How do you handle conflict? 

Today i ask this because I have come to realize I dont know how. At least not how to handle and solve it. As a child growing up in a disfunctional family conflict, disagreement, and angry feelings were just a part of the norm. Mom was mad then we all stayed low until she wasn’t. We were mad… Oh well too bad. Dad was mad…. Well it will blow over … How? By not talking about it. Resolution was something we handled individually… I don’t mean we talked it out with each other. You just held it inside until you could work through it yourself. Meaning you suppress your dislike or your disappointment for something. You didn’t dare discuss it.

I often find myself in situations where I don’t like something butmy first thought is how will the other person feel once I express that I am displeased? You see I was conditioned to please and to not upset others. The fear was that I wouldn’t be loved if I said what I wanted, didn’t want, didn’t like etc. i have a deep desire – no its a need like food and water…. to be accepted, appreciated and loved. Those desires can sometimes cloud my judgement as to what should be done vs what I will do in order to keep the peace…. In order to continue to feel loved or liked.

So again I ask how does one settle conflict. As a child we would hold the anger inside…Suppress it. Internal anger soon turns to hate. Small issues become big issues because the anger is never dealt with it just keeps building. Push it down make room for more… That was what we did.
There was no listening to each other to try to resolve the misunderstanding or conflict. But then again you have to tslk in order for someome to listen… There was no talkng either. This resulted in us not connecting and misunderstanding each other. There was never ever any communication about problems. Not being able to agree- even to disagree was just a form of life.

So now fast forward. I am a parent and I don’t know how to settle conflict or disagreements with my children so that there is a door open for continuing communication and love. I have failed in this department.

How do I know? My children at their ages 21, 19, and 16 are all harboring issues with each other and with me. This has created space where there should be love and understanding and companionship and family.
I failed them… I failed them because in all honesty I don’t know how to figure out conflict. When conflict arises I can somehow see all sides – I can see how all parties might be feeling…. But when the question comes to whom is right? Or wrong? Not sure how to answer that. Not sure whom to blame.. Not sure who’s to say sorry, not sure if someone should say sorry… And often times I am not sure if sorry is even the right answer. It often comes from a place of not wanting to have anyone be angry with me…

But this leads to a deeper question … Why is that such a scary thing that someone would be mad with me…. Well growing up, as a child mad meant.. I was unloved, I was nothing, I wasn’t a person… I was a big walking piece of disappointment. The feeling of being a disappointment- not good enough is a feeling I still feel today… I hate the feeling and lately it’s what I feel everyday all day.

But how do I step past this and get my kids to learn to resolve their conflicts in a way that continues communication with each other and me. How do I get them to beable to see that conflict doesn’t have to mean relationship is over… It just means that we are all different and that we can see things differently but the most important thing is respecting one another and though you may not always agree you can still accept the other person for who they are.

For today I’ve written down my thoughts…. It’s a start… For later I will pray that God has his way and In his time creates for me and my kids better communication …

This is my prayer for them before I leave this earth.

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