Once conflict begins, the art of asking questions becomes more challenging. Escalating tension within one party’s mind can quickly shut down a person’s openness to responding to a question that otherwise might have been perceived as comfortable and acceptable. Trust is shaken. The wading into warm bonding might quickly reverse. As such, it is important that we accept that we have overstepped the comfort level of the other person, refrain from judgment and gently change the direction of the questions.
Often when discussing things with my mother, I found myself feeling interrogated. In all fairness, especially given my role as a mother, I can now see that she was in all likelihood coming from a place of fear and protection. Reflecting, I can see how the nature of her questions was very direct, which triggered my defensiveness. From her perspective, she was showing interest. From my perspective, she was invading my privacy and judging. Boom! The confrontation ignited and we were jumping in verbal punch swinging!