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Preventing Conflict with Satiation



When conflict with others is managed well, people talk calmly with each other and work to solve problems. Unfortunately, relationships are full of situations in which even the most skilled at remaining calm cannot do so. There are times that you find yourself saying unkind words to those you love and losing your cool when you promised yourself you wouldn’t.

There are many ways of coping with conflict and with behaviors from those we love that just annoy us no end. One way to do this is to prevent the conflict from happening in the first place.  If you really don’t like conflict, then preventing it may be a great choice for you. If you have a pattern with someone of  repeating the same conflict over and over, then prevention may be a wonderful choice. One way to prevent conflict is by using satiation.

Satiation means providing relief or what is wanted before the conflict happens. This means that you must want to end the conflict more than you don’t want to do what the other person wants.

John is an ambitious guy who is working on an important project for his company. He works long hours. When he goes home at night he rushes into his office after giving his wife Jessica a quick kiss and saying,  “I love you, babe.”  He works the rest of the night. Recently, Jessica has been following him to his office, complaining loudly about his being a workaholic. John’s pretty angry that she doesn’t support him and understand that his hard work is for their future.  They argue for at least an hour every night and their relationship is strained. 

How could satiation help in this situation? What Jessica wants is more of John’s attention. To meet that need, John could spend an hour with his wife when he gets home, giving her his full attention and interest. Jessica then is able to let John work the rest of the evening without interrupting him.  The relationship is strengthened.

The key is to pay attention to what the other person wants. When someone is annoying to you, think about what it is that they want. That may not always be easy to determine.  Once you know what they want, you may find yourself not wanting to do what they want. After all, you are frustrated with their nagging or criticism and you don’t think the other person is being fair.

Consider the overall pros and cons. While you may not agree with their view, remember the bigger picture. Does satisfying their wants help you both protect and build something that you value, such as your relationship? Is the cost of not meeting the person’s needs interfering with your goals and needs?  If that is true, then being effective is more important than being right.







Preventing Conflict with Satiation

Karyn Hall, PhD

Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the owner/director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician, a RO DBT Approved Supervisor and Trainer and owner of, an online educational program. She is a trainer/consultant as well as a therapist and certified coach, author of The Emotionally Sensitive Person, SAVVY, Mindfulness Exercises for DBT Therapists, and co-author of The Power of Validation. Her podcast, The Emotionally Sensitive Person, is available on iTunes.

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APA Reference
Hall, K. (2015). Preventing Conflict with Satiation. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Mar 2015
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