By Randall Diaz,2014-08-11 11:12
7 views 0


    1. IDENTIFY THE CONFLICT: Identify a recent conflict, argument, or negative situation

    with your spouse, friend, child, neighbor, coworker, or whomever something that

    really “pushed your buttons” or upset you. Think about how you were feeling and how

    you wished the person would not say or do the things that upset you. You might have

    thought something like, If only you would stop saying or doing _____, I would not be

    so upset.

    2. IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS. How did this conflict or negative situation make you feel?

    Check all the apply-but “star” the most important feelings:

___ Unsure ___ Uncomfortable ___ Frightened

    ___ Apathetic ___ Confused ___ Anxious

    ___ Puzzled ___ Worried ___ Horrified

    ___ Upset ___ Disgusted ___ Disturbed

    ___ Sullen ___ Resentful ___ Furious

    ___ Sad ___ Bitter ___ Other: ______________

    ___ Hurt ___ Fed up ___ Other: ______________

    ___ Disappointed ___ Frustrated ___ Other: ______________ ___ Wearied ___ Miserable

    ___ Tom up ___ Guilty

    ___ Shamed ___ Embarrassed

    3. IDENTIFY YOUR FEAR: How did this conflict make you feel about yourself? What did

    the conflict “say” about you and your feelings? Check all that apply, but “star” the most

    important feeling.

; “As a result

    OR of the conflict,

    * I felt…” What That Feeling Sounds Like

     Rejected The other person doesn’t want me or need me; I

    am not necessary in this relationship; I feel


     Abandoned The other person will ultimately leave me; I will

    be left alone to care for myself; the other person

    won’t be committed to me for life.

     Disconnected We will become emotionally detached or

    separated; I will feel cut off from the other person.

     Like a failure I am not successful at being a husband/wife,

    friend, parent, coworker; I will not perform


     Helpless I cannot do anything to change the other person or

    my situation; I do not possess the power,

    resources, capacity, or ability to get what I want; I

    will feel controlled by the other person.

     Defective Something is wrong with me; I’m the problem.

     Inadequate I am not capable; I am incompetent.

     Inferior Everyone else is better than I am; I am less

    valuable or important than others.

     Invalidated Who I am, what I think, what I do, or how I feel is

    not valued.

     Unloved The other person doesn’t care about me; my

    relationship lacks warm attachment, admiration,

    enthusiasm, or devotion.

     Dissatisfied I will not experience satisfaction in the

    relationship; I will not feel joy or excitement about

    the relationship.

     Cheated The other person will take advantage of me or will

    withhold something I need; I won’t get what I


     Worthless I am useless; I have no value to the other person.

     Unaccepted I am never able to meet the other person’s

    expectations; I am not good enough.

     Judged I am always being unfairly judged; the other

    person forms faulty or negative opinions about me;

    I am always being evaluated; the other person does

    not approve of me.

     Humiliated The relationship is extremely destructive to my

    self-respect or dignity.

     Ignored The other person will not pay attention to me; I

    feel neglected.

     Insignificant I am irrelevant in the relationship; the other person

    does not see me as an important part of our



    4. IDENTIFY YOUR REACTIONS: What do you do when you feel [insert the most important feeling from question #3]? How do you react when you feel that way? Identify your common verbal or physical reactions to deal with that feeling. Check all that apply

    but “star” the most important reactions:



    * Reaction Explanation

     Withdrawal You avoid others or alienate yourself without

    resolution; you sulk or use the silent treatment.

     Escalation Your emotions spiral out of control; you argue,

    raise your voice, fly into a rage.

     Try harder You try to do more to earn others’ love and care.

     Negative beliefs You believe the other person is far worse than is

    really the case; you see the other person in a

    negative light or attribute negative motives to him

    or her.

     Blaming You place responsibility on others, not accepting

    fault; you’re convinced the problem is the other

    person’s fault.

     Exaggeration You make overstatements or enlarge your words

    beyond bounds or the truth.

     Tantrums You have fits of bad temper.

     Denial You refuse to admit the truth or reality.

     Invalidation You devalue the other person; you do not

    appreciate what he or she feels or thinks or does.

     Defensiveness Instead of listening you defend yourself by

    providing an explanation.

     Clinginess You develop a strong emotional attachment or

    dependence on the other person.

     Passive-aggressive You display negative emotions, resentment, and

    aggression in passive ways, such as procrastination

    and stubbornness.

     Caretaking You become responsible for the other person by

    giving physical or emotional care and support to

    the point you are doing everything for the other

    person, who does nothing to care for himself or


     Acting out You engage in negative behaviors, such as drug or

    alcohol abuse, extramarital affairs, excessive

    shopping or spending, or overeating.

     Fix-it mode You focus almost exclusively on what is needed to

    solve the problem.

     Complaining You express unhappiness or make accusations;

    you criticize, creating a list of the other person’s


     Aggression or abuse You become verbally or physically aggressive,

    possibly abusive.

     Manipulation You control the other person for your own

    advantage; you try to get him or her to do what

    you want.

     Anger and rage You display strong feelings of displeasure or

    violent and uncontrolled emotions.

     Catastrophize You use dramatic, exaggerated expressions to

    depict that the relationship is in danger or that it

    has failed.

     Numbing out You become devoid of emotion, or you have no

    regard for others’ needs or troubles.

     Humor You use humor as a way of not dealing with the

    issue at hand.

     Sarcasm You use negative humor, hurtful words, belittling

    comments, cutting remarks, or demeaning


     Minimization You assert that the other person is overreacting to

    an issue; you intentionally underestimate,

    downplay, or softpedal the issue.

     Rationalization You attempt to make your actions seem

    reasonable; you try to attribute your behavior to

    credible motives; you try to provide believable but

    untrue reasons for your conduct.

     Indifference You are cold and show no concern.

     Abdication You give away responsibilities.

     Self-Abandonment You run yourself down; you neglect yourself.


    5. Look at the items you starred in response to question 3. List the three or four main feelings.

    These are your core fears:

    Core fear #1 _______________________________________________________

    Core fear #2 _______________________________________________________

    Core fear #3 _______________________________________________________

    Remember that most core fears are related to two main primary fears:

    1. The fear of being controlled (losing influence or power over others).

    2. The fear of being disconnected (separation from people and being alone).

    More men fear losing power or being controlled, and more women fear being disconnected from relationship with others.

    6. Look at the items you starred in response to question 4. List your three or four main

    reactions when someone pushes your core fear button.

    Reaction #1 _______________________________________________________

    Reaction #2 _______________________________________________________

    Reaction #3 _______________________________________________________

    Your responses to these exercises should help you understand your part of the Fear Dance: your core fear button and your reaction. Remember that it’ very common for your reactions to push to core fear button of the other person in the conflict. If the other person can figure out his or her core fears and reactions, you will see clearly the unique Fear Dance the two of you are doing. But even if the other person isn’t able to be involved in the process of discovering his or her part of the Fear Dance, you can take steps to stop the dance.

Source: Dr. Gary Smalley, The DNA of Relationships

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email