Conflict is everywhere and although it can be unpleasant sometimes, it is an inevitable and in fact necessary part of life. It starts with toddlers not wanting to share toys and can end with bereaved families unable to agree on the division of a deceased estate. And then there’s everything in between – conflict at school, with teenage children, partners, uni, work, home, neighbours, gym etc. We saw conflict in supermarkets during COVID lockdowns, and there’s nothing like a hot Christmas Day and a bit of alcohol to rekindle conflict amongst extended families.
Conflict is necessary in order to learn and grow socially, emotionally and intellectually as individuals and as a community. When managed respectfully and constructively, conflict can be a positive experience rather than a nasty hurtful argument. It also inspires resilience and tolerance of different views and values.
When conflict becomes harmful to our physical, emotional and social wellbeing it can become destructive and may cause breakdown in communication, relationships and mental health. Exposing children to ongoing harmful conflict can cause permanent damage to a child physically, socially, emotionally and psychologically.
So how do we manage conflict when it is causing you serious concern? There are several different types of conflict and knowing which types of conflict you are experiencing and identifying the cause of the conflict can help reduce anxiety. Conflict management support can help you with this, and can also help you identify emotional triggers and provide you with the strategies, skills and confidence to avoid conflict and manage it moving forwards.
We can’t change how other people behave, but we can change how we respond and react to the behaviour of others. When we start to feel strong emotions about something, our ability to think clearly is reduced, our emotional brain takes over, and logic shuts down. Understanding conflict and why it is occurring can really help you resolve the issues without the emotional turmoil.
WC Fields said “I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to” and neither do you. Having an understanding of conflict, when to engage with the conflict and when to walk away is key to a happier life moving forwards regardless of where the conflict sits in your life. If conflict is affecting one part of your life, chances are it is affecting another part of your life as well so don’t let it fester any longer than it needs to.
If you have any concerns about managing conflict, please contact Abridge Mediation and we can talk you through the options.