How to answer the question: What Happened?

When we are in conflict with another family member, there are three elements in the conflict that are important to first sort out:

"The event" is what actually happened. It is what your family member did or said that triggered your feelings.

Thoughts and judgments are subjective. They belong only to you. Someone else experiencing the same event, quite often will see things differently than you. Judgments are always based on right/wrong thinking, i.e. I am right and you are wrong. The other person becomes your adversary, believing he or she is to blame for how you feel. When you blame the other or make them wrong, you will put them on the defensive and the conflict will escalate.

The upset and the judgments that you are currently experiencing with the other person are often made up of thoughts and feelings associated with past experience. In other words, you may be projecting your past onto the current situation. Projecting the past onto the present will block hearing them and being heard by them.

To resolve the conflict with your family member, separate and leave behind your judgments about what happened, try to recognize what you may be projecting onto the situation and begin the process by only communicating what happened.

Communicating only what happened without your judgments, will allow your family member to hear your side of the conflict without feeling the need to defend themselves or to counter-attack. No attackā€”no defense or counter-attack is needed.