The Role of Emotions in Conflict
Chapter 6 in our textbook addresses emotions in conflict. It states, “Feelings function as facts; they aren’t right or wrong, they simply exist” (Hocker, et. al., 2022, p. 194).
How does that statement affect your current view of feelings in conflict?
What are some of the misconceptions of emotions in conflict?
What is the role of feelings in conflict and how can we use them to resolve a conflict?
Can we simply ignore feelings in conflict until they go away?
What is the anger-fear cycle?
How can anger and hurt be expressed responsibly?
responded to two peers
Emotion is described as an instinctive state or feeling, which often dictates one’s actions, circumstances or relation with other people. According to Hocker, et al. 2022, emotions play a significant role in the way people handle conflict within various relationships. Anger or contempt often escalates the situation negatively while positive feelings like sympathy and admiration can lead to compromise and resolution (Hocker, et. al., 2022, p. 194). “Conflict is all about emotions, and when a person is off balance emotionally it becomes extremely difficult to engage in constructive responses to conflict. You can lose sight of your objectives and become focused on how the other person has wronged you. Retaliatory responses kick in and you are no longer interested in solving the problem as much as punishing the other person.” (“Conflict Dynamics Profile”, 2012). However, I believe that once we acknowledge an emotion for what it is and how emotion plays a significant role in conflict, from there we can learn how to manage intense emotional behavior, like outburst and strive to keep our emotions in check during confrontation or other issues we come across. But how does one learn to manage emotions, in order to best handle conflict? Expressing your feelings to others instead of bottling them up inside is the key, because ignoring your emotions won’t address the root cause, it’ll only prolong the issue (Hocker, et. al., 2022, p. 195). Consider someone who avoids confrontation, assuming that by avoiding the situation all their problems will simply go away. We understand that this kind of behavior is wrong and not the correct way to go about solving problems. The same could be said about ignoring emotions, you’re essentially running away from them.Fear, anxiety and anger also have a negative impact on conflict. In chapter six of our textbook, the anger-fear sequence is described as a cycle which begins with a perceived threat of some kind. Whether it comes from someone or something, once we feel threatened by it, fear and anxiety creep in, working together to fill us with a mixture of dread and obsession over the situation (Hocker, et. al., 2022, p. 206). This concept reminds me of a balloon filling up with air, but in this case, it’s fears and anxiety building up in a person. When the balloon pops, that signifies strong feelings of displeasure and anger taking over. Anger is the intense reaction to a perceived threat and a factor which impacts conflict (Hocker, et. al., 2022, p. 204).
peers2 The statement, “Feelings function as facts; they aren’t right or wrong, they simply exist,” made me really think about how feelings in people are uncontrollable. This affects my current view on feelings by validating them. I believe that feelings cannot be controlled. People can try to repress them and lie to themselves about how they feel but they will never go away. The true feelings will always come out. Lying about how you feel to yourself is a way to repress those feelings to protect oneself. Some misconceptions in conflict are thinking that all confrontations are going to be bad and ugly, that if a problem is not dealt with then it will disappear, anger is always negative and destructive, and a few others. These misconceptions are just that, not true. These are things people tell themselves to avoid conflict because of fear. Feelings in conflict are a result of that conflict. It helps each party understand how the person is feeling and how to resolve their dispute. Emotions allow people to communicate with one another by expressing their agendas, desires, and goals. By showing emotion in a conflict, it opens the door for communication to resolve that conflict. Hiding those feelings will only amplify the situation because the situation will never get talked about. It will allow room for passive aggressiveness. Feelings cannot be ignored because they will truly never go away. As much as a person may try, the feeling will always remain there. If I have a feeling, I know that to clear the air or to resolve the conflict, talking about it will alleviate the tension. Suppressed feeling will only create more conflict. The anger-fear cycle has five phases. These phases include trigger, escalation, crisis, recovery, and depression. Understanding the cycle helps people understand their reactions to situations and how they react to others. The trigger phase is when an event occurs, and this is when the anger cycle is started. This is when a person feels threatened and they feel the need to react. The escalation phase is preparing for a crisis, and this is by changing body language, becoming loud, angry facial expressions, etc. The crisis phase is when survival instincts step in. This could mean a person is ready to take action and judgement may be altered. The recovery phase takes place after an action has resulted from the crisis phase. A person recovers from the stress of tA person recovers from the stress of the conflict and can reflect on the situation. The depressions phase is when feelings of guilt and regret take over. Feeling this type of anger can be handled in a responsible and healthier way than acting upon it in an impulsive way. Taking some time to reflect on the situation instead of acting upon it while angry can allow you to make a good judgement call based on the situation. Acting on a conflict while angry is normally not the right way to go about a problem. “Specifically, fear and anger arise when we perceive a threat to our safety–whether related to our resources, those we love, or our overall emotional or physical well-being. A key word here is “perceive”: There is a difference between a genuine threat and one triggered by distorted thoughts or a physiological sensitivity for experiencing threat. While making this distinction is not always easy, doing so provides us the pause we need to respond rather than react to these highly charged emotions.” (Golden, 2021). Talking a conflict out in a calm manner while understanding the opposing side will result in a resolution. It takes a lot to act on anger responsibly and it can only help people in a lot of situations in life.
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