Conflict is a part of life. We all bump up against each other from time to time. We have issues and problems that we need to work out with skill and from a place of respect and empowerment.
I was never good at confrontation. I would either try to avoid it at all costs or act out my feelings in passive-aggressive ways. Neither of which are very skilful or admirable. But hey I, like so many people, was never taught how to deal with conflict in a healthy and empowered way.
But luckily I did a course called Empowering Relationships, and I learnt valuable skills to handle tricky situations from a place of empowerment and love. (Stay tuned for more on this course soon.)
I have also done a lot of work on myself, working on my self-worth, the need for boundaries and my inner strength.
And it has been a game-changer!
So I’m going to give you a bit of a crash course in dealing with confrontation. And will give you some strategies for empowered resolutions.
So much of what we learn about relationships and how to handle confrontation comes from our parents and caregivers. I love my parents dearly and they are very loving people. But they do not know how to have empowered conversations and disagreements. It’s not their fault. Most people are not taught these things.
Protect your Inner Child
Your Inner Child is a part of your Self. She represents your emotional body and holds your secrets, your dreams and your fears. Working with my inner child has been so important on my path of self-discovery, self-worth and empowerment.
Related article: Why your inner child is the key to your happiness.
Your inner child is a part of you that is childlike and vulnerable. So one of the most important things to do is make your inner child feel safe and protected in all situations.
If you know you have to have a difficult talk or be in a situation that makes you feel nervous then talk to your inner child. Let them know that you are going to deal with the situation and that no matter what happens you love them and will always look after them.
A good thing to do that works for many people is to put your inner child in a safe place before the conversation happens. If it is a spontaneous situation then try to tuck them away as soon as you can.
My inner child lives in a beautiful garden in my heart and there is a beautiful tree with a door. (Did anyone else have the family treehouse dollhouse when they were a kid?) Anyway, that is my inner child’s safe place and she can go in there anytime she feels frightened or threatened.
Your inner child does not need to be part of the conversation that you have with the person you are in disagreement with. That is your job.
Things your inner child needs to know
- their needs, fears, and safety are very important
- they are not responsible for how the other person reacts
- no matter what happens you love them
It might seem a bit strange at first but it definitely works.
Set boundaries before issues arise
If you are in a committed relationship it’s a really good idea to discuss how you feel about confrontation and how you want to deal with it in your relationship. It’s a way for you to communicate your needs and set boundaries.
But not all confrontations happen with our partner so it might be important to have these conversations with other people in your life too.
Here are some good ideas
- Stick to the topic – Do not bring up irrelevant or past issues. It is not about everything that has annoyed you or come up between you. It’s about the current situation.
- get clarification. Often things are misinterpreted so ask if you are not sure. You can also reframe to get clarification – say “I just want to understand what you are saying, what you mean is… “
- You must listen carefully and respectively to each other and not talk over the top, or scream
- Do not use or accept abusive language.
- do not accept patronising or disrespecting language or body language.
- do not accept physical or violent behaviour.
- if the conversation is going round in circles take a break and discuss it later or agree to disagree.
- Remember there doesn’t have to be a winner.
- You may need to talk about what exactly is considered ok and not ok. You can’t just assume. Everybody has different ideas and opinions of what language is disrespectful for example so it’s really important to clarify that.
Useful language for conflict resolution
When emotion run high and your feeling threatened, anxious or hurt it can be co easy to revert to childlike ways of interacting. We often react but we need to learn to interact in a way that is less reactive and more considered.
- Please don’t talk to me like that.
- When you talk to me like that I feel…(insert negative emotion, for example – scared, disrespected)
- I’m am/You are too angry to discuss this right now. Let’s take a break and talk about it when our emotions have settled.
- Please don’t talk over the top of me.
- I just want to understand what you are saying, do you mean….?
Some of this language seems so simple and obvious but it’s often not what comes natural, especially if you have not had it modelled to you as a child like I hadn’t then it will not come naturally and you need to make it part of your natural response. Don’t worry it will. I know because I have done this work myself and it’s amazing!
Strategies for conflict resolution
- speak from the heart with compassion and respect.
- be honest
- Remember that not all differences can be resolved and that’s ok
- seek professional help if necessary
- get a healing to clear out the negative energies, past life issues and thoughtforms from the relationship.
- do not have to put your needs second or agree just to make the other person happy.
I have found these strategies really helpful and have noticed a really big change in the way I handle problems with my partner.
If you are interested in learning more then sign up for my newsletter and I will let you know when I will be running my online empowering Relationships course.
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- The fives stages of a relationship and how to handle them