Dealing with conflict in relationships isn’t something many of us were born knowing how to do. Some of us, however, may have had parents who set a good example for us and taught us some of those skills. But for the rest of us, we need to learn how to understand the pain we cause each other and how to cope with that pain.
Let’s jump in.
Pain is the Source of Most Conflict in Relationships
I was thinking about a couple I have the opportunity to help. They love something they created at one time. They both want to get back to feeling what they used to feel from the other person. They are desperate to feel this again. But it’s been a long time and now they are both in pain.
Pain can turn us into bitter creatures. It makes us get mad at the person we love, or freeze them out because they have hurt us. Pain turns us into the worst versions of what we once were; loving people.
Pain Tells Us Something’s Wrong, Not How to Deal with Conflict
Pain is important. It tells us when things are not right. We learn this early as children when we fall down and cry. Something is not right in the body and we let other people know, as soon as possible. As adults we learn to bandage up our own skinned knees. But where do we learn to put a bandage on the hurt feelings inside us?
Who teaches us to be aware of our feelings and how those hurt feelings made us upset? Where do we learn what it is we are looking for to ease the hurt and then ask the one who can fix it for us to help us? I know I didn’t go to relationship school to learn these skills. Nor have I met anyone else who has.
Dealing with Conflict in Relationships is Something We Learn with Experience
I learned them on the job, while already in a relationship, already in love with my person and completely unknowing of these most important relationship skills. Through trial and error, mostly errors, my husband and I have become very good at keeping the peace between us. We have learned each other’s buttons and we use our great understanding of the other to decrease the upsets, not exacerbate them.
We are not perfect, but we have perfected how we live with each other so we can both be happy and the pain we both feel at times is diminished. This does not mean we don’t have misunderstandings or disappointments. It means we have learned how to ease the discomfort between us when they do occur.
Dealing with Conflict Means with Accepting the Pain, Learning to Live with It, and Moving Forward
We have learned not to hold onto hurt feelings and use them against the other. Each of us has also learned how to take responsibility for the actions we have done that might have hurt the other. These actions are really the behaviors that all of us have or use when we get our feelings hurt. I become loud and can say some cross things. This is what I have to take responsibility for when we reconnect.
I know that every couple that fights is trying to accomplish something better. None of us go into a fight because it’s fun. We fight because we are not happy about something and this is our way of trying to make it better. Like the couple I have been thinking about. I know this to be true about them too.
Remember Your Love to Move Past Pain Together
They love each other. It’s been awhile since they have felt safe and close with the other though. They have resorted into one not talking and the other talking loudly. Both are in pain about the relationship. Both want something better, and I am convinced they don’t know how to get there.
I hope I can help them. I hope I can help them remember they are good people just trying to get their needs met. There are no villains here, just two individuals who remember they felt something amazing with the other person. They want the amazing again, and they will drag each other through the hell of fighting to get it.
Learn a better way. There’s always better a way.
Get a Helping Hand in Dealing with Conflict
Read a Book About Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn how to communicate pain constructively in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you better deal with pain and conflict in your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.