The Web address of this
Clicking links below will open a full window or an informational popup, so
please turn off your brow-ser's
popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit, ad-free Web site. If your
This is one of a series of articles on evolving and
families (Lesson 5). The series exists because the wide
range of current U.S. social problems suggests that
most families don't
fill the primary needs of (nurture) their members very well.
That suggests the epidemic effects of the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
proposed in this nonprofit, ad-free site .
This YouTube clip provides perspective on this worksheet:
conflict occurs when someone feels
caught between two or more other people
who each want attention or priority now (e.g. "Support menow, not her or him!"). Such conflicts occur in all human
groups. They're specially common and complex in troubled,
No one is wrong or bad if they happen!
Family loyalty conflicts can erupt over
almost anything:clothes, money, pets, chores, language,
child discipline, friends, privacy, worship, vacations, meals, space, attitudes, holidays, rules,
objects, grooming, etc.
This worksheet aims to (a) help you learn
something about such conflicts in your family, (b) suggest some choices, and
promote discussion and awareness among your family
members about them. This worksheet is not about
blaming - it's about learning!
Print the worksheet, find an undistracted place,
and check to see if your
true Self is
personality. If not, your results below may be skewed. Fill out the
worksheet thoughtfully, and ask others
in your stepfamily to do the same.
discuss your findings - as fellow explorers and teammates, vs. opponents or
competitors. If you can't do that yet, you have some
+ + +
that cause repeated
loyalty conflicts between three or more members of your family now:
Pick one of these problems.Name the person who
feels stuck "in the middle" between two or more other family members:
In this conflict, what does this "middle" person
What do (you think) each of the other people involved
here? Possibilities: love, attention, respect, listening, to feel
valued, reassurance, safety, strokes, validation, affirmation, information,
How do these people usually try to
resolve their loyalty conflict? Check
one or more:
_ They hold a group meeting and
discuss the problem as _ equals or _ unequals;
_ One or more people can't
or won't say clearly what they want;
_ Some people ( who?_______________________________________________) don't _ care or
understand what the others want;
_ Someone ( who?
________________________ ) orders or demands that the other/s to do it their way;
_ The group cooperatively
brainstorms different solutions, _ tries one or more, and _
the conflict usually gets lastingly resolved;
_ The original problem gets
tangled up with others, and gets lost after a while with no lasting solution or decision);
_ Other people are called in (
who? _____________________ ) to help, fight, or decide;
_ Someone ( who?
__________________________ ) changes the subject;
_ People bargain and compromise
successfully: "I'll do this if you do that...";
_ Some people _ blame,
_ argue, _ plead, _ yell, _ leave, _ whine, _ cry, _ collapse,
_ ______________________________, and _ ____________________________
Who? does these?
_ Other typical outcomes:
_ Everyone, _ no
one, or _ _____________________
usually gets s/he needs here;
When the conflict ends, the "middle" person here probably
_______________, and the others probably feel
The next time this (or a similar) loyalty conflict occurs, the outcome would
improve if (who does what differently - be specific):
Thoughts / feelings / awarenesses...
Option: use this worksheet periodically with all family members to track
and affirm your group progress in mastering your loyalty
conflicts over time. Keep in mind,
this worksheet is not about blaming
or fault-finding - it's about learning!
A Loyalty-conflict Exercise
Describing a loyalty conflict is one thing. Actually experiencing one
brings home the concept more vividly than words do. Here's a safe way to
experience and learn from them in families or groups. You need at least
three adults and/or kids, and plenty of space.
One person explain to the others: "a 'loyalty conflict' occurs when two
people each want a third person to choose and support them over the other.
They can create a lot of stress, unless all three people know how to manage
them. Let's do a brief role play, and then see what we learn."
Everyone stand up. Ask who wants to be in the middle ("M"), or appoint
someone. Have the other two people stand facing each other on either side of
"M," and each firmly grasp "M"s closest hand in both of theirs. Pause, and
ask "How does this feel?"
Now have each person pull on M's hand, and say something like "Choose ME! /
Be with ME!" / "Don't choose (the other person)!" / "You have to side with
me!" Gradually pull harder and get louder and faster. "M" can be silent or
say whatever occurs to her or him. Do this for about a minute, and then
stop. Tho this may seem silly, it's not - so avoid any giggling or laughing.
Debrief each other by asking and discussing...
"What did that (exercise)
feel like to you?"
"What thoughts came to
"What did you want to do,
as this tug-o-war escalated?"
Did this remind you of
"What should the person in
the middle do about this situation?"
When you're done debriefing, try one last step: ask each other "What would a
solution to this struggle look like? (The answer - form a circle by holding
each others' hands, and stop pulling (fighting)! For more
detail, read and discuss this.
You can extend this
having each person take a
turn in the middle - even young kids;
Pause, breathe, and recall why you used this worksheet. Did you get what
you needed? If so, what do you need now? If not - what
you need? Who's answering these questions - your wise resident