I have discussed a lot with you guys. First I talked about the difference between Interpersonal (conflict with others) and Intrapersonal (conflict within self) conflict. Then I talked about avoidance. I let you in on a secret. Just because you don’t say anything doesn’t mean you side step conflict and consequences. Last time I discussed defense mechanisms. They are these lovely little internal voices (sometimes so below a whisper we don’t know they are there) that help us face anxiety provoking events. When used sparingly and appropriately, DM’s help us focus on important information and make important decisions. However, when they are used regularly or too quickly, they may increase tension and lead to conflicts.
Some asked to see some of the DM’s in action. So I’m using a standard example: a glass left on a kitchen counter. You will see how two college roommates deal with the situation.
Liz woke up, stumbled into the kitchen and groaned. At some point in the night, Maddie came home and left her glass on the counter . . . again. And now orange juice stained the bottom of the glass. This was not the first time Maddie had left her dishes around the house. As her frustration simmered, she took a deep breath. Maddie was a good roommate. They agreed on a number of things. What’s major about a dish left on the counter every now and then? Things could be worse, way worse. Plus, Maddie worked long hours and was taking hard classes. She put the glass in the dishwasher.
Fast forward one month . . .
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