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Conflict Resolution Network

How do you respond to conflict?

Do you fear conflict or avoid it at all costs? If your perception of conflict comes from painful memories from early childhood or previous unhealthy relationships, you may expect all disagreements to end badly. You may view conflict as demoralizing, humiliating, or something to fear. If your early life experiences left you feeling powerless or out of control, conflict may even be traumatizing for you.

If you’re afraid of conflict, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you enter a conflict situation already feeling threatened, it’s tough to deal with the problem at hand in a healthy way. Instead, you’re more likely to either shut down or blow up in anger.

Healthy and unhealthy ways of managing and resolving conflict
Unhealthy responses to conflict:Healthy responses to conflict:
An inability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the other personThe capacity to empathize with the other person’s viewpoint
Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactionsCalm, non-defensive, and respectful reactions
The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonmentA readiness to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding resentments or anger
An inability to compromise or see the other person’s sideThe ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing
Feeling fearful or avoiding conflict; expecting a bad outcomeA belief that facing conflict head on is the best thing for both sides