And it doesn’t matter what the subject of conflict is…
what truly matters for a good outcome is the pattern of your reaction and that of the other person to the conflict.
The pattern can be the problem.
Say the subject of the relationship conflict is money, if you could magically remove this subject – by winning the lottery, for example – the conflict pattern of the relationship would show up again in a new subject area when a stress arose.
Learning new ways to react in times of conflict and stress will improve your relationships.
You must change the pattern.
The key change to be made is a change in mindset.
No matter what the relationship, when there are fights, feuds or ongoing tension and conflict within a relationship, there is likely a mindset in one or both people that needs to shift.
Conflict in a relationship occurs under any of 4 conditions:
- Your needs are not getting met.
- Your needs are not getting acknowledged (maybe not even by you!)
- The other person’s needs are not getting met.
- The other person’s needs are not getting acknowledged.
Conflict is NOT about there being something wrong with you or with the other person.
Regardless of whether you think the problem is his personality or her behavior, the real problem is how that issue is impacting your needs.
Until you realize this and are able to communicate to the other person that you value his/her basic personality, you will not succeed in resolving the conflict.
Conflict resolution is NOT about:
one person giving in,
anyone giving up or
the idea that you have to “settle”.
Here are important keys to resolving conflict:
All of those are mindset issues. None of this will work when your mindset is that the answer lies in the other person needing to change.
When you have a successful relationship, you maintain a delicate balance between what is good for you and what is good for the relationship. There may be times when either wins out in the short term, but for you to stay happy and healthy, neither can be sacrificed over the long haul.
You know your own needs, beliefs and values; you also know the value of that relationship to you.
In a conflict situation, you often forget the importance of the relationship and act as though it does not matter.
The conflict resolution mindset requires you to remember the value of the relationship, especially in the times when it is hardest to do so.
That can be a major challenge.
And the final factor to the conflict resolution mindset is even a little harder than that…
In order to succeed in resolving your conflict, you must also believe that the other person values the relationship as well.
This can be quite a challenge when you see his or her behavior as not meeting or acknowledging your needs.
Try reminding yourself that you would not stay in a relationship with a person who really did not value you or what you need.
Then look for the signs, often subtle, that you and this relationship do matter to that person.
That is your crucial proof – no matter how tiny those signs may be!
Remember – conflict is a normal, important part of the interaction between two people.
And to succeed in your relationships, you must be able to negotiate the balance between getting your needs met and staying in the relationship while also feeling good about how you handle yourself.
Whew! No wonder we say relationships are work.
Let us know how you have worked on conflict in your relationships and how changing your mindset might work for you by leaving your ideas in the comments below.