Chronic conflict can sap your strength. It can really mess up your life. Maybe you know just what I mean: the searingly painful kind, when every attempt to communicate ends in anger, sadness, and feelings of failure. Ugh.
The fact is, this kind of recurring bad dream is oh, so human. What to do? Let’s go there.
1. Begin with you.
Yes. You. The bottom line is that when it comes to chronic conflict—and much else in life—this is the only place where you have control. There isn’t a thing you can do about someone else’s actions and reactions. But there is an upside to that downside. You can work very effectively with your part in any challenging situation.
Now, think about these questions with your situation in mind:
What’s your goal for the communication?
What are the potential land mines?
What are the potential opportunities?
2. Create a constructive point of view.
Next, while considering all that, set aside your judgments, all the yada yada yada about the other person. Really. And yes, all your reasons not to will rear up here like ghosts from a grave. It’s human.
Yet this is something we can do to get beyond conflict. We can—because our goals matter—begin to handle chronic issues in new ways. Like working within our own new, non-negotiable commitments to ourselves.
For example, let’s say two ex-spouses can’t communicate without battling, and their kids are caught in the crossfire. Ouch. Right? And oh, so human.