Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dealing with Conflict: A Summary of Personality Types

I'm reading a book for my academic program that discusses conflict in the church.  It's principles can certainly be applied to other arenas of conflict:  marriage, work situations, raising teens, etc.  One of the interesting parts of the book is reading about the differing personalities displayed in conflict.

Each has a positive and a "shadow side" (a phrase the author uses and one which I will probably employ in the future).

Passive Responders:  the good is they tend to have a ton of patience.  The shadow side is their silence often makes the complicit in the conflict, or at the very least uncaring toward the people in it.

Evasive Responders:  the good is they don't want to hurt others and often have high mercy gifts.  The shadow side is in their avoidance they become the patient who doesn't want to hear they have cancer until it's too late and then don't want to deal with surgery or chemo because it will hurt too badly.

Defensive Responders:  the good is they think/know they are called by God and are ready to do what He said to do.  The shadow side is they can leave a trail of scarred souls in their wake, chopped up in the propeller of their rightness.

Aggressive Responders:  the good is they have a clear sense of where they are going and what needs to be done.  The shadow side is they pummel people into submission, working on a sense of power and control instead of love and trust.

So in your marriage, parenting, church, ministry, etc., which one are you?

I think I might register differently, depending on the arena of conflict.  I'm probably too aggressive with my kids but too passive in other areas.  What about you?

P.S.  The book is a quick and interesting read, with the four chapters describing the personality types worth the price of the book:  Jim Van Yperen's Making Peace.

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