Healthy Conflict Resolution

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In healthy relationships communication is key. When we communicate our perspective, needs and desires — your partner can do their part in helping you feel seen and heard. Results of open communication is sporadic conflict. Conflict is an inevitable aspect of life, especially with those whom you love deeply, as those are the ones we feel most comfortable with being our raw selves.

While conflict is absolutely part of a normal healthy relationship, it can also be a weak spot in the relationship when we deal with it in an ineffective manner. That damn ego likes to pop up for all of us from time to time. Here are some tips next time you find yourself in a heated conflict with someone:

1.) Let the emotions go away. In the midst of conflict, distress can impair our ability to think rationally, so there is no point in trying to talk about conflict “in the moment”. Let things calm down before you engage again with your partner.

2.)Express yourself. Both parties should express their perspectives on the situation. Everything that happens in life is subjective and everyone has their own narrative about how situations played out. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle, so you both need to express those perspectives and validate one another. Note: validation means acknowledging their perspective, not necessarily agreeing with it.

3.)Talk about the triggers. What were the ultimate causes that upset each of you? Those triggering events may be different between you both and it’s important to figure out why the events triggered you. Relationships are a two-way street, so it’s important that you try and not trigger your partner while also focusing on reducing your own personal triggers so they aren’t as triggering. You shouldn’t expect to control how the other person reacts, hence working on yourself and your own triggers is more important.

4.)Take personal responsibility. Your ego wants to cast blame, but fights are almost never one person’s fault. Calling yourself out from the get-go can help minimize the chance that the other person becomes defensive and can lead to resolution much more quickly.

5.)Talk about resolution. In the future, how can you avoid or better navigate these issues and problems?

As stated conflict is normal, but arguments shouldn’t turn into personal attacks or blows to each others self-esteem. If you cannot express yourself without fear of retaliation you are most likely experiencing an unhealthy dynamic that may not be worth the time and mental trauma. If it brings you more pain than pleasure, it’s usually a good sign it’s time to cut ties.

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