Confined to our four walls during this lockdown, relationships can often times turn sour, especially if you are living with in-laws or extended family members in the same home. It’s really tough to maintain a peaceful home if you can’t see eye to eye on certain issues. It is usually the small little issues that irritate both parties… how often to clean the bathroom, how much screen time your children is allowed to have, differing opinions on what kind of food is considered healthy… the list can be endless.

Depending on your personality type, you might either try to sweep issues under the carpet to maintain a false sense of peace or face the person head-on in a verbal battle. Either way, the problem never gets resolved well. When confronted, our brains are wired to either fight or flee. Hurling blame and accusations cause a lot of hurt, which brings up a defensive front. If you find yourself in this situation, pause and reflect.

  • Does my response make this situation better or worse?
  • If I am unable to deal with my emotions during a conflict, what are ways that can help me manage this situation better?
  • Am I being reasonable?
  • How can I communicate my perspective without attacking the person’s character?
  • What might this person be thinking and feeling?
  • Can I see things from their perspective in order to understand them better?

You might want to consider the following ways of dealing with conflict:

  • Write a letter if speaking directly is too difficult for you
  • Invite the affected party for a conversation when both sides are emotionally calm
  • Invite the person to share his or her perspective without interrupting
  • Listen without judgement
  • Share your thoughts without using accusatory words. Instead of “”You did this…”” say, “”It made me feel upset when this happened””
  • Admit your mistakes and say sorry, even if you are not fully responsible for the conflict

Learning how to communicate our thoughts in a constructive way and listening to the other person’s perspective without judgement is a skill we all need to learn. It takes practice before we can improve. Often times, we think the other person is the one who is in the wrong, but if we just learn to listen, we can perhaps develop some empathy that will help ease the situation. And then perhaps, a compromising solution may just be around the corner.

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