Conflict is a Relationship

March 15, 2009

Two friends stopped talking to each other after a disagreement. They each thought the relationship was over because they had officially called the friendship off. Yet, when they each individually saw their mutual friends, that fight was all they talked about.

Some think that once people are in a conflict, their relationship has been broken, ruptured, or ruined. In other words, the relationship no longer exists. In fact, being in a conflict ties the people together in one of the most tightly coupled of relationships.– A conflict competent strategy – whether it is conversing with, apologizing to, sending a message for the other people – is just about the only method for changing a conflict relationship. — However, not many people are able to experience a conflict and immediately put the whole episode behind them.– 

Few emotions are stronger than feelings of anger, betrayal, pain, rage, insult, rejection, hurt feelings, and/or mistrust. Typically, when people have a conflict they replay in their head the circumstances, the conversations, and the potential life changes that have or are likely to occur as a result. Even when those they are in conflict with are not near by, we argue our point of view to them in our heads.– 

Things we said that we regret saying and what we did not say but think we should have said all come to mind, sometimes disturbing our sleep in the middle of the night. As we go abut our days, keep our appointments, push a buggy in the grocery store, and visit with loved ones, there is a low-grade interference with our feeling of well being. We go about our business thinking about how justified, righteous, misunderstood, hard done by or aggrieved we are. In other words, there is often little or no escape from our minds’ thinking of the person we feel strongly about, whether that high emotion is love or hate.– 

Bottom line is that avoiding, ignoring, or pretending about conflict is rarely successful in relieving us from the harsh effects of conflict. Our thoughts tend to keep us actively engaged with the conflict even as we try to forget about it. Dealing competently with the person or people we are in conflict with is the best solution to putting the conflict behind us.

Filed Under: Conflict Competence      

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