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A Tug of War Always Takes Two!

ginny-pigsYesterday I was puttering around my home and starting to take out some Christmas decorations when someone I love called me with a request. Immediately I knew it wasn’t really a request but more of an emotional confrontation. I could feel the pull on the imaginary rope in my hands. My body started to bend slightly toward them. I was listening to their point of view, their perception of a situation. Meanwhile I am thinking where the hell is this coming from? Obviously my perception was very different. In fact I was completely caught off balance by this recent tug on the rope of emotional connection between us.

I started to pull on my side just a bit to keep my balance while I processed what I was hearing. The crazy Mal from years ago would have dragged their ass down the street without even thinking. Was this the truth as I knew it? Is the other person showing me a scenario that is clouded by their perception or is it my reality? I was holding on while all these thought ran through my mind. I knew that I had been very compassionate with them. In fact I prayed for guidance daily because the relationship had become so challenged. Deep within me, my intention was very clear. I wanted to maintain a presence of grace and love in all my actions and honor my boundaries at the same time.

After they left, I made my intentions very clear in a follow up email. I was not buying into their emotional drama. They can have their perception and I can have mine. I am not responsible for what they think or feel. I choose not to engage in this conflict but instead to release the rope and walk away.

Afterwards it hit me how simple this three step process was for dealing with emotional conflict.

  1. Maintain balance: Listen without over reacting to the other person’s opinion or position on what they experienced.
  2. Think: What is your truth in this situation? Is your perception coming from your heart or your head where there is a hot button called ego.
  3. Release: Let go of the tension in the rope that is holding the both of you in conflict. Respond from your heart and walk away.

It feels amazingly empowering not to be engaged in unconscious conflict.

Just because someone invited you into an argument doesn’t mean you have to show up!



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Mal Duane is a Best Selling Author and Personal Life and Recovery Coach who has overcome life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships. Mal has been featured with Fox 25 Boston Morning Show, CBS Radio, Aspire Magazine, Healthy Living and Metrowest Daily News. She has also been a featured guest on over one hundred Blogtalk Radio shows discussing recovery and personal transformation.

Mal’s book, Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power, is a best selling book and is available on


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