You’ve learned so many things in your lifetime so far! Countless amounts of information through the way you were raised as a child, your lived experience, formal education, social education, your work, the internet superhighway, and so on. Despite all of the information we’ve amassed, most of us haven’t learned what relationship repair is, why it’s important, and the skills needed to reconcile our differences when things get tough.
Everyone finds themselves in conflict at one point or another, and I’ll bet you have, too.
Take a moment to reflect on your own experiences: How are you with conflict in relationships? Do you talk it out well when you get in a bind with friends or family? If you are in a relationship, are you and your partner bosses at reconciling post-conflict? Or do things get swept under the rug a bit too much?
You may have learned great relational skills in your family of origin or at school. You may know the grounded feeling of having your voice heard and your feelings valued. And, if that’s not your experience, you are definitely not alone.
Most people were never taught basic healthy relational skills in school or at home, and were not encouraged to make mistakes and learn how to fix them.
When feelings came up in your past, were you invited to talk-it-out, or stuff-it-down and pretend that everything was fine?
So many people don’t realize that, even as hard as they’ve tried to do relationships differently than was modeled for them as children, the unhealthy patterns that they’ve learned over their lifetime have crept into their adult relationships, leading to more conflict, resentment, and rupture. And more hot-button triggers.
Conflict is healthy and necessary.
Learning the art of healthy, loving conflict will improve all types of relationships.
Learning how to repair after relationship rupture is perhaps THE key skill in relationship longevity.
There are several different strategies for repair.
Before repair can begin, everyone involved has to come back to a centered place. Repair cannot happen if conflict is ongoing.
Remembering that the person you are conflicting with is not your enemy is important. So often, when we get into conflict we are triggered into fight/flight/freeze. So quickly, the other person becomes THE OTHER, bad, wrong, the enemy.
Remembering that the person you are in conflict with is the same person that you’ve also been in calm connection with is important. Centering your own humanity, as well as theirs.