How I healed 10 years of conflict in one conversation

conflict Oct 06, 2022

Hello Dears,

Sarah here. Just popping by to share a massive communication win with you.

So, my ex and I split up ten years ago. We have children, which means that we have had to stay in contact. Unfortunately, our communication has been terrible. We’ve often come to blows over text messages and simple conversations. It gets heated fast. As the children have grown older and got their own phones, communication between my ex and me has become almost non-existent.

Well, as my 40th birthday approached I wanted to make some changes.

๐Ÿงก I felt I wanted to heal things and start my new decade with a clean slate.

๐Ÿงก I wanted for us to be more united as parents.

๐Ÿงก And I wanted to communicate by phone rather than by text.

Given our communication history, these three asks were huge.

Gingerly, I dipped my toes in the communication waters by text. As usual, the tone quickly nosedived into conflict. I took a calming breath and asked him if he would be willing to talk on the phone. He said yes, and we set a time.

Then I prepared for the conversation. First I asked Thea how I could get the best possible outcome. She suggested that I use the transformative strategy of seeking a micro yes at various points throughout the conversation. She also suggested collaborating on a solution rather than telling him what I wanted. I jotted down some bullet points.

I called my ex at the time we’d agreed. I started by asking if he was open to discussing how we could better communicate around the children. He said yes… Without blaming him, I spoke about what I had noticed in our behaviour…

๐Ÿ˜ซ The misread tones.

๐Ÿ˜ซ The reactions to presumed events rather than the reality.

๐Ÿ˜ซ The lack of contact between visits.

All of which had led to him not really knowing what was going on in their lives.

I asked if he had any suggestions on how we could communicate better, and he said we could speak more. I agreed and asked if I could make a suggestion. He encouraged me to go on. Then I asked if he would be willing to speak once a week so I could fill him in on what was happening. He agreed and said he would call me on the weekends.

I was thrilled with the outcome and told him how grateful I was that the conversation had gone so well. It was quite emotional. Something physically shifted from my chest. And I felt the burden of TEN YEARS of conflict slip from my shoulders!

I knew in my heart that our old communication story was being re-written.

And it continues to unfold in surprising ways. This past weekend we had our first check-in and it went really well. We even chatted about things outside of the children, which I hadn’t expected. And, for the icing on the cake, we are all planning to go out together this coming weekend to celebrate our son's 17th birthday. ๐ŸŽˆ

Are there any conflictual communication stories you would like to re-write? If so, we are happy to send you the resource I used on how to have a fruitful conflict conversation.

Just tap reply to let us know that you want it.

Love,

Sarah and Team Working With Voice