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Adult son is very upset about some of his belongings thrown out when he left for a year.

by Tamira
(San Francisco)

How do I talk to him when he looks through the garage for things of his are gone. I am always blamed and we end up fighting. I have to let him in the garage and listen to his pain and anger. It makes me sad and I am very anxious about this. ( His step dad is the one that got rid of stuff)!

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Apr 26, 2018
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Thanks Tamira
by: Alan

Hi Tamira

Thanks for the contact. I'm interested in your comment that you are always blamed and you end up fighting. This is usually due to discussions becoming a 'competitive' approach to a conflict where the battle is to say one person is wrong and the other right or is the victim. The main features of a resolved situation could be seen as occurring when there is learning, connection and/or insight, described in this article:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140421222449-47950092-conflict-is-an-opportunity-use-it/

A competitive or avoidance approach to any conflict will always become entrenched:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/two-ways-responding-conflict-never-resolve-alan-sharland/

If the past cannot be changed with regard to his things the question is what will be done in the future to prevent a similar experience happening again....what can he do, what can you do, what can you both do or even all of you, including his step-dad if he is willing to participate in a better way forward? Blame is past focused, and leads to things remaining stuck. A no-blame approach allows for learning and change. Your son may not be interested in that and may want to focus on blame but ultimately, even if he isn't, if you are able to step outside of defending or retaliating to accusations your focus can be on ensuring the same doesn't happen again in future - which is ultimately the main benefit of conflict resolution as the past can never be changed.

"In the no-blame approach, all mistakes are treated as opportunities to learn, connect with others and gain insights at various levels - personal, procedural, organisational etc. through:

the openness to explore rather than defend,
the willingness to review rather than justify and....
the intention to co-operate rather than condemn."
.....from this page: https://www.communicationandconflict.com/no-blame-approach.html

I hope that is of use but if not please feel free to make direct contact with me to explore further.

Thanks again for your comment.

Alan

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