relevant authorities and help agencies – https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/support-groups-and-others/20/call-on-these-when-you-need-help
If you would like more information on the Drama and Empowerment Triangles, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
*The following people authored the concept of each triangle
Drama Triangle: Stephen Karpman (1961)
Empowerment Dynamic Triangle: David Emerald (2005)