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Feb 13

4/19 Guest post – Facing my Conflict Solutions

Hello Everyone!  The following is a Guest Post from someone facing many of the conflict situations we have been discussing.  So, I present a real life situation for Conflict Solutions:

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Thanks for the invitation to contribute to your blog on Conflict Solutions!

I am at this new job now.  It is chaotic at times with everyone around me talking to others and I am expected to answer the phone and take customer complaints.  …but maybe I’d better back up and give your readers some of my struggles and lessons I’ve learned in facing my communicating problems with others.

I came from a family of eight, the middle daughter.  Ours was probably a typical family with Dad working long hours and Mum struggling to keep things together.  Being from a background where Mum did everything – except for us girls – I didn’t feel very encouraged or loved; life was too busy with eight children to give the affection that we needed.

Whenever anyone stepped out of line, it was the ‘silent treatment’ from my Mum, holding onto her grudges for days.  So I learned quickly not to speak up or give my comments; I felt like everyone shouted me down.  Even at my school, I was always the quiet one.

Being the middle child, I also grew up feeling like I had to fight for everything I wanted.  I remember riding my bike to my girlfriend’s house for one whole year to learn how to play the piano.  My Dad was astounded when I gave him my certificate of Merit!  No one knew I was even learning the piano!

I know now that their ‘control’ over us kids was being too busy and yes, the fear of letting us go.  Sure they didn’t want to see us hurt but there was little confidence and assurance that we were capable and could handle that ‘big, bad world out there’.

So I walked into my first job, frightened and very quiet.  As a result of not standing up for myself, I faced overtime hours and just giving into a demanding boss.  It felt like I was back home with Mother again and I didn’t know what to do.  I would just withdraw, be compliant and take his abuse.  I slowly learned to set my almost non-existent boundaries.

This led to the next stage in my life – marriage….but he also turned out to be over controlling and demanding.  Trying be quiet and hold things in would lead to an explosion with him.  It got to the point I couldn’t do anything right his way.  He even took advantage of my trying to please him as he drew me into his business world.   I took out a loan to help him get started … which has never been paid back.

Slowly I learned to say no and to stand up for myself.  However, because I wasn’t this ‘ideal image’ of what he wanted as a wife, our marriage broke up and he went back to his ‘sexy, compliant mistress’.

So I was left with financial problems because of the loan.  I moved into the next job in banking and began to move up the pay scale.  …but it seemed like I kept running into ‘controlling types’ of managers.   I was promoted but only to arrive in one small country bank ….where it was just one other lady and I.  You guessed it….I had to learn a new level of communication!

In her old job, she was used to telling everyone what to do, without much regard for their feelings.  Now I really was in over my head.  I practiced what I had learned with my ex-husband and slowly she began to listen to what I was saying …not taking it to heart however.  Over the months, we began to share about life and what we were learning from the books we were reading.  This seemed to help build a bridge between us.

She would arrive at work, grumpy and stressed out, but slowly, she would open up to me about what was happening in her very unhappy world.  I began to see the connection with her attack style of communication with her ex-husband.  It was dominate or be dominated in her world.   She would hold a grudge for days, withdrawing and even not talking to me….just like my Mum!

Slowly over the months I made progress in responding back to her – not reacting out of my own stuff.  It was then that I began to connect my style of debating and trying to prove myself right with my childhood and my Mum.  I was still trying to prove that I, the middle ‘forgotten child’ had something to say, something to contribute to the world.

I also began to see the connection with what my Creator was trying to teach me.  I had to step out of my comfort zone and step to the next level in healthy confrontation and conflict solutions.  I could start with “I see your point but I am feeling overwhelmed with the way you are shouting at me….”.  It was another level for me to even stand up for myself like that!

Well, the lessons hadn’t finished.  This small branch was closed and I was moved into a larger bank office.  I was given the job of ‘Customer Relations’ in a very, very noisy and busy office.  I was surrounded by another model of communication; I was surrounded by loud, gossipy, ‘friendly’ people who worked and played together …all on ‘fast forward’.

The woman responsible for training me would often say “I’ve told you that already!  Hey Margery, she has forgotten things already!”  I started a spreadsheet on the things I was expected to learn about the business model and the customers.  It helped but still, in the middle of trying to answer customers, she would be talking to me and others so loud …..  They could say thing to each other I would never had said…and the next minute be talking, smiley and great with each other.  They didn’t hold grudges!

So now I am facing this whole new level of communication!  I can see that my scars from Mum’s relationship with me are slowly healing.  I can even respond to others without reacting to the ‘Mother types’ in my world.  Now the challenge is to be able to speak my mind and not be so fearful of their rejection.  They can to each other so why can’t I join in?  I’m giving my fear of other’s rejection onto my Creator.   He got me this job so now I’ll learn here too!

Thanks, Susanne.  Jillian

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…and thanks Jillian for all sharing your excellent insights with us as you continue to grow!

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

www.conflictsolutions.mentorsnotebook.com/blog

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