When it comes to relationships, things tend to get a bit more complicated, especially with respect to managing conflict, as this is the place where we are most vulnerable.
On the other hand, being in a healthy relationship is the key to living a fulfilling life. The question is, how do we deal with conflict in such a way that makes it beneficial instead of damaging?
How we deal with conflict
If when you’re under pressure, you are more likely to compromise or hide your true feelings under a nervous smile, and afterwards lose sleep over the situation, and then conflicts in relationships trigger anxiety in you.
This emotional reaction can most of the times be traced back to childhood. If your parents were too strict or short-tempered, then facing a conflict as an adult triggers this trauma and your body might initiate panic reactions such as sweating, shaking or heart palpitations.
To protect yourself, you might turn to childhood defences such as denial, repression or depersonalization, and remain distant from others.
Similar reactions can be triggered if past experiences included aggressive peers or siblings or a neglecting caretaker. However, facing conflict in a constructive way when it arises is always a better idea than either being aggressive or avoiding it all together.
This change in approach means making the leap from conflict-avoidance to conflict-resilience.
Understand yourself and your partner
Being in a healthy relationship doesn’t mean that every moment will be perfect. Building a strong connection implies having honest conversations and working through problems and conflicts together, in order to the find the right solution for both parties.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are always two sides to the same story and, more importantly, two perceptions of the same situation. Starting since childhood, we create layers and filters through which we see the world.
These come from our culture, education and experiences, and we use them to constantly make sense of the world around us and try to place every new experience in a previous pattern in order to trigger the most suitable response.
However, this mechanism also means that sometimes we forget about these filters and believe that our partner is just wrong. In order to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling relationship, you should first acknowledge that your partner might be right as well, and try seeing things through his or her perspective.
Avoid snap judgements, which usually come as a natural response, and take the time to fully understand what it is exactly that triggered the conflict.
Moreover, don’t get lost into trying to figure out which one of the two is right. This is trap as somehow, you both are. Instead, ask your partner what he or she thinks and look for solutions together.