Madhu Einsiedler

How To Un-stuck Yourself From Conflict

Have a conflict and feel stuck? Read on.

You know my motto: No right. No wrong. Simply growth.

Interested in to find out how being in a conflict helps you grow? Ahead of you is a 7-minute read that will spark your growth, if you let it.

When we feel stuck in a conflict, we usually think we have tried different things to solve it. Yet nothing seems to work.

What most of the time though happens, is that what we try is our conflict solving ‚routine‘, our favorite conflict behavior. Let’s take a look and identify these behaviors that most likely you are unaware of.

What’s your favorite conflict behavior (This model is based on Virginia Satir’s work)? Are you:

  • Placating? Calming the other party?
  • Blaming? Making the other part feel guilty?
  • Being super-rational? Focusing on facts and leaving emotions out?
  • Being irrelevant? Talking nonsensically about everything but the issue?

Each behavior is learned. And while these often don’t work, they are the best answers we could find.

Thus, we have learned that each behavior is based on – mostly – subconscious fear:

  • Placating – Without you I’m nothing. I need you. Don’t abandon me.
  • Blaming – I feel lonely and like a failure but no one ought to see this. I need to look
    strong and hold my ground, and I am expressing all of this by “making it about you”.
  • Being super-rational – I feel vulnerable. I’m not allowed to show feelings. Feelings hurt.
  • Being irrelevant – No one cares what I do or think or feel anyways. This is such a bad place for me, I need to go look for a better place.

Each dysfunctional behavior needs a dysfunctional counterpart. As soon as one party leaves their learned, fear based behavior, the other(s) can do so too.

It might sound illogical – but conflict is an opportunity to grow. How?

  1. Be aware that you are, for example, arguing quite rationally (and think that’s the best strategy because the other is so emotional).
  2. Be brave and learn to feel what’s beyond all your facts and figures.
  3. Discover and analyze the ‘rules’ you have learned about conflicts.
  4. Step-by-step, work toward changing those rules.


This is how you can start your growth now:

  • List three small conflict situations where you feel stuck (for example with your partner, a colleague, your supervisor, a family member, a friend)
  • You probably think that the other started the conflict. Is that really true?
  • Write down your emotional need in this conflict. What do you think that you need from the other person?
  • Find ways to satisfy this need for yourself.
  • Face the fact – how does this conflict confirm some of the beliefs and point of views that you are holding?

Now that you have the tools to recognize why you may experience the feeling of ‘stuckness in a conflict,’ and the tips to work on these challenges, I invite you to practice them. Be thorough with yourself!

And you are welcome to write me back and let me know what breakthroughs happened for you from that exercise.

Enjoy the practice, and “growing from conflict”!

Want to grow more? Check out my blog on life-work ‘balance’.