The Pattern of a Conflict: Tracing Your Own Life

The Way It All Begins

Even though conflicts are considered mostly as a negative phenomenon, people need conflict as a part of the communication process. Without conflicts, people would not develop in a normal way, since conflicting tactics teach people valuable skills, such as the ability to keep their cool and to make reasonable decisions in cool blood (Hocker 2011, 2). However, conflicting in the right way which will bring certain results and will help to solve the problem is a skill which few people can master.

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The characters in the case study under the discussion are a clear-cut example of the dead-end conflict situation. Trapped in the shell of their conflict patterns, they cannot come to terms and are bound to walk the beaten track which leads nowhere. Moreover, they even do not seem eager to solve the long-lasting conflict, which makes the situation even more tragic and complicated.

The Key Facts of the Conflict

Because of the banality of the situation, it is even harder to take an objective look at the facts. A typical conflict between a teenage son who wants to live his own life and his mother whose concern with the son’s safety grows into aggression is driven even more complicated with Mike’s interference. Watching the son using the shield wall tactics and the mother so enraged and worried and helpless to do anything, he gets annoyed and suggests radical methods that will not help any of the parties. The tactics which have been chosen by the participants of the conflict will lead to nowhere, but they simply cannot shake off the usual style of communication, and they are bound to go on and on with the same old story, moving the rock up the mountain and watching it slowly rolling down.

Conflict Styles and Tactics

When it comes to giving arguments spontaneously, which can be observed in the given case study, people subconsciously choose the conflict style which they feel more comfortable with. Depending on the choice of the participants, the problem will be solved, paused, or progress further on. Choosing the right conflict style is extremely important because in case of mistake the participants will not be able to compromise and will eventually personalize.

In the given situation there are three basic conflict styles observed. The first one which Marie the mother introduces is an aggressive one. Setting the new “curfew” for her son in front of Mike’s eyes, she ruins his ideal image of himself, which makes him take the shield wall tactics. The latter makes Lenny, the son, bulletproof for his mother’s remarks, building the wall between them. Mike worsens the situation, taking the position of a cold-minded authority. The key factor is Lenny and his uncompromising character; he finds it difficult “to become involved in discussions of hypothetical problems” (Robin 2002, p. 92), which leads to another spin of conflict.

Can the Conflict Be Solved?

Despite the complicated situation, the characters of the drama still have the chance to solve their problem. If they are reasonable and try to stand in each other’s shoes, the problem will simply dissolve. Because of the typicality of the situation, there are some efficient pieces of advice.

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What every person in the drama has to do is to be more flexible. Although most people take compromising as a retreat, this is quite a wise tactic. With help of mutual understanding, every character in the case study will be able to keep his or her dignity and family peace. Although family interaction patterns are very hard to break (Schellenberg 1996, 73), there is still the hope that Mike, Lenny, and Marie can handle this situation.

Reference List

Hocker, J. & Wilmot, W. (2011). Interpersonal Conflict (8th ed.); McGraw-Hill Publishing. New York, NY.

Robin, A. R. & Foster, S. L. (2002). Negotiating Parent-Adolescent Conflict: A Behavioral-Family Systems Approach. Guilford Press. New York, NY.

Schellenberg, J. A. (1996) Conflict Resolution: Theory, Research and Practice. SUNY Press. Albany. NY.

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"The Pattern of a Conflict: Tracing Your Own Life." StudyCorgi, 6 May 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "The Pattern of a Conflict: Tracing Your Own Life." May 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Pattern of a Conflict: Tracing Your Own Life." May 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Pattern of a Conflict: Tracing Your Own Life'. 6 May.

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