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Have you ever heard of a nonviolent conflict? It’s a conflict that happens without promoting any form of violence whether verbally or physically. Some might have a question regarding how a verbal conflict can be violent? Well, there are words that can cause damages and pains to you than actual physical abuse. Non-violent conflicts happen almost every day in our lives whether at work, school, home, or any place that contain interactions with one another. Some of us don’t realize it. Others are aware of it but don’t like it as a matter of fact that conflicts can complicate the stability of a relationship, but there is a meaning behind it.
Here is my personal story that actually happened.
“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional” (Meier, n.d.). The conflicts that occur between people emerge from different interests and thoughts. If we all put in the shoes of others, our differences will be silently understandable. One of my own personal conflicts happened between three parties and I was the affected party. The conflict began when my father visited the United States and showed his dissatisfaction of the living expenses here. My mother was basically the mediator between the two of us. I was affected and blamed for a matter that is out of my hands.
As the conflict started due to differences in identity themes, all parties had distinct underlying interests. The first party’s underlying interest was to get lower life expenses that match his set budget. His interest came from his self-selected identity due to the culture he came from. The second party’s underlying interest was articulating the intention of the first party as well as seeking a peace settlement. My own underlying settlement was reaching for an agreement that is more reasonable for all parties with the least possible concessions. I understood their point of view coming to the US with the same identity theme; however, living here long enough I gained another identity that helped me understand and adapt with life expenses here or back home. Therefore, identity themes and not having the ability to gain a new identity fast can cause conflicts when identities collide.
As the quarrel went on, I remained non-violent in my communication. I had to articulate all the misconceptions from a different view that is best for both of us. Although all the attempts have encountered a failing result, I remained silent whenever he interrupts the dialogue. Afterward, I started to realize that because of my dad’s anger, it’s very hard for both of us to reach a reasonable agreement. I tried to make some concessions to meet his demands, such as giving him my car instead of renting a car and spending money. Moreover, to make him feel he was heard, I asked him about his needs, spoke quietly as if I understood their point of view and I talked as if I was in his shoes.
Finally, approaching the conversation in a quiet and non-violent way makes me feel happy due to the issue being resolved. However, sometimes the conflict becomes a patience test depending on how the other person’s willingness to put themselves in your shoes as well. The article “Active Listening” (n.d.), has illustrated that one of the top points to be an active listener is the importance of putting ourselves in their shoes to engage in different aspects that lead to an outcome no matter how opposite we are with our opponent.