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ADHD and Conflict Resolution

The ADDvantage in Resolving Conflicts
by Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC

Unresolved conflict can be destructive. It polarizes thinking and leads to morale problems, secrecy, reduced flow of information, wasted time and money and decision-making paralysis. The longer we wait to resolve the issues, the more destructive it becomes. Conflict is just plain uncomfortable!

We have four basic needs, that when violated, spark conflict:
•    to feel valued, respected and recognized for your contribution.
•    to be in control
•    self-esteem
•    be consistent and save face.

When it comes to disputes and arguments with family, friends and co-workers, we all tend to procrastinate and stuff the bad feelings.  But did you know that ADDers have some distinct advantages when it comes to resolving disputes? For example, from an ADDer’s point of view:

1)    conflict and difference of opinion is interesting and keeps one’s attention.
2)    there are many creative ways re-frame adversity – it is a learning experience, a way to build bridges, etc.
3)    it’s an opportunity to use one’s intuitive gift to go beyond the words to a level of better understanding of the other’s needs.
4)    whether the conflict can be resolved or not, it makes possible the chance to open the eyes and ears of others to understand you.

Take action. Start with yourself. How do you manage conflict?  Do you…

•    avoid certain people?
•    need to vent your frustrations?
•    find it tough to get out of problem solving mode and “put it aside?”
•    find yourself complaining more than others?
•    have sudden bursts of energy, start multiple projects and abandon them?
•    come up with “perfectly good reasons” not to change?
•    resist listening to the other party?
•    respond by retaliating, isolating yourself or dominating?

If you answered yes to even a few of the above, you might consider some ways to use your aptitude for conflict resolution:

1) Observe how conflict is triggered in you and others when any of the 4 needs are not met.

2) Practice mindful listening daily to understand what motivates the other party to say and do what they do. Listening is the first step to any negotiation. (see www.mindfulcommunication.com)

3) Know your reaction style and ask a friend if they agree with your perception.

4) Tone down internal conflicts by finding quiet within – meditation,
aerobic exercise, deep breathing, yoga, etc.

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