Kirstin Heidler
Image by Obie Fernandez

A process for accompanying yourself in a conflict situation

Mapping the Conflict Landscape

This process guides you through the steps of unfolding the landscape of a conflict. Discover what is important to you and learn from your experience.

This process was written by Jo McHale and Kirstin Heidler.

Step 1: What happened?

Think of a recent situation in which you found yourself in conflict with someone you are in direct contact with.
What happened? Be specific about what you said and did and what the other person said and did.

Step 2: Reflect on what was going on in you

What were you thinking - about yourself and about the other person?
What were you feeling?

Step 3: How did your feelings affect what you said or did?

Are there ways in which you defended or justified yourself? Or attacked the other? Attacked yourself?
What are your reactions trying to protect you from?
Meet the vulnerable parts that come with warmth and acceptance. They are trying to serve you.
Are there ways in which these protections are inhibiting you in fully receiving or expressing love?

Step 4: What do your reactions tell you about yourself and how you view conflict?

What core beliefs do you hold about conflict?
Where do you feel most vulnerable?
What do you fear in relation to conflict?
What needs are you meeting in your ways of handling conflict - and what needs are you not meeting?

Step 5: What effects did your feelings and reactions have on how things unfolded?

What was the effect on the other person? Where were the places you got hard or rigid in?
Think in terms of ‘the more I…., the more they…..

Step 6: Your dream

How would you like to have handled the conflict? Think specifically about what you would like to have said and/or done (rather than concentrating on what you would have avoided doing).

Step 7: There’s so much more….

Working through these steps will illuminate your own attitudes and behaviour around conflict.
A further step would be to explore the same questions in relation to the other person in the conflictual situation.
If possible, the other person would do this with you - perhaps with the support of a third party.
If this isn’t possible, you could use what you’ve seen about how they handle conflict and in your imagination, work through the same steps from their perspective. Whether or not you’re accurate doesn’t really matter. It’s the attempt to see things from their perspective that has the potential to transform the rift and to heal the relationship.

If you want to learn more, take a look at our course coming up in September.