For most of us, there is no way to avoid family conflict. We all lose it (more often than not), but the key question is: How do you deal with it?
and once you’ve dealth with it…How do you heal and grow from it?
Last night I went to a dark place that I thought no longer existed in me. A place of resignation, where resolve is not possible. A dark space where you remain when you feel like there is nothing you can do about your situation.
I call that Pergatory. It is literally hell. An immobilized place where you just sit in the same B.S. situation day after day, after day.
I visited that place years ago, and stayed way too long. It almost swallowed me up, as well as my family.
FAfter much personal work, I found my way out, and being who I am today, I didn’t think I would ever re-visit that place, but last night I did. And it was very uncomfortable…
My husband and I got into an argument like the ones we used to get into long ago – and of course it was over something miniscule as most arguments are. While we were in it though, we somehow lost the wheel, and went down the path of losing control. The result was both of us feeling upset, hurt and even bruised by what was said.
Yes. We’ve all been there, and we’ll be there again at one point or another.
The truth is that we do go there with our most valuable relationships – like our family, our loved ones, our friends, etc.
But when you go down that road, how do you deal with it?
What I have learned and practiced for several years now is give your emotions a minute. If you were just told something hurtful, the impulsive response is to react, right? But what if you didn’t? What if you excused yourself and walked away? What if you made the other person aware, that he just went “below the belt”?
What has worked in my family is to take a breath, and take a second.
If my daughter has said something hurtful, I hold my back my reaction and walk over to her, look her in the eyes and let her know that my feelings were hurt, and ask her to not say that again. Her response is so innocent and honest…She immediately relaxes her body, warms up and says “ok, I will try mamma”. That is all that is needed. Hold back, eye contact, sincerity and creating a boundary about what is not okay.
As parents, we have modeled how to deal with moments like these pretty well for our children, but last night, we failed.
After our heated argument, and wonderful exchange of words, I invited my husband to have a clearing, only for it to lead to round 2. And round 2 was worse than round 1. (thanfully, the kids were in bed)
That was when I reached that awful place. I thought that we have gone down an old familiar path, where intention, love and action were missing. Where a powerful connection was missing.
My husband walked away, and I stayed there for a while. No light anywhere. Nothing to reach for.
Thankfully a trusted friend called, and I answered. Although we hardly touched on what happened, she shared her stories and heartache, and it simply shifted me. I realized that I do not need to stay anywhere, and it is up to me to get the hell out of there.
So, I went upstairs, and I affirmed that we will be held by our Love, by our commitment, our children, and we will have our clearing. Before I can speak a word, as I approached my husband in that vibration, I can already feel that I wasn’t being rejected. I was being received by him. What followed was a heart filled, emotional, loving, compassionate exchange. A perfect resolution…
This is something I find helpful any time I am dealing with conflict resolution.
It moves me, it relaxes me, and I feel like I can breathe again. Try this!
- Ask what you want to produce from your conversation when you intend to resolve conflict – what is the outcome?
- Shift your focus on what you share with the other person. Focus on your love, your friendship, your partnership, and remember why you committed to this relationship.
- Place your hand on your heart. It takes the focus out of the mind, and you approach the matter from a heart – centered place.
- Affirm what is possible before you begin. For example, I say something like – I am the possibility of Love, Marriage, Trust and Resolution.
- You can ask the other person to think of what they would like to produce out of the conversation you’re initiating. This way it shifts them towards resolve, instead of releasing their emotions on you.
- If it is a really heated situation, and you are worried about how it is going to play out – try visualizing yourself across from that person. In your vision, look into their eyes, and if you feel that they are hurting, place your hand on their heart and yours. If needed, offer an apology and request one as well. Or simply look into each others eyes, and enjoy your deep connection. That will energetically create a different setting for you to begin a conversation in. Then invite them to talk about what is happening, and how you can make it better.
Once you have moved on from this, and all is cleared between the two of you, when you are ready, ask yourself if there is anything else that you need in order to honor yourself and your relationship. See if anything comes up, and address it.
Ask yourself what you can learn about yourself, and the other person from what just happened. If you allow it, your experience/argument can shed light on what your needs are, or what personal healing you need to do so that in the future, this kind of argument doesn’t impact you in the same way.
Chances are that your partner hit a button that is tied into your past, in ways that you may have not realized. Creating awareness and doing the work is worth diving deep – not just for your own well being and benefit, but for your children. You are ultimately handing them the same tools you have used, so that they can access them in their future relationships.
Noticing what the underlying sensitivity was that sparked your emotions, can be helpful in your own personal growth, in your marriage, in your parenting, and all areas of your life.
Acquiring the support and tools to grow from these painful bumps and bruises requires a whole other post, but for now, there is plenty here that can serve you in the same way it serves our marriage and our family.
At the very least, try to simply place your hand on your heart, and breathe. It completely rewires your body (based on over a decade of heart studies at the Institute of Heart Math).
I offer this to you from a vulnerable space, and hope that it serves you in you home, your marriage and for your children.
With all my love,