In much of my work, I see a tendency that many people have (including me) to play the victim during interpersonal conflict. I encourage my clients, and I strive myself, to overcome this tendency to blame every conflict on the other party.
I call this tendency to blame others a victim mentality. When I am blaming others, I am a “victim” of their behavior with no power to change things. I don't really like to be a victim. So, I prefer to shift from “victim” mentality to “victor” mentality by focusing on three specific things that are completely under my control.
I strive to:
1. Own my piece of the conflict.
This idea leads directly from my posts over the last few weeks about questioning my perspective, changing my perspective, and, fixing the problem. I have seldom seen or been involved in a conflict that was entirely one party's fault. Rather than play the victim, I take charge of my fate by identifying and owning my piece of the conflict.
2. Initiate discussion
I rarely see a conflict resolve itself, and I nearly always see open, honest discussion precede the resolution. Many people will flee from conflict rather than confront it. If I want to be a victor and not a victim, I need to take the responsibility to initiate the discussion.
3. Forgive the other party
One of my colleagues, Dr. Robert Rohm, says: “Being bitter and angry is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Harboring negative feelings towards another person does nothing to fix the situation and does much to damage the relationship. These negative feelings actually give the other person power over me. If I want to be a victor and claim control of my thoughts and actions, I have to forgive the other person so that we can get the issue resolved and agree to a suitable action plan that meets both of our needs. I could write on this one point at length, and I may at some point. I won't go any further with it today.
I encourage you to be a victor and not a victim when you are in interpersonal conflict. Focus on these three concepts to take control of your thoughts, feelings and actions. When you are a victor, you position yourself to build momentum in all of your relationships.