What's Your Conflict Style?








The Relationship Conflict Styles Quiz

Complicated relationships sometimes feel like a tangled knot of issues. My People Patterns is the relationship education hub providing tools and education to help detangle relationship knots and help you grow great relationships. 

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Our Healthy Relationships Curriculum:


Emotional Intimacy: In order for a relationship to be healthy we have to make sure that there is the right amount of emotional connection, not too close where things get messy, and not too distant.

Couples Conflict Resolution: Couples have to know how to have healthy disagreements, and understand their own conflict patterns.

Toxic Patterns: We all fall into patterns of relating that are unhealthy, identifying these and working to shift them is essential for long-lasting relationships.


Is there too much conflict in your relationships? Do you have the same arguments over and over? Take the couples conflict quiz to get more information on your patterns. 

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'Toxic Relationships' means a lot of things to different people. We want to help you identify if there are any unhealthy patterns of interaction that could do with some help.

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Sometimes the cause of relationship problems lies in the way a couple can become emotionally distant over time. Find out if you have a block to your emotional intimacy here. 

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Constant Arguing in a Relationship?


Sometimes the first step in understanding why and how your relationship is having too much conflict is by understanding how you react to confrontation and anger. Our free online relationship quiz will help you determine what your pattern is, and we'll help you understand what can be done about it. 

A Conflict Style Test Your Relationship Needs

Conflict style tests and assessments serve the purpose of helping individuals gain a better understanding of their personal approach to conflict and how it may impact their relationships. A test or a quiz assess various conflict styles and provides valuable insights into one's natural tendencies and preferences when it comes to dealing with disagreements or conflicts.

The primary purpose of a conflict style test is to promote self-awareness and improve communication skills. By identifying and understanding our preferred conflict resolution style, we can become more conscious of our own behavior during conflicts and better equipped to navigate and resolve them effectively.

When we know our conflict style, then we might be able to understand the conflict patterns we are locked in. Once you can see and spot patterns, they are much easier to break. 

'I' Statements vs 'You' Statements:

Our ultimate guide to using 'I' Statements.

The My People Pattern's Ultimate Guide to 'I' Statements is the perfect guide to our experiential guide on Youtube.

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The DIY Marriage Counseling Tool:

Improve communication, increase accountability, and feel more connected.

The My People Pattern's Check-In, Check-List Tool is now available. Find out how to use this deceptively simple tool to improve your relationship in this video by clicking on the link below. 

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The act of refusing communication, stalling, or evading, especially to avoid conflict.

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The Avoider dodges conflict but often increases frustration in their partner. Watch more here.

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Misplaced anger can destroy and wound the people who are closest. Watch more here

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Disdain is a form of contempt-  the most damaging of forces to a relationship. 

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The Retaliator plays a defensive game when under attack, most often by countering. 

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Criticism differs from complaints, although the two are often confused. Learn more here:

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Disdain is a form of contempt-  the most damaging of forces to a relationship. 

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The Retaliator plays a defensive game when under attack, most often by countering. 

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The Deflector has an awesome way of turning the conflict back onto you.

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The Stonewaller                        

So, you've been labeled a "The Stonewaller" by our personality quiz.

It might sound a bit intense, but let's be real: we all have our ways of coping with conflict, but...

...Coping is not the same as thriving.

Stonewalling is way of dealing with conflict that is ultimately destructive to relationships, so understanding why you Stonewall is an important first step.

  • Do you become overwhelmed with intense waves of emotions, including anger?
  • Does the idea of conflict feel terrifying to you?
  • Do you want to run away or shut down because your partner is acting in a certain way?

You deserve a relationship that's alive with passion and understanding, and My People Patterns can help you find the tools to have a more harmonious, fun and loving connection. 

Stonewalling is more than just a refusal to communicate; it's a defensive strategy, and it's a wall built to keep out the storm of confrontation, but in doing so, it also isolates the Stonewaller from meaningful connection and resolution. That often makes your partner more frustrated and increases the distance between you. 


Imagine being in a relationship in which you

  • have the tools to stay balanced, even in the stormiest of conflicts
  • you can face challenges head-on, not with fear, but with confidence.
  • are in sync with your partner, understanding each other, building something unbreakable.

These are the skills and tools you need to work on if you're a Stonewaller and want a healthier happier relationship.

If you didn't sign up for our mailing list when you got your results, I really hope you will reconsider. I share some of the therapy tools and activities that I use with couples and families in my private practice in those emails, and I've seen them work and change relationships in a profound way. 

Sign Me Up For A Healthier Relationship!

The Defender


The Defender perceives conflict as a personal attack and reacts by adopting self-protective strategies which tend to manifest as righteous indignation or a sense of innocent victimhood. This reaction serves as a shield against perceived aggression or threats. While it's common for people to become defensive when criticized, the Defender takes it a step further by launching a counterattack. For instance, consider this example:

Ben: "Did you feed the dog like I asked this morning?"

Jen: "I was just about to, but if you're going to micromanage me, why don't you just do it yourself?"

In this scenario, the conversation shifts from a simple question about feeding the dog to an accusation of micromanagement and a retaliatory response. This is the Defender's tendency to deflect criticism and respond with counterattacks, by shifting the conversation from themself, onto the other person. This is somewhat different from The Deflector who shifts the conversation, but not necessarily as an attack on to the other.

Sometimes their anger is the vengeful type, particularly if the Defender has been harboring resentment or grudge. This means their attack will have been fueled by revenge or getting back at someone who has wronged the individual and can be particularly hurtful to be on the receiving end.



The Avoider


The Avoider is a conflict pattern characterized by a tendency to evade or sidestep disagreements or confrontations. This pattern often stems from anxiety triggered by conflicts, leading to behaviors such as apologizing excessively, agreeing without genuine consent, or accommodating others to avoid tension. When faced with the slightest disagreement, Avoiders may blank out, feel panic, or perceive themselves as victims.


Avoiders often resort to childhood defenses such as denial, repression, or depersonalization to protect themselves. They may remain emotionally distant from others, end relationships abruptly, or abandon friendships without warning. In extreme cases, they may victimize or demonize others to justify their fears.


Avoiders may have developed their conflict-avoidance behaviors due to strict or short-tempered parents, aggressive siblings or peers, or an absent caretaker in their past. These experiences can leave emotional scars that get reawakened during conflicts, triggering panic reactions such as sweating, shaking, or heart palpitations.


Avoiders often hide their true feelings, store up frustration, and neglect their own needs, which can escalate conflicts in relationships. However, learning to work through conflicts can stabilize their sense of self and boost their confidence. It can also bring them closer to others.


To deal with their anger, Avoiders need to commit to speaking up when confronted with a conflict or disagreement. They need to accept that conflicts and disagreements are inevitable and strive to resolve them in real-time, face to face. Joining a therapy group can be beneficial for Avoiders as it provides a safe space to improve interpersonal skills, foster greater intimacy with others, and learn to resolve conflicts productively.


Avoiders often use Disowned Anger, a type of anger that is suppressed or denied. This anger is often locked away and not acknowledged, leading to a disconnection from one's own feelings. It's as if the anger belongs to someone else, or it doesn't exist at all. This can lead to a lack of assertiveness and difficulty in expressing one's needs or boundaries.

The Fighter


The Fighter is usually the one who starts the fight, and if not, then they’re unafraid to express their anger and opinions during a conflict or disagreement.

They seem to thrive on debating hot-topics without realizing that they are quickly able to turn conversations into conflict. These disputes typically start out as simple disagreements but this partner rapidly escalates the battle into one that is won by the person who can yell the loudest and the longest (ie them). They tend to use the sheer power of noisy and contemptuous attacks to win the argument.

The fight might have a tendency to use Explosive Anger - a type of anger characterized by sudden, disproportionate outbursts. Because The Fighter lacks the skills needed to down-regulate their anger, these episodes often lead to heated arguments, physical fights, property damage, or threats and insults toward others



The Criticizer


The Criticizer is a type of person who uses criticism as a defense mechanism in relationships. This individual tends to find faults in their partner, often as a way to protect themselves from feeling vulnerable. The Criticizer's constant criticism can create a negative atmosphere in the relationship, leading to a cycle of mutual attacks and defenses. This behavior can be driven by hardened anger, where the Criticizer holds onto grudges and harbors feelings of bitterness.


For example, consider a scenario where a couple, let's call them Alex and Sam, are having a disagreement. Alex, who often plays the role of the Criticizer, might say something like, "You never listen to me, you're always so selfish." This criticism is not just about the current disagreement, but also a reflection of Alex's hardened anger and resentment towards Sam.


The Criticizer's behavior can be harmful to the relationship, as it often escalates conflicts rather than resolving them. However, it's important to note that the Criticizer's actions are often a result of their own feelings of vulnerability and fear of being hurt. By criticizing their partner, they are trying to protect themselves from potential emotional pain.


To deal with this type of anger, the Criticizer needs to work on their communication skills and learn to express their feelings in a more constructive way. This might involve expressing their needs and concerns directly, rather than resorting to criticism. It's also important for the Criticizer to work on their ability to forgive and let go of past grievances, as holding onto hardened anger can perpetuate a cycle of criticism and conflict.

The Diplomat


The Diplomat, as we call them, is a person who is often seen as agreeable and accommodating. They are the ones who are always ready to lend a hand, often putting the needs of others before their own. They are the peacemakers, the ones who avoid conflict and strive for harmony. They are often seen as non-assertive, always seeking approval, and never disagreeing. They are the ones who go with the flow, even if it's not what they truly want.

However, this accommodating nature can sometimes lead to them being overlooked or taken advantage of. They may struggle to express their own needs and wants, often feeling intimidated or apologetic. They may even feel like they don't want to bother people or that what they have to say isn't important. This can lead to them being disregarded and missing out on opportunities.

The Diplomat's communication style is often soft and hesitant. They may use apologetic phrases and tend to dismiss or diminish themselves in their speech. They may avoid expressing their opinion until others have given theirs and may avoid giving negative feedback or criticizing others, even constructively, due to anxiety about what may happen if they do.


Despite these challenges, the Diplomat's style is not without its advantages. They are often praised for being selfless and are rarely blamed if things go wrong due to their avoidance of responsibility. They are also often liked and appreciated for their easy-going and agreeable nature.

However, it's important to note that while the Diplomat is often seen as a peacemaker, they may also struggle with feelings of powerlessness, stress, and anger over their inability to refuse what may be unreasonable demands made of them by others. This can lead to self-criticism, a lack of self-confidence, and an inability to accept themselves as they are.

In the workplace, the Diplomat may find themselves taking on extra work outside of their remit and struggling to set appropriate boundaries. This could impact their work-life balance negatively and lead to overworking and burnout. Resentment may build up, leading to lower job satisfaction and demotivation. A further consequence could be an increase in anxiety and a loss of confidence in themselves which may even impact their career progression if it influences their ability to put themselves forward for opportunities or improve their visibility.

The Analyst


The Analyst is a type of individual who tends to approach conflict and anger through a lens of intellectualization. They often use their intellect as a shield, distancing themselves from the emotional aspects of a situation by focusing on logic, facts, and analysis. This can be seen as a form of disowned anger, where the emotional response is suppressed or ignored in favor of a more detached, cerebral approach.

For instance, consider this scenario:

Alex: "I can't believe you forgot our anniversary. It really hurt my feelings."

Jordan: "Well, statistically speaking, forgetting important dates is quite common. It's not a reflection of my feelings for you, but rather a human error."

In this example, Jordan, the Analyst, avoids addressing the emotional impact of forgetting the anniversary and instead shifts the conversation to a logical, statistical analysis of human behavior. This intellectual approach allows Jordan to sidestep the emotional confrontation, effectively disowning the anger that might otherwise arise from the situation.

While this approach can sometimes be useful in preventing impulsive, emotional reactions, it can also hinder emotional connection and empathy. It's important for the Analyst to recognize when intellectualization is serving as a barrier to emotional engagement and to work on integrating emotional awareness into their responses.


The Deflector


The Deflector is an expert at subtly shifting the focus of a conversation, often using a tactic known as "switch-tracking." This is when a response to feedback or criticism changes the subject, leading the conversation down a different track. For instance, consider this example:


Alex: "I noticed you didn't take out the trash last night like you said you would."

Sam: "Well, you didn't do the dishes like you promised."


In this scenario, Sam has deflected Alex's initial feedback about the trash and switched the topic to the dishes. This is a common pattern in the Deflector's communication style, where the conversation veers off into different directions, often leaving the original issue unresolved.


The Deflector's use of switch-tracking can be a form of passive-aggressive anger, where dissatisfaction or resentment is expressed indirectly. By changing the subject, they avoid addressing the initial criticism and instead focus on a different issue, often one where they feel they have the upper hand. This can lead to a cycle of deflection and counter-deflection, making it challenging to resolve conflicts effectively.


However, it's important to note that the Deflector's approach is not always intentional or malicious. It can be a learned response to conflict, a way to protect themselves from perceived criticism or attack. Understanding this pattern can help in addressing it and finding more constructive ways to communicate and resolve conflicts.

The Volcano


The Volcano has a type of anger that can be likened to a dormant volcano that suddenly erupts, causing havoc and destruction. This type of anger is characterized by sudden, explosive outbursts that are often out of proportion to the situation at hand. The individual may seem calm and composed on the surface, but beneath that calm exterior, there's a buildup of anger and frustration that can explode without warning.


The Volcano's anger may or may not be about the immediate situation or trigger, but it usually always includes underlying issues that have been swept under the rug. These issues could range from unresolved conflicts and unmet needs to feelings of being misunderstood or unappreciated. The explosive outbursts are merely symptoms of these deeper, unresolved issues. Their anger can be categorized as explosive or vengeful that was previously dormant or disowned.


Living with or dealing with a Volcano can be challenging as their anger can be unpredictable and intense and will take a toll on a relationship.

The Placater

The Placator is an individual who seeks to mollify and soothe during conflicts, often prioritizing the feelings and needs of others above their own. This conflict style is characterized by a strong desire to maintain peace and avoid any form of confrontation. The Placator often uses reassuring language, gestures of goodwill, and sometimes even self-deprecation to defuse tense situations.


For instance, consider this scenario:

John: "I can't believe you forgot to mention my contribution in the presentation."

Jane (The Placator): "I'm so sorry, John. It wasn't intentional. I value your input, and I'll make sure to highlight it next time."


In this example, Jane, the Placator, immediately acknowledges the oversight and reassures John of her appreciation, aiming to restore harmony without delving into a defensive stance.


While this approach can be effective in preventing immediate conflicts, it can sometimes lead to the Placator feeling overlooked or undervalued. Their constant need to appease might stem from past experiences where confrontation led to unfavorable outcomes, or from an inherent desire to be liked and accepted by everyone.


The Placator's communication style is gentle, empathetic, and often apologetic. They tend to avoid direct criticism and are adept at steering conversations away from potential flashpoints. However, this constant need to placate can sometimes lead to suppressed feelings and resentment, which might bubble up later.


In professional settings, The Placator might struggle with assertiveness, potentially missing out on opportunities or failing to advocate for their own needs. It's essential for them to recognize the value of their own feelings and learn to strike a balance between appeasement and self-advocacy.