It’s amazing how quickly it happens. One minute everything is fine and the next . . . chaos. It’s a big argument or fight.
What happened? Most times one person says or does something that triggers the other person. Person # 2 feels attacked. Now Person # 2 may not be aware of feeling attacked, but he does attack back. It takes about 3 seconds and the whole situation explodes. I’ll bet you’ve experienced it hundreds of times; we all have if we’ve lived very long at all.
The more we understand how these situations occur, the more in control we can be of the outcome. If we know how easily we can feel triggered, we can become more observant. Every time an outbreak occurs we can decide to become more observant. After awhile we’ll begin to see the pattern.
We’ll also want to realize our getting triggered has nothing to do with Person #1’s communication. We get triggered because of how Person #1’s message affected us. If we were not affected by the communication, we’d go on our merry way and never feel any need to attack.
How can a question stop the conflict?
If we can catch ourselves when we hear the communication and ask a question, many times we can prevent chaos. This will likely take lots of practice and time and it is worth all the energy we put into it.
What kind of question would we ask?
You could begin with, “Something seems to have really upset you, can you tell me more about what happened?” This question may not be exactly what you’d ask. The exact question will be dependent on the situation and what is said.
The most important idea for you to think about is: do you want to be in an argument or have chaos in your environment? If the answer is no, then a question can keep you in a conflict free space.