Family Matters: 3 Steps to Resolving Deep Family Conflict
More and more we’re rediscovering the importance of family as COVID takes it’s toll.
Consider the following scenarios—you argued with your sister three years ago and haven’t spoken since. It’s been a rough three years, but now you don’t know how to break the ice and fix what went wrong between you. Or maybe your children moved out and somehow drifted out of your life. You miss them and don’t know how to reconnect without sounding like you’re nagging.
Conflict is one of the more common problems facing families. Conflict within will break apart any family faster than any outside force ever could. When you resolve to fix this kind of conflict, though, it can feel like an uphill battle. You’re going to need to dig deep to make this happen.
Start with these three steps:
Have a Discussion
Talking things through should be the go-to in any family conflict. Sitting down and talking to the other person to clear the air generally will deal with any minor disagreements very quickly. Be ready to express your side of things, sticking to how you feel and how you perceive things. Don’t attack the other person, using ‘you’ statements, sticking instead to your point of view. Be prepared to listen, and yes, even apologize if necessary.
But what do you do when the other person isn’t interested in talking, or if the talk goes badly? Here’s where it might become better to take the high road. Forgiveness is a hard thing sometimes, especially when the other person hasn’t asked for forgiveness in the first place. You’re going to have to ask yourself how much you want peace and how much you want to be right. If you’re serious about removing the conflict, then you’re going to have to let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting, though, in small matters, this might be your best option. If the other person has been abusive toward you, you can forgive, but you might want to curtail further interaction, keeping a safe distance to keep yourself from being hurt again, which leads us to the next point.
Sometimes you’re just not going to reach a healthy relationship with this person. When Discussions and Forgiveness don’t work, consider dropping the relationship entirely for the sake of your peace of mind or, in extreme cases, your safety. You still have to take care of you and your relationship with yourself. This last might not seem like a resolution of the conflict, but in a sense, it is. You’re not allowing the other person to engage in conflict with you again, so it’s now over.
Peace within your family matters. So do you.
Remember this as you dig deep to work on difficult family relationships.