With the current COVID-19 concerns and directives to avoid public gatherings and maintain social distancing, a lot of people will be spending a lot more time at home in the weeks to come.
If you, like so many others, have a hard time with the dynamics of your household, this is at least a little intimidating.
Whether you live with roommates, an intimate partner, children, or extended family, there are some basic conflict resolution tools that will help you and yours use this as a time to improve those relationships and make your home a more comfortable place to be for all who live there.
I can tell you; it will not happen by magic or with simple good intentions. You’re going to need respectful communication strategies.
As I often say in my counseling office, “Humanness is hard. We don’t always do it very well.”
In this series, we will look at essential tools and conflict communication skills that will help you and yours “human” together better, getting more of what you do want and less of what you don’t.
Conflict during captivity
Let’s just get this out of the way – if you have more than one human in any place for any length of time, there willbe conflicts.
Avoiding explosions is not the best way to manage conflict and confrontation; They will still happen. The explosions will occur inside of you instead of outside.
It’s your life, so it’s certainly your choice, but you should know that not communicating effectively, avoiding the outward conflicts, and carrying them around inside will deteriorate your relationship because you are severely limiting what parts of you are represented.
In addition, carrying that kind of stress around literally depletes us on the cellular level, decreasing our telomeres, (the gooey stuff that caps off out DNA strands,) leaving us susceptible to serious illness including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, autoimmune dysfunction and more.
What if there were a way to have your conflicts without attacking one another, yelling at one another, threatening one another, and feeling awful? Would it be worth it to have the conflicts now?
Such conflict resolution is what this short series is designed to address.
Most often, when managing conflict through communication, our “what” – what we are trying to communicate – is not only spot on but important.
However, very often, our “how” – how we are attempting to tell others what we want and need – gets in our way, shifting the conversation from responsive to reactive.
Then we stop hearing each other, and we very often defensively hurt one another, though there is another way.
A series of such articles will illuminate you about conflict resolution and help you and yours get to that place where you can each say what you need to say, be heard, and be able to hear what those in your household are saying to you. We will be covering:
The importance of staying off of “your last nerve” and 6 ways to do it
Fact-checking, avoiding assumptions
Using the XYZ Formula to clearly communication during conflicts in ways that don’t torch the person in front of you
Loving the person while effectively addressing the behavior
I will give you examples from the couples, families, and friends I have worked with over the years in counseling and share ways that those people have learned to achieve conflict resolution more successfully.
Let’s use this time to “grow forward” together, building healthier households and happier lives.
I mean… It beats watching reruns of sporting events, and eventually, you will run out of Netflix shows that are worth bingeing… so why not?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
I created Sankofa/Continuum Counseling Services as a place for people to safely pursue healing and wholeness. In collaboration with other providers, Sankofa/Continuum Counseling Services is designed to provide you with the resources and support you need to take hold of the infinite potential of your unique life. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and have been in clinical practice since 1999. I earned an M.S. in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola College in Maryland, (now Loyola University.)