If you find yourself avoiding confrontation with others, Loganholme Psychologist Lauren Brockie explains that while conflict is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience …
What is Conflict?
The word “conflict” gets thrown around a lot in conversation today. Some say conflict, others say “fight”, “disagreement”, “throw down”, “verbal stoush”, “confrontation” … Conflict, in that sense, is an inevitable part of life. Individual differences between people mean that there is bound to be varying points of view, values, and goals.
However, a common misunderstanding is that disagreements develop into conflict that is angry, hurtful, or destructive. Conflict doesn’t have to be vicious or nasty, nor does it have to have a win-loose result. What we tend to forget in the heat of the moment, is that conflict isn’t about one person being right and the other wrong; it’s about different points of view.
Why does Conflict occur?
Conflict can develop due to:
- Different values;
- Different expectations;
- Competing needs;
- Different goals;
- External factors (lack of sleep, drug or alcohol use, peer pressures);
- Personality differences;
Different points of view don’t necessarily lead to conflict. If both people are prepared to accept the other’s position without feeling a need ultimately to change it, conflict will not occur. There are very few things in life that we can prove are right or wrong, even though we may be convinced of them.
Conflict is much more likely if someone feels threatened, continually frustrated, or pushed into responding before they have time to think things through.
There are many types and intensities of conflict, but they have in common that they leave the participants feeling bad. Conflict is inevitable, but feeling bad afterwards isn’t! It’s possible to learn new ways to approach and negotiate conflict.
To resolve or avoid conflict:
- Rule number one is – think before reacting. Often disagreements flare into conflict when people react to what they hear or see, without thinking. Take a step back, stop and think. Consider whether the issue is worth fighting for. If so, choose how you want to react, so that you are in charge, not your emotions.
- Check your understanding of the situation. There may be facts that you are often not aware of. Perhaps the other person needs some of your information. We all have a tendency to hear what we expect to hear, so make sure you understood what the other person meant.
If you avoid confrontation to the point where your needs are not being met, or you can feel the resentment simmering inside you, I welcome you to make an appointment with me. Together, we can explore and develop new ways for you to cope with and address the conflict that inevitably arises in life!
Author: Lauren Brockie, B Beh Sc, PG Dip Psych, M Psych (Sport & Exercise), M Psych (Clinical), MAPS.
Lauren Brockie is an experienced psychologist, working with adults, couples, adolescents, and children. With a warm and practical approach, Lauren enjoys supporting and challenging her clients, to assist them with reaching their goals.
To make an appointment with Lauren Brockie, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.