How to Improve Conflict Resolution Within Your Family

Are you frustrated that you can’t seem to make any progress in resolving a conflict? It may be with a husband or wife, a child or parent or any person you are in conflict with. But when dealing with family the stakes are especially high because there is a lot of emotion involved. No one can push your buttons better than those we love.

What I have observed while working with clients is that some people really do not want to work to resolve the conflict, they just want their way.  

This is what I hear from the partner that wants their way;

  • She is not listening to me.
  • He is being unreasonable.
  • What they are asking is unacceptable.
  • My way is the best.

This is what I hear from the partner who is feeling pressured to see things a way that they don’t agree with;

  • He is so stubborn .
  • It is her way or no way.
  • He wont consider any other possibility.
  • She gets angry if I suggest anything different.
  • We can’t work together.

Working together is what is needed and there needs to be an openness to hearing other possibilities and brainstorming options. It is a battle to break through this tunnel vision of seeing only one possibility.

This inability to flex with your partner sends a message that you do not care about their feelings or ideas. This can create feelings of resentment. When you can’t flex than It feels like a demand instead of a suggestion. Consider using phrases like “How would you feel if we did this…” or “Would this work for you?” This way the partner feels like you are considering their opinion and this shows them respect. I find that people are much more likely to cooperate when they feel considered. 

Making a demand or being inflexible is often a sign of insecurity.This person is not comfortable with another option because they loose control and that can be scary. But being inflexible will tear down your relationship.Consider trusting your partner to care about you and your needs and create an environment where you can work together to come up with a solution you can both be happy with when resolving conflict. 

Written by Lisa Strong

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