It’s true. Some families never, ever fight. But then – they may never talk either.
Other families..? Well other families can throw a blue for so long and so loud that the neighbours may feel compelled to call the Men in the Blue…
Hmm. Who am I to say which style is right and which is wrong… (heck… I’ve got strong Celtic blood in my veins; my crew and I are certainly not of the demure and contrite variety when it comes to having an out-and-out…;)..?
Family conflict is actually very common, and that’s likely because we have such strong emotional connection with our tribe;
…when we love deep, we’re more likely to react with emotion than we would at other times (it’s waaay easier to keep our cool in the workplace…[sometimes]…;).
At the end of the day though, family conflict ain’t fun; nobody digs fighting with a beloved.
Sooo what to do if you’ve been tousling with one of your nearest and dearest…?
1) Come back stronger than before
One of the generous lessons I carry with me from training in Attachment Theory is the idea of “After Rupture Comes Repair.” Believe in this. It’s impossible to exist as a sentient human without clashing with someone you love sometimes (in whatever form that looks). BUT – with the right steps and intention, we CAN emerge from conflict together STRONGER in our bond than before…
2) Work out where you’re going wrong
The thing about conflict is, there’s often a pattern at play. You’ll know this is true for you if you wind-up scrapping with the same family member over and over again. Personally, I’d tackle this by hitting the paper with pen, and allowing a bit of ‘guided’ stream of consciousness play-out on the page with fast hitting questions; ‘Why do I feel so uptight around this person…?’ Why do we always end up in arguments..?’ ‘How can I manage this differently next time..?’
3) Use semantics to your advantage
Instead of ‘You always do this!’ ‘You have no idea!’ ‘You wouldn’t know what it’s like!’ ‘I can never rely on you.’ Try the old “I” statement approach to inspire empathy. And while you’re at it, use “Why” questions to expand the argument beyond narrow borders into a … discussion (gasp!). “I know it’s not what you intended, but I feel like my ideas aren’t valued by you when you say that.” “It’s taking the strength of my combined cells to ask this, but truly, ‘why’ do you hold that opinion?’ ‘I know this is new for me, but I’d sincerely like to try and understand your position better.’ Let’s face it; in the heat of the moment, this approach takes a whole lot of self-discipline; BUT, the stunning effect of coming out of the gates with a completely different approach lies in ‘breaking-the-pattern,’ giving your whole dynamic a different path to walk down…
What else could you try to enhance family relations…??
Gah! I’ve got a few more strategies I’d recommend yet – but this humble post is getting waaaaay too long… so if you’re interested in learning more about some of my programs that can help in this area, feel free to pm me or flick me an email. It may not feel like it right now, but with the right tools, we can make the mountain come to Mohammed…