Conflict Resolution Strategy: Top Ten Reasons for Conflict Phobia in Your Personal Life

Why we might deny that we are in conflict and repress the very idea from many situations, focusing on the content of what is happening, rather than use any sort of process? Specifically, why are we so afraid of conflict? Of course, it’s logical to want to avoid violent conflict. But why do we avoid more minor conflict? We know conflict, if ignored, can build up a head of steam until it explodes leaving a far worse situation. So why don’t we simply deal with it? There are a number of possible explanations:

  1. We are social animals who value social harmony and avoid stressful conflict. Conflict aversion may make us more effective social animals. We want to be in sync with others as ‘one big happy family’.
  2. We often frame conflict as being ‘win-lose’, and are afraid we will feel the pain of losing.
  3. We don’t have good processes for achieving ‘win-win’ solutions and avoiding loss.
  4. We dislike the internal conflicts we feel and don’t want external conflict too.
  5. We fear that others with power over us may use power to hurt us if we oppose them.
  6. We are naturally ‘satisficers’ (a term invented by Herbert Simon, the Nobel Prize winning economist.) We agree to just acceptable solutions instead of stretching for better ones.
  7. We rarely question our own real interests in any situation and thereby are not prepared to defend these interests in situations of potential conflict.
  8. We have limited attention spans and thus can’t handle the sustained focus necessary to resolve complicated disputes.
  9. We take quick unconsidered decisions that work very well in minor day to day issues and apply the same approach to serious conflict with long term perhaps life threatening consequences
  10. We mistakenly think that politicians are grown ups and can be left to make big decisions over major conflicts that affect our lives

As a result of this, we don’t seek systematic approaches to handle our personal conflict or expect our politicians to do so either. And seeing creativity as an essential element in good conflict handling is the last thing on our minds. This blog and its underlying Conflict Model seeks to challenge that perspective.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Processes, Neuro-science of conflict, PERSONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CREATIVE STRATEGIES, The Conflict Model, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, Uncategorized, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Conflict Resolution Strategy: Top Ten Reasons for Conflict Phobia in Your Personal Life

  1. Pingback: The Bests Bussines Online!

  2. Best Business said: Are you ready for a new Korean conflict?…

    Hey, thank you your writing style is amazing. just found your site on yahoo. come back later for sure :).

    Thanks I will take a look at the Korean conflict shortly when I get some thoughts together

  3. Victor says:

    Today S Korea said it will seek tactical nuclear weapons from the US.
    It is a pity that Seoul is not located further south.
    North Korea has the capacity to kill 250,000 civilians in the city of Seoul in 20 minutes.

    They have been able to do that for over 40 years using conventional artillery.

    The capital of South Korea is 35 miles from the border and the North Korean artillery is dug in and defiladed to fire from the back side of the mountains.

    Even if the South Koreans begin with a massive attack on the North Korean artillery sites they must expect that 20 minutes of slaughter to happen.

    South Korea should mobilize and begin to evacuate Seoul but understands that as soon as it gives that order those quarter of a million people will die.

    N Korea is a client state of China what is their role in this ?
    N Korea is going through a succession and this may be a distraction
    N Korea may just want more Danegeld——http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danegeld
    as Hillary Clinton’s policy is— talk softly and carry a big check.

  4. Victor I have just posted my thoughts on the North Korean crisis including some of your points at:

    https://creativeconflictwisdom.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/north-korean-crisis-november-2010/

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