Article by: Robin Gardner
Conflict is often considered synonymous with divorce. However, you don’t have to be swept away in the process if you better understand conflict and learn to deal with it effectively.
Conflict can arise naturally from differing viewpoints and will often occur due to the bitterness and strong emotion caused by an unhappy marriage, along with the impact of separation. When you’ve been interacting over time with highly charged conflict, this negative style becomes a habit that will get in the way of healthy conflict. It’s hard to break free from this pattern, which will continue unless you actively choose to engage in a more positive approach.
There are two types of conflict. The first, which has a negative connotation because it’s impulsive and spontaneous, results from intense emotions – usually anger. The second is conflict with a purpose. This occurs when couples with two differing mindsets and belief systems oppose each other. Hearing the other’s perspective creates the opportunity for each person to expand their thinking and the capacity to see from a broader viewpoint. This opens the door for the kind of creative solutions and problem-solving that can produce a surprisingly positive result.
Within each conflict lies the intentions that exist in all of us. These intentions and conditions include the need to be heard and validated, seeking to maintain a position or viewpoint, and wanting to get a specific outcome from the other person.
The reality is you don’t need to be right, but you do need to be heard.
There are essentially three response styles during interactions that involve conflict and each of us has a specific tendency, although this can vary depending on the circumstances. We can decide to engage by being neutral and interactive. We might walk away and choose to avoid and retreat, or we may become aggressive with verbal abuse and anger.
It can be easy to get caught up in the drama – yours and theirs. We all have issues going on inside of us. When things become overwhelming, we often direct our feelings towards others in unhealthy ways.
Your job is to rise above it.
The following tips can reduce the conflict and drama in your life:
- When initiating a conversation, set the parameters beforehand.
- Make sure the timing is right when you have the discussion.
- Avoid name calling, cursing, yelling, and other disrespectful talk.
- Focus on the action steps that relate to the conflict rather than the person.
- Stick to the facts and avoid comments that express criticism and judgment.
- Be willing to admit mistakes.
- Agree to disagree.
- Focus on what’s right rather than who is right.
- Don’t take their behavior personally.
- You can’t control their reaction but you can control your response.
Practicing these tips will help you see with the eyes of compassion – for yourself and for them.
Robin Gardner, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®, Certified Professional Coach
Robin Gardner is a graduate of the CDC College for Divorce Coaching® and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She is also the founder of Phoenix Life Mastery LLC, which provides life coaching and personal development based on the core approach methodology. She is a member of the International Coach Federation and the NJ Professional Coaches Association. Robin is a skilled practitioner of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – Tapping. She has completed over 25 years of research in personal development, and published articles on personal growth, and shared her expertise on radio shows.
Robin will support you in all phases of divorce and separation. Get help for the emotional stress and the business of divorce in order to reach the best resolution. Save money & time. Overcome your overwhelm. Gain your inner power. Thrive beyond divorce. Phone sessions.
Robin Gardner, CDC, CPC