Whatever the cause of disagreements and disputes at residence or work, these skills can help you resolve conflict in a constructive way and save your relationships strong and growing.

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What is conflict?

Conflict is a normal component of any healthy relationship. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything, all the time. The key is not to are afraid or try to prevent conflict yet to learn how to deal with it in a healthy and balanced way.

When problem is mismanaged, it deserve to cause great harm come a relationship, yet when handled in a respectful, confident way, conflict provides an possibility to combine the bond between two people. Whether you’re experiencing conflict at home, work, or school, discovering these skills can aid you resolve distinctions in a healthy method and build stronger, more rewarding relationships.


Conflict 101A dispute is much more than just a disagreement. it is a situation in which one or both parties perceive a danger (whether or not the threat is real).Conflicts proceed to fester once ignored. because conflicts involve viewed threats come our well-being and also survival, they stay with united state until we face and resolve them.We respond come conflicts based upon our perceptions that the situation, no necessarily to an objective review of the facts. Our perceptions are influenced by ours life experiences, culture, values, and also beliefs.Conflicts trigger solid emotions. If girlfriend aren’t comfortable v your emotions or may be to manage them in time of stress, friend won’t be able to resolve conflict successfully.Conflicts are an chance for growth. as soon as you’re able come resolve dispute in a relationship, it build trust. You can feel secure knowing your relationship deserve to survive challenges and disagreements.

Causes of dispute in a relationship

Conflict occurs from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever human being disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences show up trivial, however when a conflict triggers solid feelings, a deep an individual need is frequently at the core of the problem. These needs can selection from the must feel safe and also secure or respected and valued, come the require for greater closeness and intimacy.

Think about the opposing demands of a toddler and a parent. The child’s require is to explore, therefore venturing come the street or the cliff edge meets that need. However the parent’s need is to safeguard the child’s safety, a require that can only it is in met by limiting the toddler’s exploration. Because these needs are at odds, conflict arises.

The requirements of every party play crucial role in the long-term success the a relationships. Each deserves respect and consideration. In personal relationships, a absence of understanding about differing requirements can an outcome in distance, arguments, and break-ups. In the workplace, differing needs can result in damaged deals, diminished profits, and also lost jobs.

When you have the right to recognize conflict needs and are ready to examine them through compassion and understanding, it have the right to lead to creative problem solving, team building, and stronger relationships.

How perform you respond to conflict?

Do friend fear dispute or prevent it at every costs? If her perception that conflict originates from painful memories from early childhood or ahead unhealthy relationships, you may expect all debates to end badly. You may view conflict as demoralizing, humiliating, or something come fear. If your at an early stage life experiences left you emotion powerless or out of control, dispute may even be traumatizing because that you.

If you’re afraid of conflict, that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you enter a dispute situation already feeling threatened, it’s hard to address the problem available in a healthy way. Instead, you’re more likely to one of two people shut under or punch up in anger.

Healthy and also unhealthy ways of managing and also resolving conflict
Unhealthy responses come conflict:Healthy responses to conflict:
An inability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the various other person.The volume to empathize with the various other person’s viewpoint.
Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactions.Calm, non-defensive, and also respectful reactions.
The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and also fear of abandonment.A readiness come forgive and also forget, and to relocate past the conflict without holding resentments or anger.
An inability to weaken or watch the various other person’s side.The ability to look for compromise and avoid punishing.
Feeling fear or avoiding conflict; expecting a poor outcome.A belief that facing dispute head on is the ideal thing because that both sides.

Conflict resolution, stress, and also emotions

Conflict triggers solid emotions and also can result in hurt feelings, disappointment, and discomfort. When handled in one unhealthy manner, the can cause irreparable rifts, resentments, and break-ups. However when problem is fixed in a healthy and balanced way, it rises your knowledge of the other person, build trust, and also strengthens her relationships.

If you space out that touch v your feel or for this reason stressed the you can only pay fist to a minimal number that emotions, girlfriend won’t be able to understand your very own needs. This will certainly make it tough to interact with others and establish what’s yes, really troubling you. Because that example, couples regularly argue about petty differences—the method she hangs the towels, the means he slurps his soup—rather 보다 what isreally bothering them.


The capability to effectively resolve conflict depends ~ above your ability to:Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm. By remaining calm, you deserve to accurately read and interpret verbal and also nonverbal communication.Control her emotions and also behavior. as soon as you’re in manage of your emotions, you can connect your demands without threatening, intimidating, or punishing others.Pay attention to thefeelings being expressed and the talked words the others.Be mindful of and respect differences. By staying clear of disrespectful words and also actions, girlfriend can almost always deal with a problem faster.

To properly resolve a conflict, you need to learn and also practice two core skills:

Quick tension relief: the capacity to easily relieve stress in the moment.Emotional awareness: the ability to continue to be comfortable sufficient with your emotions to reaction in constructive ways, even in the midst of a regarded attack.

Core ability 1: quick stress relief

Being able come manage and relieve tension in the minute is the an essential to continuing to be balanced, focused, and also in control, no matter what challenges you face. If you don’t know just how to remain centered and in regulate of yourself, friend will become overwhelmed in dispute situations and also unable to respond in healthy and balanced ways.

Psychologist Connie Lillas offers a driving analogy to describe the 3 most common ways civilization respond as soon as they’re overwhelmed by stress:

Foot ~ above the gas. An angry or agitated stress and anxiety response. You’re heated, keyed up, too many emotional, and also unable to sit still.

Foot ~ above the brake. A withdrawn or depressed anxiety response. You shut down, space out, and also show very little energy or emotion.

Foot ~ above both gas and also brake. A tense and also frozen anxiety response. Girlfriend “freeze” under pressure and can’t perform anything. Girlfriend look paralyzed, yet under the surface you’re exceptionally agitated.

How stress affects conflict resolution

Stress interferes through the capability to resolve dispute by limiting your ability to:

Hear what who is really saying.Be conscious of your own feelings.Be in touch v your own, deep-rooted needs.

Is anxiety a trouble for you?

You might be so provided to felling stressed that you’re not even conscious youare stressed. Stress might pose a difficulty in her life if you recognize with the following:

You regularly feel it s too dirty or tight somewhere in your body.You’re not aware of movement in your chest or stomach once you breathe.Conflict absorbs your time and also attention.
Learn just how to manage stress in the moment

One that the many reliable means to rapidly minimize stress is by engaging one or an ext of her senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. You can squeeze a anxiety ball, odor a relaxing scent, taste a soothing cup of tea, or look in ~ a treasured photograph. We all often tend to respond in different ways to sensory input, often depending on how we respond to stress, therefore take part time to find things that room soothing to you. Read: rapid Stress Relief.


Core skill 2: emotionally awareness

Emotional awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others. If you don’t know exactly how or why you feeling a details way, you won’t have the ability to communicate efficiently or fix disagreements.

Although discovering your very own feelings may sound simple, many civilization ignore or try to sedate strong emotions prefer anger, sadness, and also fear. Your capacity to take care of conflict, however, relies on being connected to this feelings. If you’re fear of strong emotions or if you firmly insist on finding solutions that space strictly rational, your capacity to face and resolve distinctions will it is in limited.

Why emotionally awareness is a vital factor in solving conflict

Emotional awareness—the consciousness of yourmoment-to-moment emotional experience—and the capacity to manage all of your feel appropriately, is the communication of a communication process that have the right to resolve conflict.

Emotional awareness helps you to:

Understand what is really troubling other peopleUnderstand yourself, including what is really troubling youStay encouraged until the conflict is resolvedCommunicate plainly and effectivelyInterest and influence others

Assessing her level of emotional awareness

The adhering to quiz help you assess your level of emotional awareness. Answer the following questions with:almost never, occasionally, often, an extremely often, oralmost always. There are no ideal or not correct responses, only the possibility to become much better acquainted through your emotional responses.


What sort of relationship do you have with your emotions?Do you experience feelings that flow, encountering one feel after one more as your experiences readjust from moment to moment?Are your emotions add by physical sensations that you experience in areas like her stomach or chest?Do girlfriend experience distinctive feelings and emotions, such together anger, sadness, fear, and joy, i beg your pardon are noticeable in various facial expressions?Can you endure intense feelings that are strong enough to record both your very own attention and also that the others?Do you pay fist to your emotions? do they factor into her decision-making?

If any type of of these experiences space unfamiliar, her emotions may be “turned” down or even off. In either case, you might need assist developing your emotional awareness. You can do this by utilizing rwcchristchurchappeal.com’s complimentary Emotional knowledge Toolkit.


Nonverbal communication and conflict resolution

When world are in the center of a conflict, the words lock use seldom convey the worries at the heart of the problem. But by payment close attention to the other person’s nonverbal signal or “body language,” such as facial expressions, posture, gestures, and tone that voice, friend can far better understand what the person is yes, really saying. This will allow you to respond in a method that builds trust, and also gets come the root of the problem.

Your capability to accurately read another person counts on your very own emotional awareness. The more aware you space of your very own emotions, the less complicated it will be for you to choose up top top the wordless clues that disclose what others space feeling. Think around what you space transmitting to others throughout conflict, and also if what you to speak matches her body language. If you speak “I’m fine,” yet you clench her teeth and also look away, then her body is plainly signaling you room anything however “fine.” A patience tone of voice, a reassuring touch, or an interested face expression deserve to go a long means toward relaxing a tense exchange.

More tips for managing and resolving conflict

You deserve to ensure that the procedure of managing and resolving problem is as confident as feasible by sticking to the following guidelines:

Listen because that what is felt and also said. when you yes, really listen, girlfriend connect much more deeply to your very own needs and also emotions, and also to those of various other people. Listening likewise strengthens, informs, and makes it much easier for others to hear you as soon as it’s your revolve to speak.

Make conflict resolution the priority rather than win or “being right.” Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, fairly than “winning” the argument, should always be your an initial priority. Be respectful of the other person and also their viewpoint.

Focus on the present. If you’re holding on come grudges based on past conflicts, your capacity to see the truth of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking come the past and also assigning blame, focus on what you deserve to do in the here-and-now to deal with the problem.

Pick her battles. problems can it is in draining, so it’s necessary to take into consideration whether the worry is yes, really worth her time and also energy. Perhaps you don’t desire to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t precious it.

Be willing to forgive. Resolving dispute is impossible if you’re do not want or unable to pardon others. Resolution lies in publication the urge to punish, which have the right to serve only to deplete and also drain her life.

Know once to permit something go. If girlfriend can’t come to an agreement, agree come disagree. It takes two civilization to keep an dispute going. If a problem is going nowhere, you can pick to disengage and move on.

Using feeling in dispute resolution

You can avoid many confrontations and resolve arguments and disagreements by interacting in a feeling way. Feeling can aid you say things that can otherwise be challenging to express without offending someone. However, it’s vital that you laugh through the various other person, no at them. When humor and also play are supplied to mitigate tension and anger, reframe problems, and also put the case into perspective, the dispute can actually become an chance for higher connection and also intimacy.

See more: It'S An Old Meme But It Checks Out, It'S An Older Meme, But It Checks Out

Authors: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Lawrence Robinson, and Melinda Smith, M.A.

Last updated: October 2020


CR Kit– Covers causes of conflict, different dispute styles, and also fair fighting indict to help you positively resolve disagreements. (Conflict Resolution Network)

12 an abilities Summary– A 12-step problem resolution maintain kit. (Conflict Resolution Network)

Effective Communication– The art of listening in conflict resolution. (University of Maryland)