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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Conflict resolution

Has anyone ever learned how to resolve conflict better? Is this teachable? My husband and I have been having issues, and we both come from families with bad conflict resolution and we suck at it.
We all come from passive aggressive families, and he is PA also. He just sees conflict and fighting as such a bad thing that needs to be avoided at all costs. And he thinks fighting reflects problems. I see fighting and conflict as inevitable, part of life, and something that we part of marriage and life. So I feel like we need to learn how to deal with it because it's inevitable.

I feel like he acts like I'm not allowed to get mad at him. And if I am it's like he feels I'm attacking his character even though I'm not, I'm mad at the action not who he is. He doesn't understand this concept and he immediately thinks I'm attacking him. He's super sensitive. I have tried every sort of way to address issues that come off as not attacking or whatever but he still immediately gets offended and goes on the defense.

Anyway... it's been a struggle to get him to go to therapy. Is there any book or video or something we both can watch to learn how to resolve issues on a healthy way. He is so stubborn and he just doesn't see anything he does it wrong.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 01:37 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Back in 2000 Dug and I went to a seminar on Active Listening through the La Leche League.

My gosh, Katie, I cannot tell you how powerful that was for us! It showed us how to see another person's pov without feeling that we necessarily had to change our own. Very freeing.

Truly one of the transformative moments in our lives. Incredibly empowering.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:02 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution requires calm communication. Fighting does reflect problems. What else could it reflect? Sure, there is conflict in marriage but it is how it is handled that counts. Silent treatment(passive aggressive) or screaming at the top of you lungs is not a good way to solve conflict.

If you H thinks you are going after him personally and you are not, that is something your H needs to sort out. Further, how you approach your H with a problem sets the tone.

“You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.”
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Conflict resolution

Our fighting reflects our problems won conflict resolution lol
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 04:57 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

It can be learned but you have to really want to. It's hard in the heat of the moment, when your blood is boiling, not to fall back to old habits. It takes understanding, grace from both parties and not quitting

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:31 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Communicating calmly to understand one another, striking compromises as a fair middle ground, and keeping promises are all key to good conflict resolution.

Arguments should be calm (don't yell at each other) and reasonably timed (not going on for days).

A good protocol for conflict resolution is that one person talks while the other person listens, and then the person who listened talks. This exchange is iterated until a mutual understanding is achieved of respective viewpoints. The whole idea behind the "talking stick" (google it) may be useful, although I don't propose passing around an actual stick to solve your problems.

Understanding each other is the beginning of possible compromise. Try to get the deepest understanding possible. What does my spouse want, and why? How does this affect us on both short-term and long-term horizons? Has he/she considered these effects?

Bear in mind that compromise is not always guaranteed. Sometimes a spouse must agree to disagree. An example from my marriage is weight gain; the wife has always wanted me to gain some weight, and I have always resisted on the argument that I'm currently a healthy weight and don't want to be heavier. Part of my reluctance stems from me being very overweight, tens of years ago. So anyway, we would have these recurring arguments where she would try to coerce me to make agreements about gaining weight. It was very unproductive, because I was not willing to make a compromise on this. Change on big things needs to be willful and reasonably motivated; don't fight over things that will never change and learn to be tolerant of each other.

Whatever you agree upon, live up to it. Otherwise, it's the same old argument on a whole new day. Good luck!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:17 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

I can relate. This is the main reason I am leaving this summer.
In my case, his sensitivity and attachment to "only positive things " is severe. As in, a blaming personality disorder, passive aggressive, and (very quietly) narcissism.
Narcissistic behaviour is really just a hard case of no self awareness. Traits are learned. That's all.
It's very difficult to not offend someone who is never wrong and it isn't their's yours for complaining in the first place and you shouldn't do that because everything should always be warm and fuzzy.

He might benefit from Byron Katie's website - the work - is it true? It's all free.
Other tips
Set aside scheduled time to discuss certain subjects.
If he goes offside (gets offended) or insults you and tries to change the subject to something you did instead, patiently redirect. Twice. Then drop it. Do not talk about other subjects.
Writing down points beforehand is very useful.
Active listening can be learned.
When listening to each other, write down what they say as they are talking. That stops your brain from merely planning what you want to say next.
Read it back to the speaker.
Then respond, if it's your turn. Or take time to process what was said.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:46 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Originally Posted by crocus View Post
I can relate. This is the main reason I am leaving this summer.
In my case, his sensitivity and attachment to "only positive things " is severe. As in, a blaming personality disorder, passive aggressive, and (very quietly) narcissism.
Narcissistic behaviour is really just a hard case of no self awareness. Traits are learned. That's all.
It's very difficult to not offend someone who is never wrong and it isn't their's yours for complaining in the first place and you shouldn't do that because everything should always be warm and fuzzy.
I can relate too. My husband is very positive, it's one of the things I love about him, but I've had to have the "please don't minimize my feelings" talk several times. I started reading books on positivity and mindfulness and now I'm better equipped to bring issues up in a way that uses his language, so to speak. I tell him that the issue is an "opportunity" to improve this one area, so we can enjoy X more. That my feelings are not negative, they are motivation to solve the problem.

I've also found that emailing him works FAR better than trying to talk to him in person about any issue. He's very responsive to problem-solving via email.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:56 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

I have done a number of workshops on conflict mediation, and found them to be very helpful.

Techniques include active listening, de-escalation, focusing on the problem rather than the person, question techniques to get at the heart of the issue, and much more.

No doubt there will be many such offerings in your community if you look around for them.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 07:05 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Since his head is hard.
Since his resolve is intractable.
Since his attitude is- that he is always

You be none of these.

Why is it sooo important to control everything and everyone in your life? Many people do this.

You need not roll over and allow yourself to be emotionally abused. Just pick your battles. Let the rest go un-answered.
Most of the crap is not important in the long run.

See the Rose from the Thorn.
See the Sea from the Rocky Shore.
See the Good, not so much the Bad.

Accept the humidity that comes from the Rain.

Cannot do this? Are these words "Nonsense-BS Pablum" to you?

Then time to move on. Find another more compatible man.

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 07:11 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

If the conflicts are about things material (BMW vs Lexus) a good ole pro / cons table generally suffices.

If its personal preferences, compromise in turns.

If its philosophical issues, discuss to death calmly.

I find it very difficult to believe a surgical resident is PA. Could it be the God Complex beginning to come thru?

I had Easter dinner at a friend whose son is beginning surgical residency plus two of his buddies, actual surgical residents​. Let's just say there were more gods there than a Mount Olympus worth of deities.

The piece de resistance was when our host had an accident and burned a finger at the grill. A long winded and not so godly debate ensued on treatment options while the rest of us were in tears laughing.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 09:21 PM
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Re: Conflict resolution

Of course it can be learned. I had to learn how to handle conflict in order to work well with my wife. The most important thing, I think, is the ability to see both sides of the argument and try not to let personal feelings get in the way.

I am slow to anger but when I am angry I have a tendancy to go for the (proverbial) throat. I had to learn to calm myself more. Having children helped.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:51 AM
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Re: Conflict resolution

There is nothing wrong with having a few fights now & then.. it just shows a couple is being HONEST with their feelings and yes.. they can be at loggerheads.. it happens...

There are different conflict styles, depending on one's personality.... one is not better over another, but "HOSTILE" will destroy a couple.... the main thing is ...that a couple gets to the roots of it.. and finds their peace again.. so resentment does not set in...

Dealing with Conflict in Marriage: Four Types of Couples..

Couples perceptions, thoughts, values, and feelings influence how they interpret conflict situations, and can strongly shape the outcomes of conflicts. However, the three elements of conflict, issue, relationship, and emotion, must be dealt with if the conflict is to be resolved. The way that couples respond to interpersonal conflicts could either be constructive or destructive to their relationships.

The 5 to 1 Ratio in Marriage Conflicts

According to John Gottman, marriage relationship researcher, negative interactions are balanced by positive ones in stable marriages. The dynamics of the balance between negativity and positivity are what separate contented couples from discontented ones.....

1. Volatile Couples

For volatile couples, conflicts erupt easily, and are fought on grand scale, but of course, making up is even greater! These couples have passionate disputes, and frequent and passionate arguments.

According to Gottman, while volatile fight openly, they argue with a lot of wit, display fondness for each other, and have a great time making up. It seems that their volcanic arguments are just a small part of their warm and loving relationship.

It appears that passion and fighting lead to better relationships which include making up, laughing, and affection. So despite the level of their argument, they still resolve their differences.

Volatile couples see themselves as equals, and exhibit individuality and independence in their marriage. They are open with each other about their positive and negative feelings, and their marriages tend to be passionate and exciting.

Gottman’s research indicates that their frequent arguments are balanced out by their positive interactions such as touching, smiling, paying complements, and laughing, and so on. So these couples stick together for the long haul.

2. Validating Couples

Couples who are validators, fight more politely. They are calmer during conflicts, and behave like collaborators as they work through their problems. These couples often compromise, and seek to work out their problems steadily for mutually satisfying results. The mutual respect that they have for each other, limits the amount and level of their arguments.

The emphasis is on communication and compromise, so even if they have heated discussion, they validate each other. They do this by expressing empathy for, and understanding each other’s point of view. Very evident, is their display of care, calm, and self-control even when they discussing hot topics.

Validating couples try to persuade their partners, and find a common ground in the end. During conflict, they let each other know they value their opinions, and see their emotions as legitimate. In disagreement, validating couples, let their partners know they still consider their feelings, even though they don’t necessarily agree with their position.

3. Conflict-Avoiding Couples

Conflict-avoiding couples rarely argue, and it seems that they avoid confrontation at all cost. When they discuss their conflicts they do so mildly and carefully, as they don’t feel that there is much to be gained from getting openly angry with each other.

These couples agree to disagree, and rarely confront their differences, that could end up in deadlocked discussions. According to Gottman, conflict-avoiding couples believe that their common ground and values are much greater than their differences, and this makes their differences insignificant or easy to accept.

These couples have an avoidant style of marriage, so rather than discussing a conflict with their partners, some spouse often try to fix the situation on their own, or hope that with the passage of time the problems will work themselves out.

4. Hostile Couples...

Hostile couples argue often and hotly, and their arguments are caustic and harmful. Insults, putdowns, and sarcasms prevail when they argue. These couples fail to maintain the 5 to 1 ratio of positivity to negativity in their conflicts, and there is clearly more negative than positive in the relationships.

Hostile couples’ discussions are characterized by too much criticisms, contempt, defensiveness, and withdrawal. Their communication is unhealthy, they don’t listen to what each other is saying, and conflicts are dangerous to their relationships.

Some hostile couples try to actively address their disagreements, but this is usually ineffective. Others remain more detached, uninvolved, and critical of each other, with brief spurts of attack and defensiveness. These couples are meaner to each other than the other three types of couples..
I didn't watch all this... but I'm sure it's excellent...many things here to work on.. would he be willing to listen with you @katiecrna ?

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