Most of us want to have deeper connections and better relationships, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to have this when we are engaged in the crazy conflict cycle.
The Crazy Conflict Cycle Defined
First let me describe this crazy cycle.
|Judgement —> Resistance —> Justification —> (back to) Judgement|
The cycle can start anywhere, but I’m going to start with judgement. Judgement is when we make something wrong or bad. (Judgement can be making something right or good too, but that’s a blog for another day). When we are in judgement of someone, when we believe they are doing it wrong, they are thinking about it wrong, or they are just wrong, there is nothing we can say that will come out good. From this state, whatever we say will leak judgement.
When we feel judged, we must resist. Our need to be loved and accepted does not allow us to take in anything that comes from a place of judgement. When we resist the judgement, we push back on it in some form – either verbally, by our physical actions, or even just emotionally. When we resist and push back, we actually reinforce it. Rather than just letting it slip by, we keep pushing on it – possibly bringing it up in various forms again and again.
Resistance leads to self justification. We need to feel okay about ourself. To justify, we must accentuate our good qualities and exaggerate other’s bad qualities. Our view of reality becomes distorted. And when we start to exaggerate other’s bad qualities, we slip into judgement of them. And whatever we say next leaks judgement. So the cycle continues.
With some people we can get into a “deadly embrace” where we lock into a “judgement, resistance, justification” dance together. This is the crazy conflict cycle.
The cycle spins lightning fast. We can move from feeling hurt and afraid into resistance, justification and judgement in a single instant. It can happen so fast, we might not even notice that it happened. From our perspective we were just feeling hurt, afraid, or angry, and then we reacted.
I see this going on all over the place. It’s in workplace relationships, in marriage relationships, and even in politics. I’ve seen this in my own relationships.
The cycle can start at any point. It can start when we do something against what we know is right and good, and we need to justify our action (or inaction). It can start when a past emotional wound get poked, and we move into resistance, needing to prove something. It can start when we see someone doing something wrong. So even though we not in authority over them, we “help” them by telling them how wrong they are. It can even start when we encounter someone who is spinning in the cycle and we get sucked into it.
If, to you, what is going on is bad and it shouldn’t be that way, or another person is wrong, or “they” seem to be coming after you, or you feel like you need to defend yourself, chances are high that you are somewhere in this crazy conflict cycle.
Getting out and staying out of the crazy conflict cycle is another topic in itself. For now, I’ll just briefly mention that in the heat of the moment, take 3 deep breaths and look for the higher truth. What would it look like if you saw the other person as someone with fears, hopes, and dreams just like you, and you came from a place of love? Try to be in and speak from this state. And for heaven’s sake, don’t retaliate.