Learning how to deal with conflict is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflict provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people. By learning these skills for conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.
Understanding conflict in relationships
Conflict arises from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences appear trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem. These needs can be a need to feel safe and secure, a need to feel respected and valued, or a need for greater closeness and intimacy.
- A conflict is more than just a disagreement. It is a situation in which one or both parties perceive a threat (whether or not the threat is real).
- Conflicts continue to fester when ignored. Because conflicts involve perceived threats to our well-being and survival, they stay with us until we face and resolve them.
- We respond to conflicts based on our perceptions of the situation, not necessarily to an objective review of the facts. Our perceptions are influenced by our life experiences, culture, values, and beliefs.
- Conflicts trigger strong emotions. If you aren’t comfortable with your emotions or able to manage them in times of stress, you won’t be able to resolve conflict successfully.
- Conflicts are an opportunity for growth. When you’re able to resolve conflict in a relationship, it builds trust. You can feel secure knowing your relationship can survive challenges and disagreements.
How do you perceive conflict?
Do you fear conflict or avoid it at all costs? If your perception of conflict comes from frightening or painful memories from previous unhealthy relationships or early childhood, you may expect all present-day disagreements to end badly. You may view conflict in relationships as demoralizing, humiliating, dangerous, and something to fear. If in your early life experiences also left you feeling out of control and powerless, conflict may even be traumatizing for you.
If you view conflict as dangerous, it tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you go into a conflict situation already feeling extremely threatened, it’s tough to deal with the problem at hand in a healthy way. Instead, you are more likely to shut down or blow up in anger.
Nonverbal communication and conflict resolution
The most important information exchanged during conflicts and arguments is often communicated nonverbally. Nonverbal communication is conveyed by emotionally driven facial expressions, posture, gesture, pace, tone and intensity of voice.
If you find that you battle to resolve issues as you avoid conflict and honestly don’t know how to deal with it, then perhaps you need a little bit of extra help. Through various types of coping techniques, The Ben Alberts Company will be able to help you. From controlling ADHD in children to time management, The Ben Alberts Company will definitely have the tools to help you control any situation. For more information about the courses and techniques on offer through The Ben Alberts Company, visit their website www.benalbertscompany.co.za