What’s Your Conflict Style

When you argue with your partner, you may find yourself making critical statements like: “You never listen to me” or “You always get your way.” Or, when you’re really upset, you resort to name-calling and mocking. Maybe as soon as things get heated, you shut down completely and the silent treatment goes into effect. 

All couples fight, but not all couples know how to fight in a healthy way. In the heat of the moment, you may be prone to old communication habits that quickly escalate without resolution. Beginning a healthy conversation requires a willingness to put away old stories and bring an attitude of curiousity and a genuine desire to understand the other person’s perspective.

Taking it in turns to listen to each other,  without defending yourself, and asking questions to clarify understanding is a great place to begin. Asking questions fosters an atmosphere of care, from which uncomfortable topics can be expressed and vulnerabilities can be heard. Questions might include “tell me more?” or “when did this begin?”

Validating your partners perspective opens new pathways of acceptance. You dont need to agree to find understanding. You are both entitled to your point a view. Resolving a conflict in a healthy way begins with removing the sense of competition and replaces this with a recognition that both perspectives can be true.

Asking how you can help, rather then presuming what is needed, helps to build trust and connection. If we try to solve our partner’s problems by telling them what they need, we inadvertantly let them know that we don’t trust them to resolve their own issues. Next time your partner becomes overwhelmed consider asking them, “how can I help? What do you need?”

Working through your road blocks with The Empathy Cards can support you both to understand:

  • Why you keep fighting about the same things, and how to get “unstuck”.
  • How to address recurring issues within your relationship.
  • How to approach conflict conversations gently, in a way that addresses specific issues.
  • How to identify what your feelings and experiences are around issues that are causing conflict, and how to gently bring them up with your partner.
  • How to understand your partner’s side of an issue, and how to get your partner to understand where you’re coming from.
  • How to examine the individual values, ideas, and beliefs that influence how you and your partner engage with the world around you.
  • More about your own emotions.

With these new skills, going from arguing to understanding is possible. Contact me if you want to understand how to recognise and shake up your conflict style. And remember – conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.