Photo by Jackie Alpers

Why do we fight?

Because the makeup sex is so good? Well, maybe.

Are you the type of person who loves to argue, shout and even end up in a furious rage? Or are you more the type who shrinks into your shell, avoiding conflict at all costs? Either way, you’d need some readjusting.

Will this article help you to learn how to resolve conflicts the healthy way? You bet!

We all know and fear those particular situations, when conflict occurs and things are getting out of hand. The mere word “conflict” invokes negative associations of fighting, arguing, withdrawal, fear, anger, hurt and loneliness.

On the other hand, relationship conflicts can open a path to mutual understanding and personal growth. There are so called conflict resolution strategies. So conflict can be a good thing.

We have all met couples, who proudly proclaim that they have never had a single quarrel in their relationship… ever. Apart from the fact that this is very unlikely, it is also very unhealthy.

No one can tell me that a happy and fulfilling relationship is one without conflicts. If there aren’t any, then something is wrong. It usually means that someone is holding back his needs and trying hard to please the partner at all cost.

Needless to say, it’s only a matter of time when the bomb explodes.

A conflict is the most challenging thing to occur in a relationship. The only key to profit from it is to use verbal or nonverbal communication for conflict resolution. By resolving disagreements and conflicts quickly and most importantly painlessly, your trust in each other will flourish.

In other words: an argument is good, if you learn how to do this!

The classic example of adverse positions when conflicts occur is the “rage-withdraw” opposition. Some react to conflicts with explosive rage, others freeze and withdraw. Why is that so?

It all depends how you have learned and experienced conflict resolving in your early childhood.

What childhood experiences influence your ability to resolve conflicts in a negative way?

If you have lived in a family where anger and frustration was taken out on you and you grew up with feeling angry and fearful of conflict, you will most likely numb your feelings and perhaps fail to recognize your longing for closeness and tenderness. Or you will simply react explosively and angrily.

This is terrible.

On the other hand, if you learned in your family to resolve differences without humiliation or punishing, and that disagreements led to compromises, then you will later resolve your conflicts in a calm and productive way. And more important: will stay true to yourself AND your feelings at the same time.

But how can you burst your early childhood bonds?

The only way is to recognize your behavior and then correct it – over and over again.

This is called building new neurological pathways. There is no other way around doing this – and no magic pill. Unfortunately.

The first step is to identify your conflict behavior patterns. What do you do and how do you react during your conflicts. Once you are aware of your reaction, you can then connect this knowledge with your early childhood behavior. The last step would be of course to consciously alter your pattern to a newer better one.