Despite all my preparation, I couldn’t catch anyone at home during the next weekend. Therefore, I decided to write down what I wanted in the form of a letter, apologizing for contacting them through writing, but I was finding it difficult to catch people at a convenient time.
Within a few days, people stopped parking in my place. When I encountered one of my neighbors, I would say, “did you get the note I put under your door? I wanted to speak with you directly but the timing was off.” Two people responded by saying that they were glad someone finally dealt with the issue. The other person just mumbled something under his breath.
About a month later, my parking spot stopped being available again. I didn’t think it would be appropriate to repeat my previous actions. I began to notice that only one of the tenants wasn’t complying. I asked the manager if she would speak to the individual. She did, and for the most part the issue went away.
Have you ever experienced a similar situation? Most people have. Discuss how you handled the situation and how you could have handled it differently using the DBT skills.
As a group, make up a fictional circumstance. Role play with one another (like a director giving instruction to actors) ways in which the conflict could be resolved.
Discuss the challenge of describing a circumstance without judging it. Pay careful attention to the difference between observation words like “his face became red, his eyebrows furrowed and the tone of his voice increased to a higher pitch” (all observations) as opposed to “he became angry” (a judgment). Observe how you feel about using (or receiving) observing words as opposed to judging words.
Think of a difficult situation in your life that occurred in the past. Don’t start with an important major crisis, rather with an annoying circumstance. Go through the Factors to Consider in determining what you could have thought about. Write out your answers to the “DEAR” acronym.
Consider what behavior is difficult for you. Do you avoid conflict? Do you blow up and behave in a reactionary way? Do you feel justified in anything you do or do you feel you don’t have the right to stand up for yourself? Do you have difficulty making eye contact or do you look at others intensely when there is conflict? Use this exercise (along with your own questions) to ascertain the things you feel you need to work on in relationships. Talk to your therapist about these things.
Consider an important conflict that occurred in your past. For each conflict you think over, write a letter using the rules of “DEAR MAN.”