The Five Mindsets That Build Conflict

This morning the birds are chirping.  They are all back and hoping (as I am) for more sun, more Spring-like weather.  Kate and I were away for Spring Break last week down in Alabama visiting with family.  I spent some of my time just walking around the beautiful large yard where I grew up, stepping between the trees I have known since childhood and the memories they hold.  The Azaleas, the banana bloom tree, dogwoods, the pecan trees and oaks.  Walking and feeling blessed to be with nature, to be back home was very healing, meditative.  It almost helped to reset my psyche and the blessings I have in my life.  Even through the loss of my parents, many aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends, those trees still stand.  It is that sureness with which I feel centered in nature.  It is all okay.  We run around the trees with our dramas and life changes, but they stand with a stillness and strength of eternity.
My husband could not go with us on our trip last week, and I missed his presence so much.  Being away from him and spending that time being quiet brought me home feeling so grateful for our life together.  That gratefulness, that spirit comes and goes with disagreements, however.  We are so very different in how we communicate but so very passionate about our love for one another.  From my experience, passion and fire in conflict go hand in hand.  But, conflict does not have be engulfed in fire and it does not have to end the relationship.  It is possible to have communication miracles in your relationship or in your divorce negotiation.

In mediations, I so often see similar communication issues come up.  These are passionate couples — couples that are engulfed in fire.  You can tell why they fell in love with one another immediately.  And, then instead of using the fire to love one another completely and melt into the flames as one, they find themselves using the fire against the other.  I truly believe that for some of these same couples, staying together is possible.  It only takes one of the two to turn it around.  Sure, both have to want to make it work, but only one must notice, pay attention to what is going on and not react to the dynamic in the same way as before.

What does it take to be that one person? It takes love and presence.  It takes being an adult and not letting the childhood triggers run your life and relationship.  And, of course, it is not easy.

When another loves us and we feel we are in the presence of unconditional love, it repairs our childhood wound of feeling unwanted, unloved.  It is not possible, however, for the unconditional love and presence to be constant — it is not human.  And, in divorce, we as a couple are learning to separate from one another, and often the unconditional love is not present through the divorce process.  David Richo who I have talked about before in this space discusses the “five mindsets of ego” in his book : How to Be an Adult in Relationships.  Learning to acknowledge and work with these five mindsets so that you can be present in the relationship and/or conflict can truly shift your dynamic miraculously.

These are the five ego-driven mindsets that invade our mental space to disallow our presence in the moment and with the person in front of us.  They are very good at distorting reality too.  From Richo’s book:

  1. Fear :: “I perceive a threat in you or am afraid you may not like me so I am on the defensive.”
  2. Desire :: “I am trying to get something from you or this.”
  3. Judgment :: “I am caught up in my own opinion about you or this.”
  4. Control :: “I am attached to a particular outcome and am caught in the need to fix, persuade, advise or change you.”
  5. Illusion ::  ”I have a mental picture of or belief about you or this and it obscures what you are really like.”

Which of these plagues you and your relationship or divorce process?  Which of these can you vow to being mindful of so that you can stay present with your emotions and the reality of the situation?

If you are in the divorce process, be mindful of these ego-driven mindsets and know them as that.  They are there to protect you the only way they know how.  It is your job to notice them, thank them but tell them you can take care of yourself in this.  Notice them and release them so that you can deal with the present situation, argument, moment with as little ego and as much love as possible.  Presence is the key to resolving conflict.

With love and light,

P.S. If you are looking for a coach to help you divorce different and do it less expensively (much less!) and with a huge reduction in conflict, contact me by replying to this email now or call me (202) 587-2772.

P.S.S. If you are struggling to find a way through this process, call me to discuss my family mediation services.  (202) 587-2772.

Leave a comment


Email(will not be published)*


Your comment*

Submit Comment