laelsweet- language and trustlaelsweet wrote:
"in searching for common preferences with other family members, what are some ways of speaking and working through conflict verbally, which have been successful for people?"
One of the suggestions I've heard that I like alot, is about talking out loud in the midst of conflict- say, two small children are having a conflict, and the parent starts talking " I'm sure there is a solution to this problem. What could it be? " and continuing with the thought process, including frustration and talking about the failure to find a common preference, if that is the case.
Talking honestly about what one is trying to do- finding common preferences- what everyone's preference is, really examining what each person wants (do I really want to go to the movie if it is going to make someone I love miserable? would I prefer to find something that we would like to do together? Or help that person find something that they really want to do, while I go to the movie?) can bring to light misunderstanding or assumptions or expectations that the people involved didn't realize existed. Such new knowledge can help create a common preference.
"i wonder if people run up against years of winning and losing power struggles (rather than having found solutions that make everyone happy), and find that old habits, reactions, ways of speaking, are difficult to overcome? this is my experience. "
Yes. It is a big shift to make in one's thinking, to go from 'someone has to win and someone has to lose, in the face of conflict' to 'everyone can get what they want', and to figure out how to make that happen. It can be a long and painful journey, confronting and dismantling entrenched ideas.
"simultaneously, the revelation of an underlying lack of trust (fear of being coerced) and while each common preference found does build trust, nonetheless some communication tools would be helpful in showing that people sincerely wish to find common ground (are trustworthy). "
It does take some time and experience to come to trust the process. A parent, at the same time they are learning to recognize coercion and avoid causing it for their children, is also learning to recognize how and when they coerce their own self. A parent has to come to trust their own self to not coerce, well, their own self. Trust, among family members, will come. The big shift is focusing on consent in problem solving (with one's self as well as with other intimate loved ones) , rather than coercion.
"to begin with, attempting to say " i want ____." "
Yes. Excellent beginning, to figure out what one wants, one's self. Not as easy as it seems it should be. It is also acknowledging one's own autonomy, and the other's too. Each person speaks for their self.
Language is very important. The difference between saying "I feel miserable" and " you make me feel miserable" is a huge one. When a person catches theirself using negative language, they can correct theirself immediately, out loud. Apologize and try not to do it again. One can ask others to point out when they are using negative language or coercing. Instead of 'I/you have to/must/need to' use 'I prefer'.