Patterns of Conflict in Relationships
– No single factors can be more destroying than conflicts that are allowed to escalate out of control!
This doesn’t mean that conflicts are bad, on the contrary, conflicts are most often the reason for development and handled correctly, they can be the source leading to new and better solutions. However, most people don’t recognize the early symptoms of conflict and do not understand the different types of conflict and thus, often choose to solve them in a counterproductive way.
Understanding the language and structures of conflicts, escalation patterns and simple steps to reconcile can make conflicts the fuel to develop your relationship. When we can reconcile, we can move forward and go on to The Journey Beyond, finding new and better ways to enjoy each other and create the loving life we strive for.
In essence there are three parts to understanding a conflict. First you have to realize that there is a conflict and in many relationships, this realization comes to late, because the conflicts is kept as what is called an invisible conflict, meaning one part of the relationship has something about the other person that annoys them. However, instead of sharing this, it is kept on the inside and potentially builds up over time until suddenly, one day, it explodes.
Many people think arguments in couples are bad and wrong, but arguments can lead to resolve, given that the couple can control the language used. Having arguments means that at least the conflict is known to both parties and something can be attempted in order to solve it.
Another pitfall of conflict is the lack of knowledge on the structures of conflict. There are four parts, each making it more personal to the parties involved. One typical mistake is the attempt to negotiate about possible solutions, before there is understanding and acceptance of the other parts right to hold a different opinion.
Once we know that there is a conflict and knows the components, we need to understand the level of escalation, as this will helps us understand if the involved parts can still solve this by themselves or if they need a moderator or mediator.
One reason conflict escalate so easily is because of the language we use. Our language is filled with words that comes out unconsciously but can have severe effect on the recipient of your communication. Examples on this could be blame, generalizations and the use of sarcasm.
Very often conflicts are rooted in misunderstandings, especially misunderstood intentions. Example: The wife complains “You never say that you love me!” Husband “But I gave you flowers yesterday!”
Another reason could be a difference in Intrinsic Motives. These deeply rooted unconscious drivers dictates our needs and because they are operating at a very deep unconscious level, many are not aware of their true motives, but are evaluated based on perception of behavior, rather than real intention and needs.
Knowing more about conflicts and intrinsic motives does not necessarily prevent conflict but provides you a better chance of resolve before it is too late.