How can we use conflict to build intimacy and resolve issues? Skillfully! For the next few posts, I’m going to mention a few for your consideration.
Safety is a “thing” and it is always at risk.
In other words, there are all sorts of ways conversations, particularly conflictual ones can go sideways. The most likely first step in a conversation going wrong is when a feeling of safety in the midst of the discussion is lost by any of the participating parties. This benefits no one - unless of course, someone is interested in keeping the conflict pot stirred.
Safety is an issue for all parties but individuals experience safety violations differently. My husband isn’t a big fan of conflict but he sees nothing wrong with yelling at referees on television. Raised voices of any kind, even the kind that is deluded enough to think that the referees can hear him and care about his opinion, make me nervous. Over the years he has learned to tone down his sports passion as a way to respect and demonstrate his love for me.
Have you noticed that people in your life seem to have issues around feeling safe in conversations that are hard for you to understand? Try anyway. What about you? Are there any safety issues for you that you might need to explain to people you love so that they can be more supportive? Try to be transparent and see what happens.