Prior abuse can impact your current ability to problem solve. Within any relationship, the time will come when a problem or conflict arises. Your past model of how to deal with that conflict may be faulty because of your past abuse. Try these steps to work your way through to a solution:
- Seek to resolve and deal successfully with the problem and not just be declared the winner.
- Face your conflict instead of avoiding it.
- Understand that different people can have different points of view concerning the problem and the best way to solve it.
- Be clear about what is and is not acceptable in solving the problem. Do not accept abusive behavior of any kind.
- Remember that people do make mistakes and have a need for forgiveness.
- Take the initiative and forgive first.
- Avoid the temptation to exact vengeance for any hurt inflicted.
- Realize that there are times when the world is unfair and that sometimes you will be treated unfairly by others.
- Approach the solution to the problem in a whole-person way: intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.
- Attempt to solve only one problem at a time. One is generally enough!
- Anticipate a positive outcome to your problem solving.
- Be consistent in your effort to come to a resolution without trying to force a predetermined solution.
- Understand the power you have to provide a solution through an understanding of who you are.
- Search for the commonsense solutions.
- Be aware of verbal and nonverbal communication.
Healthy problem solvers are better able to maintain supportive relationships through increased communication. Skill and improvement in this area can be used to improve other areas. Give yourself permission to grow in life skills. Under ideal circumstances, you would have learned how to navigate healthy problem solving as you matured. Instead, you learned a dysfunctional pattern through the emotional abuse you suffered. Give yourself time to integrate these skills into your life.
As an exercise, take the list of 15 characteristics above and reorder them according to your priorities. What struck you as being the most important in your own life today? Commit to using that as a starting place.
Next, write down the characteristic you want to work on and place it somewhere you can see it daily. Remind yourself of your commitment to integrating this trait into your own character. As it becomes more normal to you, write down the next one on your list, and so on. Allow these characteristics to permeate your life and relationships.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 38 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.