It doesn’t matter if you seek out conflict or shy away from it. We all have to manage conflict at work, during social interactions and at home. Your conflicts may be out in the open. For instance, your children resist bedtime or don’t like what’s for dinner. Your conflicts may be subtle, like a recurring disagreement with a spouse. Your conflicts may be totally silent, like a customer who fails to pay you and won’t respond. The question is: How well are you managing these conflicts?
Some conflict is easier to solve than others; maybe you can negotiate bedtime with your kids by promising an extra story. But some conflict can be really difficult to solve if the conflict is persistent or if your reaction to it is disruptive.
Let’s take the recurring disagreement. If you’re having an ongoing disagreement it can feel like you’ve said everything there is to say. Maybe you’ve tried multiple solutions and find yourself back where you started. Bringing in a neutral third party–a therapist–will allow you to lay out the history of the argument and perhaps land on a solution neither party had thought of.
Now let’s look at the unpaid invoice. There are concrete steps you can take to get paid, but maybe it’s worth investigating why the unpaid invoice causes so much stress. Walking through our reactions to conflict can lead to identifying patterns in our lives, which is the first step to change. Sure, we all want to get paid on time, but handling an unpaid invoice professionally could end in payment and a good reputation.
These situations are all hypothetical of course, but hopefully they illustrate how working through conflict alone can sometimes lead to a dead end. Working with an Upper Valley therapist can help to shed new light on old conflicts and recurring patterns.