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Healthy Conflict Resolution

By Dr. Margaret Paul
January 02, 2023

Two or more people can create the foundation for healthy conflict resolution by taking the healthy actions in conflict.

rresolving conflictAre you ready to learn how to resolve conflict in all your relationships? Healthy conflict resolution can occur between any two people in conflict: partners, parents and adolescents, teachers, and students (except for very young children), friends, co-workers, roommates, employers and employees, professionals, and clients.

Conflict cannot reach a healthy resolution when one or both people involved in the conflict are operating from the ego wounded self. If you are in a conflict with someone, what is your goal?

Some of the goals of the wounded self in conflict:

  • I know I am right, and I just want to win.
  • Whether I'm right or wrong, all that is important is winning.
  • I need to win to know that I am in control, so that I will feel safe.
  • I just want to create peace, even if it means giving myself up.
  • I just need to make sure I am not controlled by you.

Some of the goals of the loving adult in conflict:

  • Being loving to myself and you is more important than being right or winning.
  • Let's find a resolution that works well for both of us, without either of us having to give ourselves up.
  • I see this conflict as an opportunity to learn something, and I am willing to risk staying in it through the difficulties to learn.
  • Learning the lessons of this conflict is more important to me than winning or being right.
  • I am willing to walk away from this conflict unresolved, or even walk away from the relationship, rather than lose myself and my personal integrity.

When someone is upset or angry, underneath they are often scared, and if the person is a partner, child, parent, or close friend - and they are available to it, and you are in a loving state - holding their hand or hugging them and letting them know they are not alone can shift them out of their wounded self and into an open state.

If they are not available to this, or the conflict is with someone other than family and friends, then there are only two healthy actions when in conflict with another:

1) Open to learning about yourself and with the other person

2) Lovingly disengage, which means to disengage from the conflict without anger or blame and do your own Inner Bonding process, letting the other person know that you will check in, in 30 minutes, to see if you are both open and can talk about the conflict.

There is no point in discussing an issue unless both people are open to learning. When one or both are in their wounded self with the intent to control, there can be no win-win conflict resolution. This can occur only when both people are in a true intent to learn. Since you have no control over the other person's intent, the only loving actions you can take if the other is not open to learning with you is to 1) pray for him or her to receive spiritual help in opening; and 2) do your own learning and take care of yourself.

Win-win conflict resolution occurs when both people have their own and the other's highest good in mind. Anything less than this creates a controlling rather than a learning environment. This will lead to win-lose resolution or to non-resolution.

It is often very valuable to have a third party present to facilitate conflict resolution -- a therapist, facilitator, or knowledgeable friend. No matter how sophisticated you are with personal growth and conflict resolution, it is difficult to see yourself clearly when in conflict.

Heal your relationships with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.


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