Conflict – it happens in most relationships – whether it’s loud and shouty or it’s general disagreement or you both skirt around the issue in a passive aggressive kind of manner – it’s conflict and sometimes it creates healing and resolution when things get brought up and other times it escalates or drags on – and then you forget what you started having conflict about and just end up with everything adding to it !
So what’s going on here – well as most psychologists and therapists I like to find out the background – the why – but also like to see if there are patterns. And with most conflict in relationships there seems to be a certain blend which creates the conflict action.
I call it the conflict recipe –
Conflict happens when one or more parties does not get their needs met – whether physically , emotionally , verbally – they don’t feel heard or appreciated and they don’t feel seen. – could be about life in general or one specific topic.
So it seems simple that you communicate those wants and needs on a regular basis and we have a smooth mixture interaction right ?
Butt of course we are talking about human beings here – primates – and communication that is clear and concise and understood by both parties might for some be a bit of myth even!
Because we bring our baggage with us – our filters – how we want things to be – we determine how we expect people to act and we make assumptions about what they understand and how they will understand us … the classic statement of ‘ well she knows I love her ? ! ‘– does she – how does she?
I call it menu and meal – (so many food links here 😊) – you have the menu and you order based on what you want and you set expectations and then the meal arrives and it is what it is but often we are disappointed but it didn’t meet those expectations.. even though it is exactly as described and in now way said it could be anything different.
So, we take a big heap of expectations, a few cup full of assumption, add in our own needs and wants and suddenly that mixture is rising up big and ready to explode like an over done souffle!
So it’s important in relationships to start to be honest – to look at the language and see where you think assumptions are being made.
To talk about what bothers you but to also get beneath and say why does it bother me and how can this be different.
It’s OK that someone needs to have some things spelled out – they are not you – they don’t have the same programming as you so they might not be on the same page.
Those towels over the banister that really bother you – well you partner might think a great place to let them dry ( yep this is one of ours ) .. no matter how many times I huff and puff as I fold them up – unless I make it clear he won’t get it !
This is just a small thing but remember small things become big things until everything becomes a thing.
So is it time to take a look at what you are baking in your relationship ?
Are you cooking up a conflict recipe ?
If so what assumptions and expectations are in play ? – what meal is actually on offer and what is being ordered on the menu?
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