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Navigating your way through workplace politics and pecking order is difficult. If you are not at the top of the order, then you fall somewhere below and let’s face it, that means your job security is based upon how much the boss values and likes you. Whether there is an intentional abuse of power or not, there is still power, intimidating to those who are subject to it. The most common abuse of power in the workplace is sexual power. This can be directed from male superior to female subordinate, or vice versa, and same sex superior and subordinate. Standing up for yourself at work, fending off inappropriate advances should not mean also fearing the loss of your job.
It is never a good idea to become sexually or romantically involved with a co-worker, and especially a superior. It is never a good idea to allow flirting, even when it seems innocent as this can be misread. It is difficult to find oneself in a situation where what seems to be harmless flirting leads to expectations or unwanted advances.
Backing Out and Backing Up
If in this sort of situation, it should be nipped in the bud before getting any further. This can be done subtlety and most of the time the other party will get the message. In the uncomfortable event that the message is either not received, or ill-received it is best to clear the air. Admit that the flirtation was not a good idea and that your professional reputation is important to you. If your manager has no agenda, then that should be it. However, if it is not, the very next step to send an email through the office email and state “per our conversation” the date and a summary of what was discussed. This provides documentation. Do not threaten, simply state facts. End the email with “Thank you very much for your understanding. BCC your private email.
If this does not get the message across then the next step is your human resources officer. He or she should then follow whatever policy is in place for processing complaints. It is good to know that in larger companies everyone has a boss, even the owner of a company. That boss is the law. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) takes complaints at their website 24 hours per day. All complaints are confidential and information is used only for investigative purposes.
In a situation where a superior is offering unwanted/improper attention some make the mistake of ignoring it, hoping it will resolve itself, or worst yet go along in fear of repercussions. Having neutral party to talk to over a situation such as this is more advisable than confiding in a co-worker. No matter how the situation started, you have the right to end it, the right to regain your power, and your rights are protected by the EEOC.
If you are a member of a family, whether it is as father, mother, child, sibling or an extended member, there will be conflict. The sources of the conflict can be internal or external to the family, as well as to do with the situation of one individual family member. Families often face even greater conflict when trying to agree on how to resolve the conflict, it is in these instances that seeking the help of a third party is in the best interest of the family, and very often the quickest route to resolution.
Identify the Source of Conflict
To resolve conflict within a family, the family must first identify the source of conflict. That does not mean pointing a finger at little Johnny who has ADHD and blaming him because of the amount of extra attention he needs. Chances are everyone is doing everything they can to help Johnny manage his ADHD. The question is, how is everyone else managing themselves?
For example. Johnny often leaves his things wherever he drops them. This means that getting everyone ready and out the door each morning for school and work means finding Johnny’s left sneaker before leaving. The shoe may or may not be found, but often not before dispute and some blaming takes place.
What can a family do to avoid such fallout? The source of conflict as the family sees it at present is Johnny’s ADHD. They are not dealing with the source of the conflict, they are dealing with the fallout. If the family knows that Johnny is prone to losing things, and recognizes this is a part of his ADHD, then the family should in addition to working with Johnny to help him self-manage, but should also find ways in which they can each help circumvent the problem.
Scenario: It is bedtime.
- If Johnny’s right sneaker is beside the stairs and is observed by older sister Julie, then at that moment she should pick up the sneaker and ask Johnny to bring down the other. This may take a while. Once the two sneakers have been reunited, place them both by the door everyone leaves from the next morning. Crises averted.
- In the event that Johnny’s left sneaker has been lost in the abyss that consumes little boy’s left sneakers, have a back-up pair ready and waiting by the door or some other place that is predetermined. Of course, the family – and Johnny- needs to make sure the back-up pair go back to their hiding place. As a natural consequence to help Johnny become more responsible and to self-regulate – the back-up pair should be his least favorite pair of shoes/sneakers.
- Mom, Dad, or Julie could take turns in following up behind Johnny each evening to make sure that his belongings are packed and ready to go. This helps to avoid the morning rush crises.
Accepting the Source of Conflict and Moving Forward
Yes. Johnny’s ADHD is a fact in this hypothetical story. However, it is not the source of the conflict. The true source of the conflict is the family’s lack of adaptability. Johnny has ADHD. This is a concrete fact. Johnny could benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Most children with ADHD respond well to a combination of CBT and the proper mediation. However, and most therapists and parents will agree, medical treatment is trial and error, and there are no overnight fixes.
What this means is the family has to deal with what is. Fighting over what should be at this point is moot, and just complicates matters further. By identifying the real source of the conflict, families can find those easy fixes -and Johnny’s missing left sneaker without all the family drama. Seeking help from a mental health therapist could benefit Johnny’s parents; however, it could also present a red herring. Families often seek mental health counseling for family problems because they do not realize there are other options such as conflict resolution which may be more cost effective and less stigmatizing than atteniding therapy. .
Foley, Marie. “A Comparison of Family Adversity and Family Dysfunction in Families of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Families of Children without ADHD.” Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing 16, no. 1 (January 2011): 39–49. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2010.00269.x.
Friesen, John D. “Theories and Approaches to Family Counselling.” International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling 18, no. 1 (March 1, 1995): 3–10. doi:10.1007/BF01409599.
Hofmann, Stefan G., Anu Asnaani, Imke J.J. Vonk, Alice T. Sawyer, and Angela Fang. “The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-Analyses.” Cognitive Therapy and Research 36, no. 5 (October 1, 2012): 427–40. doi:10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1.
“Managing Anxiety in Children With ADHD Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – Emma Sciberras, Melissa Mulraney, Vicki Anderson, Ronald M. Rapee, Jan M. Nicholson, Daryl Efron, Katherine Lee, Zoe Markopoulos, Harriet Hiscock,.” Accessed May 5, 2017. http://journals.sagepub.com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054715584054.
 John D. Friesen, “Theories and Approaches to Family Counselling,” International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling 18, no. 1 (March 1, 1995): 3–10, doi:10.1007/BF01409599.
 Marie Foley, “A Comparison of Family Adversity and Family Dysfunction in Families of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Families of Children without ADHD,” Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing 16, no. 1 (January 2011): 39–49, doi:10.1111/j.1744-6155.2010.00269.x.
 Stefan G. Hofmann et al., “The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-Analyses,” Cognitive Therapy and Research 36, no. 5 (October 1, 2012): 427–40, doi:10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1.
 “Managing Anxiety in Children With ADHD Using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – Emma Sciberras, Melissa Mulraney, Vicki Anderson, Ronald M. Rapee, Jan M. Nicholson, Daryl Efron, Katherine Lee, Zoe Markopoulos, Harriet Hiscock,” accessed May 5, 2017, http://journals.sagepub.com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054715584054.
When two people form a union, whether a legal union – such as marriage, or a domestic partnership, there will be conflict. These are the facts of life. How conflict is managed depends upon a number of factors. The most important of which, is how conflict was handled in that person’s family growing up. The other factor is personality of the individuals. The statistical data regarding the success of marriage counseling is inconclusive, but given that more couples are seeking therapy than ever before, and the divorce rate is on the higher, it seems that seeking psychological help for a non-mental health problem may not be the answer.
Studies show that one of the reasons marriage counseling and therapy do not work is that the marriage is treated as if it is a mental disorder. It is also treated as if it is a single entity forgetting that there are two distinct individuals involved in the relationship, ergo, the conflict. Marital conflict does not occur because either or both the parties suffer from some pre-existing mental health disorder. Marital or relationship conflict exists because of the breakdown or non-existence of effective communication and negotiation skills between two opposing forces.
Yes, that is correct. From the moment a couple meets and decides they want to pursue a relationship they are two opposing forces. Each come into the relationship as two different people who want differing things. Even the things they want have varying degrees of differences.
Somehow people entering a marriage, especially first marriages, do so with the belief that when two people love each other, everything will just work out. This is the biggest mistake people make. Many do not talk about important details that are necessary to operate a successful marriage; yet are shocked when conflict arises.
Marriage is a legal union. Romance, religion, and everything else aside, it is a legal union. If a person goes into a business relationship with his or her best friend, it is a legal union. If they do so without a clear understanding of where they want that business to go, and what steps they need to take in order to get there, that business union will fail, and so most likely will the friendship.
According to most research reports, couples do not seek marriage therapy or counseling until they have reached the point of marital dysfunction. Then, the therapy is only as successful as the couple’s desire to make it work, and the willingness to make some changes.
Some couples stay in therapy for years; only to divorce anyhow.
Marital or relationship conflict is not a mental health disorder. It is an inability to resolve conflict.
Mediation is not about fixing anyone or anything, it is about resolving conflict that affects the marriage. When a couple take their marriage to a therapist, the fingers invariably start pointing and the inevitable labeling starts and what was He Said/She Said becomes He’s Crazy/She’s Crazy.
When marriage counseling does not work, people then seek a lawyer. At this point the conflict has risen to a level they now have new things to fight over. Children and property, and whose fault it is. If they cannot come to a resolution, then often a family mediator is hired to help resolve the conflict. Even in mediations where it is clear that divorce is happening, the argument returns to the marital conflict. This is a clear sign that neither of the parties want to divorce, they just feel helpless and unable to live with ongoing conflict.
Most mediations end in resolution, meaning the parties come to an agreement regarding child custody, child support, and marital assets. Many times, they even come to an agreement over why the marriage was broken.
That is something to think about.
Why not seek mediation in the first place? Resolve marital conflict before it becomes divorce and child custody conflict. Let a divorce mediator help you mediate your marital conflict, before it becomes a case for the courts, or a big payday for the lawyers.
Blinder, Martin G., and Martin Kirschenbaum. “The Technique of Married Couple Group Therapy.” Archives of General Psychiatry 17, no. 1 (July 1, 1967): 44–52. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730250046007.
Dinkmeyer, D., and J. Carlson. “Adlerian Marriage Therapy.” The Family Journal 1, no. 2 (April 1, 1993): 144–49. doi:10.1177/1066480793012005.
Markman, Howard J., and Lane L. Ritchie. “Couples Relationship Education and Couples Therapy: Healthy Marriage or Strange Bedfellows?” Family Process 54, no. 4 (December 2015): 655–71. doi:10.1111/famp.12191.
“Marriage Counseling Statistics.” http://www.MarriageGuardian.com. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.marriageguardian.com/marriage-counseling-statistics.html.
“Marriage Counseling Statistics – Marriage | Laws.com.” Accessed May 7, 2017. http://marriage.laws.com/marriage-counseling/marriage-counseling-statistics.