Conflict Resolution Worksheet

Prelude

At this point I’ve heard of and been involved in several conflicts between people that end up social-blocking each other, telling friends lies about each other, and generally just wishing the other would go away (from a public space, private space, or in worst-case scenarios, life in general). This is a big problem for loving communities that want to foster inclusivity. Is there anything we can do, as neutral parties to help these people enjoy shared spaces in loving ways?

Below is a worksheet that can help repair damage caused by rifts between people in a community. First suggest they read The Four Agreements before completing – it’s a very short book and a very good set of rules to follow for creating a loving community. Whichever party refuses to do these things should be called out by their community as ‘festering the wound’ instead of ‘healing the wound’, and should be the one socially pressured to come back to integrity and love. However, we should employ the techniques in Non-Violent Communication when doing this social pressuring.

Current rough draft of a more professional video coming soon:

 

Conflict Resolution Worksheet

1. Understanding your feelings and their source

(A) On a scale from 0-10 please indicate your level of the following emotion toward the other person in this conflict.

Jealousy:
Fear:
Anger:
Sadness:
Isolation:
Love:
Empathy:

(B) On a scale from 0-10 please indicate the level the person is responsible for causing in you.

Jealousy:
Fear:
Anger:
Sadness:
Isolation:
Love:
Empathy:

2. Coming back to integrity

(A) What lies, if any, do you think this person has told about you?

 

 

(B) What lies, if any, have you told about this person?

 

3. Building a Bridge

There is a great article about how after one person causes pain in another (intentionally or not), the other person’s reaction may cause pain in them, and they may not be able to correctly understand or take responsibility for that. This often leads to a sort of resonant frequency of the type that destroys bridges. What we want to do with this conflict resolution is to rebuild a bridge between the two people which this storm has caused to collapse, and which has left a community confused and in pain. The human brain is a very fragile thing at times, and with the rise of social media, unintentional bullying is on the rise.

(A) Are you willing to take responsibility for the pain caused in another from your behavior or action, even if the cause was a _REACTION_ to pain they caused you? Circle one.
Yes    No

(B) What specific actions could the other party take over the next month or two to change your answers in 1.b to ones that you think would be healthier and beneficial to you both and the community you share?

 

 

 

(C) Return to your answers in question 1 and answer how you think the other person will answer when completing this worksheet – simply write what you think their answer will be after a small amount of space to the right of your answer.

(D)  What actions do you think you could take over the next month or two to change the other person’s response to 1(b) to ones that would be healthier and beneficial to you both and the community you share?

 

 

when no doesn’t mean no

Does no always mean no?
Some thoughts on abusive or self-harming boundaries.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted” is basically the story of all female progress through history. A true feminist can see similar narratives from either sex.
Women were told they couldn’t vote. They were told they couldn’t play certain sports, work in certain jobs. And they gave a big middle finger to that “no” and did them anyway. It’s important to know when you need to do this in your own life.

In the dance world, I personally have not attended events that ex gf’s were at because it might make them uncomfortable or unhappy to see me with a new girlfriend, or flirting with another girl, or even just dancing with another girl. That’s respectful – to consider/ask about the needs and wishes of another person, and do things that align to bring everyone the best experience possible… but it’s also self-sacrificial. It’s limiting my own agency and well-being to provide happiness for someone requesting an abusive boundary.

What about other things – Is being pushy ok?
Almost all westies are ‘pushed’ in some way – into competing, into coming to a weekly dance – into taking private lessons… #ourresponsibility at the core, is a pushy concept – it’s the objective of the culture to bring more people into the culture and share how good it is right? Well, take out the “ure” from culture, and reread the last sentence and you’ll see the potential problems with this dynamic.

Most people would label this as ‘marketing’, but when does it become unhealthy or a violation of consent? Lets look at a few examples where we can think on if consent was violated, or disrespected.

Wanting to push people into happiness, success, or fearlessness… or helping them overcome anxiety or depression:
=========================
I haven’t done that dip yet, I don’t want to try it
I’ll spot you
No, I’m not comfortable
We’ll go super slow through the movement at first and I’ll support you the entire way
Hmmm. I’m not sure.
Slowly supports the movement.
There! see, easy and safe.
Wow, that was easy and fun!
Hi five! Well done!

=========================
I’m feeling terrible
Do you want something to eat? I can cook something, you haven’t eaten in a while
No. I’m not hungry.
Do you want to talk?
Leave me alone.
— makes banana pancakes with walnuts, strawberries, and whip cream, brings it into bedroom and sets it aside bed —
Omg that looks amazing. Fine I’ll eat.
How are you feeling?
Better.
Want to cuddle?
Yes.
=============

Sometimes we can hear a no, and feel that the person would be a yes if only they had some knowledge or understanding that we have. Some people absolutely dislike (some teacher) in workshops but love them in private lessons and are really happy people pushed them into booking one, or even paid for it for them, for example. Getting addicted to the feeling of a sugar push just requires the first few dance classes to learn to do them and feel the rush of connecting with all kinds of people, being able to communicate and move to music in ways we couldn’t previously is such a thrill… even though it’s quite scary at first. We have so much anxiety that we’re doing it wrong it’s hard to enjoy.

I’ve been trying to get my brother into dancing for years and it just isn’t for him. Even in the privacy of his own home he’s really hesitant to dance. The closest I got was a halloween family party where I taught a lesson to my mom, sister, and his girlfriend so he participated and I think had a decent time. Although there were a bunch of distractions from dogs and having to dip into the house for monitoring the stove and oven, it was mostly a very memorable fun experience for us all.
So sometimes we can setup the right dynamic where a person will be a “yes” to an experience even though they aren’t a “fuck yes”. Some people will say that you shouldn’t do anything unless you are a “fuck yes” to it. Enthusiastic consent. This is good, but then, I’d personally encourage people to be “fuck yes” to more life experiences instead of hiding in a cave cowering in fear, for example. But maybe I’m pushing a mindstate of consent here, which is a slippery slope. Because of my ‘fuck yes’ mentality, I’ve had a pretty exhilarating life with a wide variety of experiences I won’t go into details about, but I’ve also had more scars, more heartbreaks, and more pains than the average person also, and at times regretted going along with some things I wasn’t a “fuck yes” to, and even was more on the “no” spectrum, but didn’t vocalize it when I should have.

Learning to vocalize a no is very important. Waiting for the ‘fuck yes’ mentality to manifest is very important. And being sure alcohol, drugs, fear, sadness, and other mind altering factors weren’t present when we make this transition is what intentional living is all about.

No means no. Sometimes even yes means no. But sometimes those that love us will disrespect our no for our benefit and be a bit pushy. That doesn’t make it ok, but we should understand that psychology. Sometimes other people do know things we don’t and can try to push us into the right direction – that’s what we pay for private lessons for in the first place – to get our minds opened enabling us to provide better dances to more people. In many cultures, a guy is supposed to offer to get the bill, and a woman is supposed to say no, yet she EXPECTS him to continue to offer and push. This dynamic is pretty prevalent around the world. Many women tell guys not to call them but then secretly want them to and are happy when they do. It’s totally insane how boundaries are set sometimes just to be overcome. But we have to overcome them in the right ways. Learning this art is hard work.

In Japan, even when you say you don’t want anymore food, they will put more food in front of you until you stop eating. It’s just the custom. Many similar ‘disrespecting a no’ experiences are prevalent all over the world.

In America especially, people say no to each other’s no probably more than anywhere else in the world. Because freedom. Understanding the laws of the country, and also that they are changing every day, is very important. For example, if a 19 year old who was drinking tells you not to tell her mother, you can respect her decision to commit a crime and her request in not reporting it to authorities or parents. But there are definitely some laws that require you to report certain crimes. And not respecting her no may actually be in her best interest.

How to be a protector (of the community)

First, before we can get into this, read about The Karpman Drama Triangle.

In the following scenarios, P is acting as a protector. V is acting as a victim. This dynamic often prevents healing, learning, and growth. It damages both the victim and the alleged ‘abuser’ (A).

self interested “protector”
(what some victims are purposely playing toward to get closer to their target, consciously or not)

V: Hey I’m feeling shitty I need a safe space.
P: I’m here for you, tell me what happened.
V: X happened, (A) did this thing that scared/hurt/bothered me.
P: That is TERRIBLE! You must feel outraged/extra hurt, and are totally validated for feeling this way.
In fact, you should feel even WORSE than you already do! We can’t stand for this. Here, let me give you a hug.
V: crying in hug
P: You’re going to need some time to heal from this.
V: I just want to not hurt anymore
P: Lets go somewhere more private, maybe you need some space from (A). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you want to block them from all contact and tell them to stay away from you for a while.
V: ok
P: Also, if you need to just cry, I can be here for you.

Effects: (P) and (V) are now closer, (A) has been excluded socially and doesn’t realize it, which may lead him to behave in ways that others don’t accept again in the future, because he’s excluded without realizing it – and such behavior would normally be accepted as valid to any stranger coming into the group, but is now seen as bad coming from him, and pushes him further outside the circle of acceptance, and increases his “unacceptable” behavior. Also, the person actually feels WORSE than they did before this ‘protection’ because the protector encouraged them to cry and wallow in their fear instead of confront and overcome it.

Imagine instead if one sought to protect the COMMUNITY.
Think of the spirit of Ohana

protector of community

V: Hey I’m feeling shitty I need a safe space.
P: I’m here for you if you need to talk.
(note to protector: a strong person might just need time to confront this person themselves, and wouldn’t tell anyone before talking to the person. If someone you aren’t close to is telling you something, it’s likely because they are trying to illicit your empathy and get closer to you so can enjoy your social circles, affection, whatever. It’s totally possible they need someone and nobody else is around, but be aware)
V: X happened, (A) did this thing that scared/hurt/bothered me.
P: Did you feel that way during X, or after thinking about it or talking to anyone about it? And does (A) know how you’re feeling?
V: I’m not sure
P: I know you are strong and can overcome this and find happiness, and it’s my goal to help you get there as soon as possible. I want you to know that if you can’t tell them yourself that you’re hurting and why, I can do that for you, but someone needs to tell them so they don’t do this again. Ideally you would have told them yourself first before telling me, but I’m obligated to protect the community, so I’m going to need to tell them what you told me, because I don’t foster gossip and don’t want this event to divide our community in any way. I’m not going to speak of this to other people before one of us talks to this person, and I’d encourage you to do the same.
V: ok.
P: Would you like to take some time and then tell this person yourself, or would you like me to tell them? Ideally, the sooner after the incident you tell them, the easier it will be to change their behavior (kind of like punishing a dog after he poops; kind of pointless to punish him the next day). The primary goal is to help you stop hurting, but we don’t want others to get hurt or confused in the process. Stand your ground with your feelings; even if you were in a compromised state emotionally, that your feelings are no less valid and the thing they did affected you and they have to own that, but you ALSO have to realize that the thing they did might not affect everyone else the same way so they have no idea it’s having this affect on you and it might not actually be ‘their fault’. If you don’t want to feel this way, ultimately, you’re the only one responsible for your feelings.
Also you will need to tell them that you told me – if you fear this might anger them, then I should accompany you when you tell them. The best way to protect our community is to not harbor secrets and misperceptions of each other, so lets all get on the same page and move forward with positivity.

Additionally, I can’t stress enough how important it is that you stand your ground and feel confident to let them know how you feel; however, be prepared for this to have an effect on their feelings as well. While they may not appear to be receiving what you’re saying in the moment, give them time to process, and re-engage again after some time passes until you feel like there is an understanding between you and you guys feel safe around each other again.