Handling conflict is one of the biggest challenges of achieving a healthy relationship.
Balancing the power and respect for each other’s autonomy are things that will challenge us.
It’s clear that relationship conflict happens because expectations aren’t being met. Each person comes into a relationship with their own expectations which are based from past experiences, childhood or just how you think things should be.
If we haven’t seen conflict handled very well in your own parent’s relationship, then we may panic and regress into a patterns learnt in childhood.
Conflict can drive a couple apart, so unless a couple has in place some simple tools to negotiate with then, they inclined to revert to childhood ways of relating.
Instead of seeing conflict as a threat to a relationship, what if we reframed this and saw conflict as an opportunity for relationship growth.
So, this requires understanding that conflict will certainly happen in a close relationship.
How do we focus on handling conflict in a way that is more productive?
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Remember not to make every little molehill a mountain, unless it’s truly important.
- Practice Acceptance
If you find yourself in the midst of a conflict, try to remember that your partner is coming into the situation with a different perspective due their background and past experiences.
- Focus on the behaviour of your partner and not their personal characteristics
Personal attacks are more damaging and long lasting. Talk about what behaviour upset you.
- Find out what you partner meant by their action, instead of what you perceived their action to mean. Nine times out of ten, your partner is not deliberately trying to hurt you, and getting hurt happened to be the result of their actions.
- Accept you partners response.
When you have shared your feeling as to what your partner’s actions meant to you, accept their response.
- Let it go! Leave it in the past.
Once you’ve both had the opportunity to share your side, agree to let it go.
Conflict can be upsetting but seeing it as an opportunity to grow, nurture your relationship, it can help you become closer and deeply connect your relationship.
If you would like to talk about some of your relationship challenges then please-Call on 021 26 89 842 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.