Saturday, May 8, 2010

How to Resolve Conflict and Manage 'Martyrs'

At Ask Rebecca How... we welcome your challenges and offer ideas to help you meet them. Mel has posed the following concern:

"I keep having the same cyclical argument with my mother. We never seem to get anywhere and I'm fed up with her being a 'martyr'. Please give me some ideas as to what to do."

Rebecca says:

It is so frustrating when the same discussion comes up time and time again, especially if you never seem to reach a positive outcome. One of the most effective things you could do is to identify the triggers that cause things to spiral out of control. Perhaps one of you says something in particular, or there is a specific behaviour that 'activates' the argument? If possible, simply prevent the triggers from 'firing'.

You have also described your mother as a 'martyr', a role similar to that of a 'victim'. This role can often be manipulative and can easily control, or direct, the discussion. Logically for there to be a 'victim', there also needs to be a 'persecutor'.

Think about the way you behave towards your mother - are you (or those around you) encouraging her to 'remain' in the victim spot?

What might you do differently? One suggestion is not to get sucked into her game, which is to make you take pity on her (and allow her to stay a 'martyr'). React calmly, resist any temptation to bite back, or 'persecute' her and ignore any martyr-type statements she makes.

By removing anything that might fuel her martyrdom she will soon lose interest in this role. - RW

No comments:

Post a Comment