Episode 18 – The 3-Step Secret to Resolving Conflict in Relationships

Episode Summary

In this episode, we discussed the 3-step secret to resolving conflict in relationships through the use of the OUR technique. It involves owning your emotions and contribution to a problem, understanding where the other person is coming from, and taking action to resolve the problem in a non-retaliatory way.

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All right, hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I am your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination, we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And at the same time, we are trying to optimize happiness, discover new levels of success and joy, and just make sure that we're feeling all those positive feelings more than the negative ones. This podcast is just one of a number of resources I have available. If you want to learn more about some of those, check out the Emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. Also on the website, you can sign up for my newsletter, which has tips, tricks, things you can do to continue to be emotionally buff to embuff yourself. So go on the website, sign up there. If you look on the podcast page, it'll be there and elsewhere. On today's show, well, first off, today's show is the first episode of Season Two. So I'm pretty excited to be back into this. It's I'm enjoying this podcasting thing and I'm enjoying talking about and continuing to explore a lot of these emotional embuffination concepts. They're exciting and seem to be always new and developing. So welcome back. Season Two. First episode. This is also going to be a really important one, I think, because this is sort of foundational, because I'm going to be offering what I call the three-step secret to resolving conflict in relationships. And this can, this doesn't even necessarily have to be like romantic relationships.

It can be relationships with your friends or relationships with people that you don't even have a connection to. People that you're just sort of encountering in some way. But this is all revolving around this model of interpersonal interactions. How do we deal with problems when they arise, when we're interacting with other people? There is also going to be, just as an FYI, before we get into this, on the landing page for this particular episode on the Embuffination website, on the Emotional Embuffination website, I'm going to have a download that you can get. And so if you want to get that before we start, wherever it is that you're listening, if you're listening to it this episode through the Embuffination website, then you should be able to see the downloadable pdf there. If you are not, you can go to the Emotional Embuffination website and go to the podcast tab and then you find this episode. It's the first episode of season two aka episode 18 and go to that page and you'll be able to find this download. But if you want to follow along, you can do that. You don't need it to go through this podcast, but just it's nice to have the visual, I think, to see what's going on here. But this, this I feel is a really, really important model and I'm going to come back and reference it a little bit later in some subsequent episodes.

So I think it's sort of foundational. And so we're going to jump into this. Let me tell you just briefly about the origins of this. So this started when I actually had an interaction with my wife, and I thought I handled it pretty well. I dealt with her kind of blowing up about something. She was upset and kind of proceeded to deal with it, I thought very effectively. After the fact, I went back and I thought, wow, what what happened? Like, what was I doing? And I kind of reverse-engineered the process. And I was using a bunch of different Emotional Embuffination techniques and concepts that were at play in there. But then I kind of structured it into three different steps, and I then explained it to her. And it was kind of funny because once I described what had happened to her, this was well after the fact, she went, "Oh, that's interesting because I've used that exact same technique on you." And then she pointed out a scenario where she had done the same thing with me. So, and successfully, I might add. So, this is a really effective tool, I think, for purposes of dealing with something, you know, when there's something going on in front of you with another person, you can kind of run through this three-step process. And each of the three steps has a lot of little subsidiary elements to it, which require some continuing to study and some working on it.

But we're going to get the basic framework here in today's show so that you kind of understand how this works. There's an acronym here that we start with that is the word OUR O-U-R. And you can think of it like this is a way to fix our relationship or preserve our relationship, but our is the acronym and each of the letters stands for one of the three steps. And the steps are Own, Understand, and Resolve. So, O-U-R. Own. Understand. Resolve. Own, just very briefly, is about kind of embracing personal responsibility, maximizing self-empowerment, getting control of your emotional reactions, making sure that you are in control of you, in essence. Understand, the second step of this is more about you getting a grip on what's going on with the other person or the other people, if there's multiple people involved, it's kind of understanding where it is that they're coming from and speaking to their motivations and also not just assuming that everything they're doing is born of either evil or malice or wanting to hurt you just cause or because they're just terrible people or something like that. Because that's usually not what the case is. Even when they're acting maliciously, it's typically not because they are sitting there thinking, I want to be a terrible person and I want to go hurt people. That's just not how most people operate. The resolve, the last step of this is all about taking the understanding you're getting from these first two steps and using that to decide on and act out some sort of action that's going to propel you towards resolution of the problem.

So, in other words, it's taking an empowered form of action, you know, doing something to resolve your problems, not from a place of victimhood, not from a place of disempowerment, but in a way that's going to leave you and everyone else in as positive a place as possible. All right. Let's start with the first one here. So, own. The first step in this is always going to be own. So, Before you do anything else, you want to drop into yourself. So, any time there is a problem that you run into with another human being, you jump back to own. And that starts with you. And if, for anybody that's read the Emotional Embuffination book, which just to give my little plug here, it's available as an audible, if you can tolerate hearing my voice droning on and on about the various Emotional Embuffination topics. But it's available on Audible, there's a print version, there's an eBook version. But much of what I'm going to be describing here is coming out of that book. Now, in the book, I never expressly talk about this model that I'm offering you today in this podcast episode, but I do explain all the basic concepts in much more detail than I'm going to go into in this episode that feed into all of the elements here.

So, own is essentially part five of the book, or it's insignificant part, it's part five and in part five of the Emotional Embuffination book, I talk a lot about dealing with internal conflict, learning to understand what's going on inside of you from an emotional perspective. And I talk about a number of different things there. So before anything else, you own what's going on with you. You look to yourself because you are the one that controls what you do. Nobody else controls that. And that is the one thing that is most conclusively and unequivocally in your power is what you are thinking, what you are saying, what you are doing that's coming out of your thoughts. So, before anything else, jump to that. One of the things that you can do within this realm is to first and foremost, calm yourself down. One of the common problems, and this is probably the longest chapter, I think, in the book, the Emotional Embuffination book, this is chapter 15. I describe a whole bunch of different calming techniques, you know, things you can do when you're in the moment and you just need to get a grip on your emotions, make sure that you're not flipping out, getting angry, imploding, you know, turning into just a ball of victimhood, you know, sitting there and wallowing and, you know, any of this negative stuff. There's a whole list of techniques there. And I'm not going to go into a ton of detail there because I do outline them quite a bit in the book.

But it's stuff like singing, you know, when you are singing, that activates a different region in your brain, where then what is going on when you're thinking logically? So, if you kind of sing something that has a positive message is uplifting, it can disrupt some negative thought processes. Pattern interrupts. That's a technique where you go through a normal behavioral routine and you start to go down some sort of negative road that maybe you've gone down 100 times and you recognize that that pattern is going on and you do something to interrupt it, like you snap a rubber band on your wrist or you scream inside your head or something to just shake it up and then you redirect it into a new thing. Journaling is a great one. You can, there's all sorts of research talking about how you can journal about your thoughts and feelings, and that has a significant therapeutic effect and can totally redirect the way that you were thinking. And I've also got a guided journal that's got some law of attraction prompts that you can check out myrealitygenerator.com. This is turning into kind of a plug for a bunch of my stuff here, but you don't have to use that, of course, I mean you can just use a blank journal. I have one that I carry around in my computer bag all the time that I just write stuff down in. Meditation is a huge one.

And this is something that you can do when you're in the midst of problems. You can stop and just breathe and kind of center yourself and deescalate some of the stuff that's going on internally. Walking away is one of the most basic ones, but it's important, you know, you just, can you step away from the conflict that's in front of you right now. Decisiveness, framing things. I won't go into all the details here because, again, I do outline them there. But calming down is is one of the the fundamental steps of getting control of yourself and not I'm not saying you need to shut down all emotions. I actually talk about this in the book too, a little bit. You don't want to just say I'm not having these emotions or I'm having positive emotions when you're having negative emotions. You want to accept the emotions that you're having. And ironically, when you accept them, when you embrace that you are feeling that it almost sort of deprives it some of its power over you. I find this to be greatly ironic to say, okay, I recognize I'm angry right now or I recognize that I'm sad or whatever it is, just say it's there and it's okay that I'm feeling that. And that in and of itself seems to lessen the impact of that feeling, strangely. But you don't want it to go out of control, because what I always saw as a family law attorney in particular, but I also see this as a criminal attorney, is people allow their emotions to just consume them and then they make stupid decisions.

And so what we want to do is just make sure that you are not making those stupid decisions. You have enough of an ability to temper what's going on that you can kind of stop, get control of yourself and then make an informed decision moving forward. Another big one, kind of outside of the the calming yourself down stuff is autosuggestion. What's your self-talk like? And we've talked about this in some other podcast episodes and here again, this is one of the chapters in the Emotional Embuffination book. But autosuggestion is this practice of kind of what you're saying to yourself on a regular basis, and this can take place not only before but also after a moment of conflict. Because here's something that a lot of people do. They will get into some sort of conflict with someone, and the way that they interact in the moment may be a product of what you've been saying about that person or about this kind of situation before you get into it. Like, for example, let's say you're you have a brother or a sister or something and your brother is just driving you absolutely crazy and now you just walk away. And all throughout your day you're like, "Oh, my brother is just doing this stupid stuff and he keeps doing this. And I can't. I don't. He makes these dumb choices. I don't understand why he keeps doing this." And you keep running through this routine in your head, in essence, this autosuggestion. You start priming yourself for the idea that your brother is now stupid and he needs to be treated like he's stupid because he's making bad decisions and you start getting angrier and angrier and in essence you're priming yourself for a negative emotion in the moment that you're going to interact with him later on. This also works kind of retroactively because if you are if you have an experience with that person, like, say, I have an experience with my brother, by the way, I don't have a brother that I'm referencing or anything. I just I'm just giving an example here. But if you were to have an incident that upsets you, something really pisses you off and you're just sitting there and you're dwelling on it and you're thinking about it. You're repeating the event over and over in your head and you're saying, Oh, I can't believe he did that. He's so stupid or she's so stupid and you get really upset. You're doing the same kind of thing just in reverse timewise. You're coming in after the fact and you are priming yourself once again for anger and frustration and all these negative things. So don't do that. In fact, counter to this, if you find yourself going down that road and I've used this many times, it is extraordinarily powerful.

And here again, this is one of the chapters in the Emotional Embuffination book, but that is to use gratitude techniques. If you find yourself feeling very frustrated with someone over anything. You can stop, cut yourself off. You can use those pattern interrupts. And then you can replace what you are thinking with gratitude. And even if you can't think of anything else to say that's positive or that you're grateful for about this person or these people, you can always say, Wow, I'm really grateful that this person is challenging me in a way that's going to make me level up my Emotional Embuffination it's going to make me deal with conflict better because I'm interfacing with this person in this way. Gratitude is a hugely powerful tool, and that's in part because it changes the way that you are thinking. It reduces your experience of negative emotions. But it's also in significant part because it changes the way that you interact with the other people. If you sit there and you say, if you think, I'll go back to the brother example, I am so grateful for my brother because he's done some great things for me in the past. He's been supportive at various times and he may be upsetting me right now about this one issue, but man, he's a good guy. And even right now, he's he's challenging me and he's making me figure myself out.

He's pushing back on this issue that I disagree with him on, but it's forcing me to kind of clean up my positions on it. Now, if that's the attitude I have when I go and interact with him, I'm going to be like, Oh, it's my brother, and we've got a different position, as opposed to if I'm sitting there going, Oh, my brother is such an idiot and I can't believe he did this. And then the next time I talk to my brother, if that's all I've been stewing on, I'm going to blow up and be like, You are so stupid. I can't believe you did this thing. As opposed to just like, Hey. It totally changes the way that you are interacting with people. If you are going down this road of frustration that you are parroting in your head over and over again, or if you are going down this road of gratitude. So choose gratitude because it's going to come back in a beneficial way to you, in addition to just flatly making you feel better. On top of that, it just to go on to the Law of Attraction road as well, gratitude is a huge, hugely, hugely powerful tool in your Law of Attraction arsenal, because gratitude is what propels things in the Law of Attraction realm. So there's lots of reasons to engage in gratitude, especially when you are feeling frustration or anger at somebody.

Another aspect of the own is meditation and meditation. I think this is a really useful one beforehand. So this is something that is is all about getting yourself such that you don't just react. Because meditation, in my opinion, is super useful as a model. There's a feeling that you get and I've talked about this in some some prior episodes, but there's a feeling that you get when you do meditation that's almost like disconnected. And if you can capture that same feeling when you're interacting with someone and say they're screaming at you, it's almost like you can step back and say like, Hey, I don't need to just respond back by screaming like, what's going on here? And so a regular practice of meditation I think can be extraordinarily helpful for purposes of dealing with something explosive or something negative or some sort of toxic interaction with another person. So, I highly recommend getting into a regular regimen of meditation. It can also be useful in the moment, maybe not necessarily somebody standing in front of you screaming, but if you just had something and you have the ability to kind of step away for a minute, using meditation can be great for just sitting there and running through or de-escalating, rather, the emotional states that you are feeling. So, meditation is another big one in terms of the own part of this this equation. Another one is recognizing where you are with respect to the Drama Triangle roles.

Now, we've talked, I've had a whole episode previously where I went through in detail the what the Drama Triangle is and the roles there. Just very briefly, so I won't go into a lot of detail there since I've talked about it before. If you haven't listened to that episode, please go back and listen to it because it's it's massive. Like the idea of the Drama Triangle and that paradigm dramatically changed the way that I interfaced with people and continues to. And it has eliminated so much drama in my life both internally and in terms of my interactions with other people. So go check that episode out. But just in a very brief way, the Drama Triangle is this idea that we as human beings deal with things we don't like by shifting into one of three roles, and each of the three roles is one of the points of a triangle, which is where we represent this sort of conflict. The bottom point on the triangle is a victim. The upper left is a persecutor. The upper right is a rescuer. And the problem is we tend to drift into these roles just intuitively, and they're all very disempowered positions. So if you're a victim, you come in with this mindset of I am powerless, somebody else is holding me back, oppressing me, persecuting me, holding me down, stopping me from getting anywhere. And you don't do anything. You just kind of sit there and hope somebody else will come to your rescue.

The persecutor is someone that acts out of anger. They see something they perceive as wrong. They lash out, they blow up, they yell. Sometimes they physically attack people. But their their solution is to explode, you know, to unleash anger in an effort to kind of fix what they perceive as the problem. The rescuer wants to come in and save the day. They want to protect the victim. But the problem is, in so doing, their motivation is to be the knight in shining armor. But they also simultaneously are disempowering the victim because they're solving the problem for the victim. And so, again, the whole problem here is that if you get sucked into this dynamic, you are not really solving the problem most of the time. And more importantly, you're escalating drama and therefore you are escalating misery. And so, one of the own things or one of the subsidiary elements of the own step, rather, is to recognize where you are in the Drama Triangle. If you are in the Drama Triangle, are you taking some active role there? And if you are, can you step out of it? And again, I'll kind of spare some of the how to step out of it because there's a couple of different options of how to do that. Go back and check out the Drama Triangle podcast episode that I put out if you want to learn a little more about that. But recognize if you're in there and don't be in there. Try to find ways to eliminate that.

A really important one also is to take absolute responsibility. And this goes along with just kind of a victimhood mindset and the rejection of victimhood mindset and taking absolute responsibility is this idea that no matter what happens, no matter how disconnected it may feel from you. You own it. You take responsibility and you say, I don't care how malicious somebody else was, no matter how justified I am in saying that this is this other person's fault, I'm going to say that I own the situation and I need to figure out how to adapt to it, fix it, make it better, make sure it doesn't happen again, something like that. And the idea here is that you're shifting out of kind of being a victim. You're taking ownership of the problem such that you start thinking about ways to fix it rather than just sitting back and dwelling on everything's terrible and this is unfair and this is that person's fault or that person's fault or whatever. So embrace absolute responsibility. That's another big part of the own. Last one I'll mention for the own is to set yourself up. And this is again another chapter in the Emotional Embuffination book entitled, Set Yourself Up. And the idea here is that you are, we have finite resources. We have finite willpower, we have finite attentional resources. We get tired, we get worn out, we get burnt out.

And so if you are running yourself in such a state that you're always stressed out, you are eating poorly so your body doesn't feel right or you're tired, you're in an environment that's just draining you. If you're doing all these things that kind of put yourself at an inherent disadvantage all the time. When conflict comes around, you're not even giving yourself a fighting chance. So it's really, really important that you do things to ensure that you already have optimal energy. And that means things like pay attention to your nutrition, make sure that you're getting enough sleep, manage your time well so you're not doing things at the last second, manage your finances well so that you don't feel all stressed out all the time over your bills. Don't spend more than you have. Think about who you're surrounding yourself with. You know, who are the people that you hang out with most? Are those people that are uplifting, are they not? What's your environment like? Did you paint your house some really drab, beige brown thing that makes you feel depressed or is it exciting and happy? I mean, how do you feel about the environment that you're in? Do all these things so that when conflict does come around, you're ready for it. When the unusual stuff happens, you have something in the tank, so to speak, to deal with it. You don't want to come in and you're already tapped out. And then all you have to do is have somebody look at you funny and then you're already over the edge because that does not put you in a good place to deal with conflict.

So set yourself up for success. Ultimately under this first step, the own, the question that we are looking at is what am I contributing to this situation? That's kind of the core question here. It's taking ownership of what's going on, figuring out what you are contributing to this, recognizing that, recognizing how you can fix it, how you can improve it, how you can calm down, how you can react in a non-reactive way, figuring out how to take ownership of you. That is step one. Okay, let's talk step two. The second step is understand. Understand, remember, this is all about them. This is making sure that you understand where they are coming from. And the reason that I talk about understand it's a few different things. One is, I think that there is this tendency, I saw this a lot in family law, I think there's this tendency for people to assume that if someone is doing something that you don't like, it's for a malicious reason. And there's always this assumption that and I don't know why this is like I've watched it happen so many times where you start imputing motivations like they're doing this because he's just a jerk. He's doing this because he wants to hurt me. He's doing this because he just is a mean-spirited person and that's how he was born.

That's not usually what's going on. These people may be hurt. They may be coming from a place of malice. But if you dig a little deeper than that, it's usually something else. Like there you know, there's the expression, "Hurt people, hurt people." And if you can reverse-engineer that, then you start to not view this other person as just evil incarnate. And this is someone that just needs to be destroyed and you instead look at them as another human being with whom you need to interact and you need to solve a problem. And just as importantly, because well, back up a step because that if you can look at them in that way, that alters the way that you interact with them. And if you alter the way that you interact with them, they're going to feed back to you less negativity. If you amp up your negativity, they're going to feed that right back to you. So, it changes how you interact with them. Another perhaps more important element of this is that if you understand where they're coming from, you know how to speak to them, you know how to figure out what it is that they need that's going to help them solve their problem. And that's not always possible, but it's going to be much easier and it's going to be impossible if you don't understand what's going on. So, it's really important to try to dig a little deeper and try to understand what it is that the person you're interacting with is truly motivated by before you just start ranting that they're evil and they don't, they're crazy. They don't know what they're talking about or they have mental health problems or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever that is. And a lot of this here, again, this is I keep making reference to this, but if you want much more detail, the Emotional Embuffination book, this is essentially part two. I go through the whole second part of the book there and I talk about a number of different mechanisms that people operate around. One of those is cognitive dissonance. I think most people know what cognitive dissonance is now, but I have a chapter on cognitive dissonance, and that's essentially this idea that when we have some sort of internal belief or rule or concept in our minds and what's happening in the external world doesn't quite match up with that we sort of shift our thoughts and expectations to either to to adjust to this dissonance that's in our heads. And to do that, we try to bring harmony back into our minds. The there are two major ways that we can do that. One is to either alter our underlying expectations or we try to explain something away. The example I give in the book is about I forget the names that I use but imagine there's two people.

I have this best friend named Marcy, and Marcy has been my best friend for years and I just think Marcy can do no wrong. She's the most wonderful human being on the planet. And then I discover, well, independent of that, I have this very strong belief that abortion is absolutely evil and no one should ever do that. And it's murder. And if you commit an abortion, you are evil and you, there is no redeeming you. You're going to hell. Now one day, so I've got these two independent thought processes. And then one day let's say that I discover my best friend Marcy, who's my super best friend in the world, had an abortion. Now I'm confronted with dissonance in my head because these two underlying thoughts don't harmonize anymore. They're dissonant. And so I can do one of a couple of things. I can change one of my underlying beliefs. I can say, Well, Marcy really isn't my friend. Now I've changed an internal belief to bring harmony back. Or I can say, Well, maybe my position on abortion was off. You know, maybe I was a little too harsh about that. I can also do something, this is what people try to intuitively do initially most often is they try to explain it away because this is the easiest pathway. I could say, Well, Marcy wasn't in her right mind then, but she knows better now. She was in a really bad spot, and I feel bad for her.

She made a mistake, but she's better now. So, if you can try to find a way to explain it away, that's what what you what most people intuitively want to graft to. So, cognitive dissonance happens all the time. I promise you you are doing it. You don't realize when you're doing it. I do it all the time. Everybody does it. It's just what we do. We, this is a human function. The problem is when you're on the outside of it, because we don't typically recognize that it's happening. When you're on the outside, everybody sees it and then they think, well, you're you're crazy and you're an idiot. Clearly, you realize what you're doing. So, recognizing people that this is happening, you know, if you can see sort of the internalized rules that are in play, then you can start to see how those aren't lining up and why they're taking certain actions. And it's not necessarily just out of malice, but often it's coming from these underlying rules. So figuring out what those underlying rules is a big part of it because that speaks to what they're really driving around. And I think I've referenced this in some past shows. I had a past romantic interest where I was dating a girl for a while, and I remember we would get into these very heated arguments and I had a friend I was telling one of these arguments. I was explaining my position on this whole argument to this friend, and I was kind of looking for the look, I'm right, aren't I? And my love interest is crazy.

And my friend went, David, she's not saying this thing that you're reacting to. She's saying this other thing over here. And they went, Oh my gosh, you're right. And suddenly I realized that I'd been arguing about something that was on the surface, which was covered by cognitive dissonance, in essence. And so the next time we got into a heated argument, I remember it started to escalate and I stopped myself and I went, wait a second. What are we actually arguing about here? Because it's probably not the superficial surface thing that we seem like we're arguing about. And then I thought about it and I went, Oh, I think she's arguing about this other thing over here. And then I started talking to her like we were talking about that other thing, and everything immediately deescalated. So, if you can understand those internal drives, those internal rules, the things that people are really thinking about, it makes a massive, massive difference. So that plays into cognitive dissonance. That plays into and I talk a lot in the book about kind of how we generate rules and how we go through primary and secondary emotional states and how the rules pop up and how you can kind of figure out what the rules are. But this is important. There's also something called psychological reactance that people go through where they'll react sometimes violently, but often aggressively or angrily if they feel like they're losing something.

One of the examples that I've given before is my ex-wife I remember, used to come to me and say, "You're watching the kids tonight." And that really made me mad every time. It was very upsetting and I didn't at the time, I didn't really know why, but, later it dawned on me that when she came to me and said that I felt like I was losing a sense of choice. It wasn't like, "Hey, could you watch the kids tonight?" It was like, "You're watching them." And so I would react negatively. And a lot of people do this where they feel like they're losing a sense of choice when they feel like they're losing a thing that they have for some reason, when they even if they don't validly have something, if they sense that they're losing possession of a thing, like, for example, let's say you are living in a house and you have a mortgage on it and you just decide not to pay your mortgage for a year, you're going to get the house taken away, right? Because the bank is going to come and foreclose on it because you don't technically own it now as soon as they go through that whole foreclosure process. But people lose their minds. They feel like they're having something taken away from them. So, recognize the psychological reactance. Also recognize that most people have an extraordinarily hard time seeing what they are contributing to the problem.

Most people don't see it. I know that you think that they do. I promise you they don't. It's very rare that somebody recognizes the contribution they're bringing to a problem. And there's in chapter seven of the book, I go into a lot of detail about some of the different psychological mechanisms. There's a ton of research on different things that we do that we're just oblivious to. There's attribution errors and I go into a lot of it, but we don't recognize when we're contributing to a problem. We're wired because we have very fragile egos. We are wired to see everyone else's problems and not our own problems. So, when you are interfacing with somebody else, recognize that they have this same blindness. Also recognize that about yourself because you're probably contributing going back to that first step of own. You are probably contributing something to what's going on, which is why we start there. This is why it's so important to try to figure out how you are contributing and kind of come in with the assumption that there's something you are doing that's contributing to the problem. But when we're trying to understand the other person, step two, understand, we also want to recognize that they don't know that they're contributing to something. And you've got to dance around that a little bit too. Ultimately recognize that the major thing we want to do here is alter the way that we're interfacing with this other person through understanding by recognizing that they're not just coming in maliciously and also to figure out how we can speak to what it is that they're really concerned about. So, the big question is, what are they motivated by? Why are they thinking the things that they are thinking? Even if those things are totally wrong. Also, as an aside, here again, this is another chapter in the Emotional Embuffination book, but don't just jump to the assumption that somebody is doing something because of a mental health problem. That is, unless this is somebody that you're just totally disconnected from, but even then, that's not a constructive thought process because it alters negatively, in essence, you're just saying, Well, you're crazy. That's why this is happening. It does nothing positive. And this is especially important if you're in a romantic relationship, because if you just sit there and say something like, well, they're a narcissist, that's why they're doing this, because he's just a selfish bastard. Now you start to color the way that you're interfacing with this person, you start to assume there's nothing you can do. There's no contribution that you have to what's going on. Nothing positive comes out of going down this road. So do not assume that if you have a problem, it's because of some sort of mental health issue. Step away from that and look at kind of the core psychological mechanisms that are going on. Figure out what they're motivated by and what you can speak to.

All right. The third step is resolve. And in significant part, this is part four of the Emotional Embuffination book. And this is all about figuring out how to take action with certain parameters and empowered action that's going to come from non-retaliation, non-blame, and is going to solve the problem or it's at least aimed at solving the problem. A couple important elements there. One is victimhood centers on inactivity. In other words, when you are a victim and when you are embracing a victimhood mindset, the hallmark signature characteristic of being a victim is not taking action to solve the problem. Importantly, I'm saying solve the problem, not lash out and hurt the other person or teach the other person a lesson that they did something wrong. This is solve the problem. So you have to figure out what it is that's going on that you don't like and fix that thing. If you coming from a place of retaliation here, again, this is a chapter in the book. But if you coming from a place of retaliation, that can be really problematic because as a basic mechanism, it usually doesn't work very well unless it was something that you didn't need to teach this person a lesson about in the first place.

It makes you feel worse. It usually makes them figure out a better way to hurt you. If you're coming out and it justifies their sense that they need to hurt you. One of the examples that I give in the book about retaliation, in fact, this is the story that I kind of introduced that chapter with. There is a woman, this is a true story who was just being horribly, horribly abused by her husband on a regular basis. He was prostituting her out, making her sleep on the floor, eat dog food, was calling her a dog, was burning cigarettes on her skin, said horrible things to her constantly. Like her life was an absolute living hell and the example here is that he he didn't need to teach her a lesson. She was already acting in a super subservient way to him, so for him, retaliating was pointless and worse than pointless, the as things escalated in this particular story, she ended up trying to kill herself.

She gets taken to the hospital and they say, well, you need to do something. We're going to institutionalize this guy. So she goes back home. She tells him what's happening and he says, Well, if I see these people coming to get me, I'm going to slit your throat before they get here. She believes him. And frankly, given the history, he probably would have done that because he was very combative with law enforcement and everyone else. So, it was very likely that that would have happened. So, in the middle of the night, she sneaks out when he's asleep, goes out, gets a gun, comes back, kills him, shoots him in the back of the head repeatedly. And so, not only did she not need to learn a lesson but his constantly trying to teach her a lesson ended up with him dead.

Now, on the flip side of that say she had tried to teach him a lesson because that's what most people think is needs to happen, right? If she had been trying to teach him a lesson, then he probably would have turned around and retaliated had he not been dead. You know, let's say she got up one day and was like, I'm not taking this anymore and she punched him. He's probably going to double down and make it even worse. And I've seen this many, many times as a family law attorney where you don't just say like, hey, you're being abusive and you're a terrible person and I'm going to like try to stand up for myself once. And then the abuser goes, Oh my gosh, you're right. I've been a terrible person. I need to fix my ways. Like, that's just not what happens. You can establish boundaries, and this is something I go into a lot in the book. You can establish a specific behavior pattern that's a reaction to another behavior pattern, and you can make that consistent and teach a person that that particular thing is not going to happen. But this is different from retaliating or trying to teach someone a lesson. So when you try to teach someone a lesson, it usually doesn't go well. And I'll kind of leave it there. But just as a general habit, this is not the place you want to come to action from. Even when somebody is doing something malicious. Fixate on solving the problem. Fixate on non-retaliation.

Make the action that you are choosing not born of blame. There are a number of other little steps that you want to go through on this. One, side note, I've talked a bit about agreeableness, if you're looking at the big five personality aspect, I mean, it's essentially how how likely are you to get along with somebody or sacrifice your own needs on behalf of other people. If you are highly agreeable, it is also very likely that you are going to get along with someone and your decision may be to just try to get along and even in times when you shouldn't. So, you might be eating crow or sacrificing yourself for purposes of fixing the problem. And you should at least question, is this a time you should be standing up for yourself? Especially if you're a highly agreeable person. If you are more likely to sacrifice yourself and not stand up for your rights, this is something you should be looking at when you're trying to decide what is the appropriate action to be taking to solve this problem. Another thing you want to do is think about the implications of the action. Think about the consequences of whatever it is you're going to do. I saw this in family law constantly where people would not think through what it is that they were going, what potentially could happen as a result of what they were going to do. The one of the examples I like to think of of this is Gandhi, when he was going to start a movement, a protesting movement, he would pick a location for his ashram, like his religious center, that was near the jails because he was anticipating that his people were going to get arrested and put in jail, and he wanted to be close to that. Think about the consequences, even if it's something you don't think could possibly happen, if there's a possibility that something could happen don't rely on the fact that we're just fighting for what's right because bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to people who are doing what's right. There's bad people out there. So, you need to be prepared for potential adverse consequences that people might not line up with you and think about what those are. Another thing is pick your battles. Don't fight over everything. Remember, we have finite, finite attentional resources. We have finite willpower. We have finite financial resources and various other things. So pick the strategically important things, the things that really matter. Don't fight with facts. This is another one. If somebody has an emotionally invested position, don't just sit there and throw facts at them because it makes it worse. And I've talked more in other episodes and the book about this. But you don't want to get into a debate with somebody that's already emotionally entrenched by just throwing out contrary facts, because you're going to make it worse. They're going to become more convinced of whatever it is they believe in.

Think about reciprocity. You know, when when you are civil with someone else, even if you're taking opposition, if you are civil with someone else, things are going to go much better for you. Nelson Mandela was facing the death penalty after he was captured before his trial. And he he gave the guards a sandwich that he'd received. He shared like a sandwich with them and they as a result of that, they decided to take his handcuffs off and let him kind of walk around and have free reign while they were transporting him back to the prison or the the place where he was going to be tried. In return he expressly said that he didn't want to take advantage of their doing that and decided not to try and escape. Remember, he was facing potentially the death penalty for what he had done. And yet the power of reciprocity, this just kind of being civil with people, had a huge influence on what was going on. So, if you can find a way, even if you're not in total agreement with somebody or even if you have a very strong feeling about something, be civil about everything else. It can make a huge difference.

Also kind of talk to find commonality between different people. Find commonality with different groups that can go a long way. Again, ultimately this third step here, the resolve, is all about what can you do to solve the problem in a non-retaliatory and non-blamey way. Resolve.

So that's it. Own, understand, resolve. You go through those three steps. If you go through the third step, resolve, and your plan didn't work reassess. Come up with a new plan. This is a whole 'nother thing that it's something I call tactical rotation. That people will kind of repeat the same behavior pattern over and over again when it's not working and they get stuck. So, if something's not working, change it, you know, get some help, think up a new plan, do something. But you've got to try a different approach. But run through those three. And things are going to be so much better. Own it. Take absolute responsibility for what's going on. Come from an empowered place. Accept your contribution to what's going on. Understand where they are coming from. Psychoanalyze why they're doing what they're doing. Don't just view them as evil monsters that want to hurt you. Recognize they're coming from a place of pain and understand the place that they're coming from and then speak to where they're coming from. And then lastly, resolve. Use that understanding to try to solve the problem. Do what you can to fix it. Don't just lash out but fix the underlying issue. That's it. OUR. That is the acronym. That is the three-step secret to solving relational problems. I'm going to come back to this. I'm going to use this in some subsequent shows.

I feel like this is a really powerful paradigm, even though I know I kind of put it together. But the underlying concepts I don't think are me. It's just the particular acronym. And the way that this is assembled is me. But that's it. So that's going to bring us to the end of today's show. I hope that you found this useful. I hope that you I really hope that you find this one useful. I hope that you can walk away and use this particular tool if you have a different position on this, I would love to hear it. Or if you have supplemental stuff, please let me know. Reach out in some fashion. But try this out the next time you're having a problem, run through these three steps and see what it does for you.

Don't forget to sign up for some of the secrets to becoming emotionally buff on the emotional embuff, Emotional Embuffination's website, which is embuffed.com. E-M-B-U-F-F.com. Remember, we want to keep becoming more emotionally embuffed all the time. That is a process. You know, you don't go to the gym and do three curls and say you're buff forever. You keep going on a regular basis all the time, every week. Same thing with Emotional Embuffination. You want to keep working on it, keep studying this stuff, keep practicing. Make yourself emotionally stronger.

At the end of the day I want you to be emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, "The struggle is real," to saying, "What struggle?" Thank you all for listening. I'm so glad to have you here. Have a great week and I'll see you on the next show.