A New Way To Play…If You Have To

“How did I get here?”

A question we often find ourselves asking in the midst of yet ANOTHER battle with someone we care about.  

It could be with your mother, your son, your spouse.  

The same person you claim to care about. The same person who claims to care about you. Somehow, some way, you are involved in another game of: 

(choose the one that is right for you) 

“Who can hit the hardest?”

  • Game objective: He who literally can exert enough negative force on the other person wins.
  • Grand prize: Guilt, “cheap power”, shouldering all the pain.  

“Who can hurt the loudest?”

  • Game objective: The person who can produce the most guilt, wins.
  • Grand prize: Loss of trust, being avoided 

(Oh, and my personal favorite…) 

“Who can be silent the longest?” (aka “The Cold Shoulder”)

  • Game objective: (And as the name implies) Whoever shows the least amount of concern, wins.
  • Grand prize: Making loved one feel abandoned, never really solving the problem, isolation.  

If you have played ANY of these games, then you know the truth: 

The winner loses. The loser loses.  

Everybody loses.  

Sure, your power need is gratified. Maybe your loved one is adequately punished. Maybe… 

Maybe you just end up feeling like you won first place in a game nobody cared about in the first place and all that work you put in to punish the person you claimed to care about was for nothing.  

Winning is no fun if it’s not validated.  And you don’t feel very validated after ‘winning’… do you? You were in it for love, companionship, friendship. Now you settle for cheap shots and passive-aggressive Facebook posts.  

But what if there was another way to ‘win’… without losing so much?  Would you be interested in that game?  

If so, continue reading.  

If not… 

Continue reading. You gotta be at least a LITTLE curious right?  

Ok, so here are the rules: 

A. When Player 1 is angry with Player 2, both players must interject a thought along with a feeling.  

Example: “I feel angry” (emotion) “You forgot my birthday” (thought).

Player 2 now must be given an opportunity to interject their feeling and thought.  

Example: “I feel embarrassed” (emotion) “I forgot” (thought) 

B. After both thought and feeling have been interjected by both players, the player who brought up the grievance (Player 1) must be asked these questions by the other player: 

  1. Was an obligation broken?
  2. Can anything be done to mend the obligation? 
  3. Were your feelings hurt? 
  4. Can anything be done to mend those feelings? 

*Important note: must be answered with yes or no. If Player 1 is unable to answer without having an emotional outburst, then the game must be stopped until player 1 is ready to continue.  

C. When answers have been given, then player 1 must communicate if they wish to vent or problem solve 

*Important note: If player 1, chooses to problem solve but ends up venting instead, or vice-versa, Player 1 must go back and choose again. Though Player 1 may choose to do both, the corresponding choice must be communicated to Player 2 before beginning.

Venting: Player 2 must use reflective listening, understanding that player 1 has a right to their feelings and that as Player 2, there is no responsibility or obligation for Player 2 to ‘fix’ those feelings.  

Problem Solving: A dialogue on how to address the problem as presented by Player 1– with Player 1 understanding that it is a privilege that anyone would hold what they value in such a regard to problem solve in the first place. After an acceptable agreement has been made, players exchange a word of affirmation, and so concludes the game.   

At least until next time… 

Which may very well be within the next hour.  If only it were this easy. But who knows? Maybe it is. 

It’s just a new, different way to play at problem-solving… 

If you have to… 









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