When we get involved in an argument we run the risk of entering a process called escalation, consisting of increasing the aggressiveness of our arguments, reducing the importance we give to the possible impact they may have on the person who receives them.
What is escalation?
It is not just a matter of degree in which one of the participants increases the tone of voice, giving rise to the classic situation where each one tries to shout more than the other person to emphasize their position, ending in a succession of screams without a direction Sure. In escalation we can find ourselves completely calm while trying to position ourselves above the person in question .
This process is more likely when we have an affective relationship with that person, which has much greater consequences when adding elements such as past experiences in other similar situations or expectations regarding the other person.
Escalation is both a consequence and a technique used in discussions by knowing their way of acting. When the emotional part of the speech tends to increase, the other person can focus on this factor, dismissing our arguments by separating them from the emotion we are showing. It is the so-called anger disarm technique, widely used in the business world when group dynamics are carried out .
How to de-escalate a discussion?
De-escalation is a behavior that attempts passive management and conflict reduction. De-escalating an argument does not mean giving in or giving up, it means becoming aware of what is happening, using assertiveness and changing the meaning of the conversation , with meaning we refer to the tone of voice, body language, verbal language and direction of the conversation.
Sometimes you have to take some time to think before answering, as some answers can escalate a discussion to a very high point. In couple relationships, escalation is especially dangerous and is one of the major causes of breakdown in romantic relationships , and the one that produces the most regret over time.
When we find ourselves in front of a discussion, we can take advantage of the situation to separate the emotional tone from the content of the speech itself, which will reduce the escalation process and allow the discussion to be redirected. Failure to do so may cause us to escalate ourselves, adding even more emotional factors to the discussion.
Despite knowing the existence of the escalation process, we will find moments in which it is really difficult not to enter this process. Personal factors and beliefs about the consequences that not being above the discussion can have leads us to the trigger, ignoring even the type of relationship we have with the participant .
Some of the factors that can help de-escalate a situation are:
Communication is an extremely important factor in being able to de-escalate a conflict or crisis. Learning to listen with empathy , trying to understand where the discussion is coming from and the other person’s point of view can help us better handle a conflict. It is always good to put yourself in the shoes of the other to realize that perhaps the other is not as wrong as we think and simply perceives things differently .
If the other person in the conflict feels that they do not have our attention and that we are overlooking their feelings, they may become so angry that the conflict continues to escalate, and includes more negative actions on our part. This will not be good, because if we are trying to de-escalate an unpleasant and conflictive situation, the last thing we have to do is make the other party more angry. Nor is it that we have to agree with him, but we do have to pay attention to his feelings and his vision of the problem.
By actually listening, and conveying that through body language, as well as words, we can eliminate the person’s reason for escalating the situation.
Take some time
If we are angry, we must first calm down before interacting with the other person in the conflict , because if we start the situation driven by anger we will only increase the degree of the conflict.
First we will calm down and then we will begin to look at the situation and look for how we can intervene safely. We can take a deep breath, count to 10, or tell the other party that this is not the right time to talk.
With assertiveness we can express our feelings and thoughts firmly and concisely, respecting and without offending the other. To be assertive during a crisis or during an argument, we will not use a high tone of voice, but we will not use a low tone either; We will use the ideal tone, the one that provides firmness but at the same time tranquility. We must send clear messages and our body language must be correct: neither crestfallen, nor euphoric, simply upright and facing.
Know how to apologize
We should never apologize for an imaginary mistake, but a sincere apology in a situation that was unfair can build credibility in our attempt to scale down. This is a simple acknowledgment that something happened that could reasonably cause the other person to get angry.
Apologizing allows the other person to realize that we are using our capacity for empathy , we are putting ourselves in their shoes and we are realizing that we did something wrong.
Finally we must learn to detect and reduce it. One of the best ways is to apply the so-called time out, a technique brought directly from clinical psychology where we will ask the person with whom we are arguing to give us a certain time to think , relax and return to the subject at another more appropriate time. . If we trust her, she will allow us that time, helping when the discussion resumes.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.