Conflict is an inevitable part of any human relationship and cannot be considered a problem to be avoided or feared for its consequences. In fact, every conflict can be faced and even if this implies commitment and attention, the result is to be able to enjoy balanced and satisfying relationships. Ultimately, it is unrealistic to think that things are always going well and that one can always be in perfect agreement with others, it is more useful to accept that disagreement is an inevitable and normal part of everyday life.
The experience, however, may have led us to consider the conflict an unmanageable, problematic or excessively painful situation and this determines negative emotional experiences managed through strategies that are not always functional. There are those who tend to override the other and show aggression, only to experience feelings of guilt or unworthiness. On the other hand, those who tend to suffer, to be condescending and experience a sense of helplessness, frustration or humiliation. In all these cases we must understand that something is not working and that the conflict does not necessarily force us to experience this type of emotion. Of course, frustration, irritation, anger are understandable when things do not go as we would like but we can experience and overcome them in such a way as not to produce further suffering and discomfort.
Each of us has learned to manage conflict through the experiences lived in childhood, in particular starting from the parenting model, that is, how our parents managed their conflicts. For this reason, as parents we have the opportunity to improve our relationship as a couple and at the same time provide a positive model for our children, who as adults will be able to live these same experiences in a more serene and effective way.
Let’s see some examples to follow to achieve this:
- When you are angry with your partner first breathe, notice the anger, where it is located in the body, take some time to notice it and keep breathing.
Remind yourself that you love him and you can deal with this situation.
- If you can quickly maintain a good balance to discuss the matter, do so.
– Recognize the problem, listen to your partner, breathe, refrain from the urge to stop it, you will have the opportunity to express your vision later.
– Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand his point of view, recognize his emotion and the reason that caused it. There is no need to agree, it is enough at the beginning to simply acknowledge it.
– Express your opinion without accusing or attacking. Express how you feel and what would have helped you not to feel this way.
– Try to recognize your contribution to the problem, your responsibility (conflict is never generated or maintained by one person alone).
– Resist generalization and referring to other similar or past situations or episodes. Just deal with the current issue.
– Finally agree on a solution for the future.
- If the conversation starts to get very excited, stop, don’t wait until the moment when you might lose control.
The person who is least bothered may say for example, “This problem deserves a longer discussion than we can have right now. Let’s talk then so that we can find a good solution. I love you, and I know we’ve always worked things out.
- If one of the two has difficulty in postponing the discussion of the problem, he can write his reasons and feelings on a note and put it in a place previously agreed.
This helps to release excess tension and emphasize the need to clarify the matter later.
- What if you’re still angry? You think that if you want to resolve things with your partner, anger does not help to do it. When we are angry, our organism is innately predisposed to an attack or flight reaction and the partner assumes the characteristics of an enemy. In this state it is impossible to find an agreement, we must therefore calm ourselves and change our mood, for example by helping us with breathing, squeezing something soft with our hands, drinking a glass of water, washing our face, thinking about something to be thankful for.
– It is important not to brood and accumulate resentment in the meantime that you calm down.
You can say to yourself “We made an agreement to talk about this later. Right now, I’m looking for solutions, not blame. “
– To dissolve anger, notice the feelings beneath the anger. Do you feel sad that you have not been taken seriously? Bad for not feeling listened to?
– Your partner did not cause these feelings, these are your feelings, almost certainly the result of the experience lived in childhood. Just the fact of noticing and feeling them allows the emotions to melt, to go away. And at that point even anger can subside and leave us.
– Express your discomfort by talking about what you felt behind the anger, what you need, instead of attacking your partner. Does it seem difficult to you? Of course, it takes great maturity and the ability to read and respect your own feelings and those of others, but if you really want to resolve conflicts, research shows that this is the best way to do it.
- Next, be sure to share with your children that you resolved the situation and how you did it, what positive conclusions you came to together.
What happens if you can’t find an agreement right away? Explain to the children your disagreement, the fact that you have different opinions on the problem and that you need more time and the possibility of further discussions to find a solution. in fact, sometimes this process is not easy and takes some time.
Keep your relationship positive and show children the things that work. Every relationship needs positive interactions that balance negative ones to stay healthy. Do it whenever you can, it can be a kind comment, a compliment, a hug.
Make sure the children see your love manifested. This is what children need to internalize a positive and balanced relationship model.