The Key Attitude

The Key Attitude
It is difficult to develop healthy conflict resolution skills without establishing a key attitude that supports each partner in having different needs and desires. The key attitude has three components:
1. Conflict is inevitable between intimates; it's okay to want different things. This is just an acknowledgement that each person has unique needs and that even the closest of companions will have their own likes, preferences, fears and goals.

2. The needs of each partner are equally valid. Your need to rest is just as important as your partner's need to do something. Your partner's need for novelty and excitement is just as important as your need for security and familiarity. Your love of birds is just as important as your partner's love of trains. Your partners' fear of ridicule is just as important as their need for attention. Trying to figure out which need is more legitimate, more deserved, or more meaningful undermines your relationship. After all, there is no judge or jury to tell you. Each of you sees the situation through the lens of your own experience, your own feelings.
When you try to invalidate a partner's need or through aversive strategies, you often create a dead end. Your partner resists the discount or the pressure to abandon his needs, and you resist any counterattack against yours. Rigidly adhering to the equally valid needs principle is the best way out of this arrangement. By definition, both needs become legitimate and important.
3. The conflict must be resolved together, as partners, when you use aversive strategies, there are winners and losers. You are an adversary rather than a member of the couple. The problem is solved when the will of one prevails over the will of the other. Unlike, the key attitude requires that you view the conflict as a problem both partners must resolve. Since their needs are equally valid, they both require attention. Both sets of needs figure into any solution. And no solution is acceptable that ignores any desires and feelings of the couple.
In expressing the key attitude, it is often helpful to briefly indicate the need of each member of the couple. This allows Her to recognize the main elements of the conflict in a direct and unprejudiced way.

Carmen Martinez - Psicóloga y Coaching

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Celia Martínez Psicóloga
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