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Two Basic Intentions Observed When Communicating

N.B.Conflict only exists when one or both partners feel misunderstood.

By contrast, when partners feel mutually understood, their differences don't trigger conflict.


  • I intend to really listen to you, to understand your point of view.
  • I want you to know I'm bringing up this subject because I care about you and our relationship.
  • I am committed to making this dialogue safe for both of us.
  • It is my intention to get to a good place where we feel connected and close.
  • I really want to find a win/win solution for us.
  • I want you to know in this dialogue that I am on your side.
  • I commit myself to listening to you with an open heart and mind.


Polarization involves a certain sequence of beliefs:

  • I feel misunderstood by you.
  • My needs are not being met by you.
  • You do not want to meet my needs. You don't care about me.
  • I see you as hostile and malicious.
  • I can't be me and be loved by you. You do not see or hear me and you do not want to see or hear me.
  • Whatever I do for you isn't appreciated or is never good enough.
  • Why should I be in this relationship at all?

Adapted from article by Bruce Wood, Imago Dialogue, Spring 1998.


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