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The Resentment Dumpers

Dump your Resentment, not your Relationship!

The Foundation of “Curiosity”

Many interesting creations can come from combining seemingly non-related entities.  Reese’s peanut butter cups combines chocolate and peanut butter.  Amazon.com combines book sales and the Internet.  The Melfox Method combines engineering and conflict resolution.

Engineer

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and worked in that field for seven years.  I like the idea that engineers are put on this planet to solve problems.  I learned through lessons and experience that the first vital step in effectively solving any problem is accurately defining the problem.

Makes sense.  You can’t expect to find a solution to something if you don’t know what the real problem is.  A blaring smoke alarm is not the problem.  The problem is the fire.  Disconnecting the alarm may stop the blaring, yet it’s just a symptom of the real problem: an open fire in your house.  By not properly drilling down and defining the real problem, efforts are not going to solve the real problem.  That kinda thing can burn down a house… or a relationship.  That’s right.  Our traditional approach to conflict with our partner does not focus in on the right thing.  Identifying and understanding the “real problem” when dealing with conflict is the foundation of The Melfox Method and my book Curiosity Killed The Spat.

Relationship Engineering – Defining The Real Problem

When we experience conflict in a relationship, we traditionally see our partner as the problem and they see us as the problem.  Mano-a-mano. You versus them.  We focus our attention on winning the argument, waiting for our partner to stop badgering us, or looking to escape.  None of these actually solve the problem of relationship conflict.  But what if we changed this perspective?  What if we saw something else as the focal point?

Before astrologers saw the Sun as the center of our solar system, predicting the course of stars and the Moon was pretty straight forward.  Planets, on the other hand, not so much.  Imagine a conversation between ancient Greek astrologers assigned to map the course of heavenly bodies:

Astrologer #1:  “But what about these objects that zig-zag and loop-de-loop all over the place?  They wander around with no rhyme or reason.”
 
Astrologer #2:  “Brilliant!  We’ll just call them “wandering stars” * and be done with it.  It’s Miller time!”

* The English word “planet” is derived from the Ancient Greek term astēr planētēs, meaning “wandering star”

It wasn’t until astrologers shifted their focal point (center of the solar system) from the Earth to the Sun did the orbital paths of planets become easily understood and predictable.  It seems to me that calling certain objects “wanderers” was their way of throwing their hands up and telling the world “we have no idea”.  Kinda sounds like our traditional view of relationships, doesn’t it?

Changing The Conflict Focal Point

The scientific and engineering communities don’t have much to say in regards to solving the problems of intimate relationships.  Just like ancient astrologers, they look at the mysterious zig-zagging, loop-de-looping world of conflict and throw up their hands.  But what if is just a matter of changing the focal point?  Imagine if we stop focusing on our partner during moments of conflict and start focusing on the real problem – resentment.

Traditionally we focus our attention on changing the mind of our partner and defending what we believe is true.  It’s just you and your partner in the conflict wrestling ring, so it can only be you versus your partner, right?  But what if we shifted our focal point?  What if we put resentment at the center of our conflict resolution “solar system?”  Instead of seeing conflict as battling each other, you could see you and your partner as a tag team with resentment as the common foe:

Conflict focal point: PARTNER

Conflict focal point: RESENTMENT

 

Resentment is the true enemy of relationships.  If we were to focus our collective attention on resentment instead of each other, conflict resolution takes on a whole new perspective.  The problem is no longer our partner; it’s the resentment we share with them.  The goal is no longer to win an argument; it’s to figure out the reason(s) for resentment.

I wrote Curiosity Killed The Spat: The Melfox Method for Relationship Health Through Effective Conflict Resolution focusing on resentment as the problem, not your partner.  After that, the rest of the solution falls into place:

1. Environment:  The problem.  You and your partner work together with resentment as the common enemy.
2. Information:  The agent of change.  Sharing each other’s world to the point of acceptance.
3. Egoity:  The indicator of resentment.  Allowing defensive reactions to pinpoint the conflict to be resolved.
4. Interaction:  The solution.  Effective combination of sharing Information and controlling Egoity so that the reason(s) for resentment is (are) exposed.
5. Outcome:  The result.  Listing the impact of Interaction on your relationship with your partner, yourself, your family, and your world.
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