How does your family handle conflict?

Bamabuzzard

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No one comes from a perfect family. Families can have some very "interesting" dynamics to say the least. My wife and I watched a video someone sent us on how families handle conflict and which was the healthiest methods and which ones were not. I won't bore you to death over the entire thing. However, I will give you some things we learned from watching that may help your family handle conflict better to produce a better outcome and a closer knit family

"Honest conflict is better than dishonest harmony"- A family who deals with the conflict head-on and discusses it is more apt to have meaningful relationships than the family who sweeps things under the rug in an attempt to always "keep the peace". Dishonest harmony produces shallow, "surface" relationships because nothing is ever talked about and each person is forced to internalize everything and never discusses it with the person or persons. In turn, the problem never gets truly resolved just ignored. Using dishonest harmony as a method of dealing with family conflict is not healthy and tends to distance the family from each other without realizing that's what happening until it is too late.

Whereas "honest conflict", though uncomfortable, tends to produce more meaningful relationships on the other side of the conflict because the parties externalize how they feel and the problem is worked through in some form.. People can express how something made them feel to those who hurt them and the other person or persons get to respond and let the offended party know their perspective and how they feel. This method is a very healthy thing for families to do rather than putting the highest value on "let's just keep the peace".

My wife realized (after watching the video) that has been whats "wrong" with her family her entire life. They never talked about anything, "just move on" is what they were taught. She told me that is why she feels closer to my family (who isn't her flesh and blood) than to her own family. She (LOL) told me "As messed up as parts of your family are, y'all get stuff out, whether it's talked or hollered out, and move on with sincere relationships. It gets resolved. We never did that because keeping the peace was more important than resolving the issue".

Other advice is welcomed. I just thought I'd share.
 
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AlistarWills

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"Honest conflict is better than dishonest harmony"- A family who deals with the conflict head-on and discusses it is more apt to have meaningful relationships than the family who sweeps things under the rug in an attempt to always "keep the peace". Dishonest harmony produces shallow, "surface" relationships because nothing is ever talked about and each person is forced to internalize everything and never discusses it with the person or persons. In turn, the problem never gets truly resolved just ignored. Using dishonest harmony as a method of dealing with family conflict is not healthy and tends to distance the family from each other without realizing that's what happening until it is too late.
Been party to this one over the last 20 something years. Nothing ever got better, just tried to cope with the situation and the coping mechanism became distance and separation to avoid repeatedly getting hurt. Now someone has passed away and there can be no getting back all the time that was lost.
Now that the one who passed is gone, the need to cope is gone and a festering little infected hair is likely to become a half-dollar sized boil.
 
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B1GTide

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In my immediate family, we don't fight. We talk things out. No raised voices allowed, and no one walks away while temperatures are still raised.

There are no winners in family conflicts unless everyone walks away feeling like they have been heard and understood.

Our expectation is simple - talk to one another with love, trust and respect. Never condescend, and never name call.

It works for us, but only because we're are a small family. Achieving this level of harmony across our extended family has proven to be impossible.
 

CrimsonJazz

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Now that we're empty-nesters, my wife has figured out an easy way to "win." Just when I'm about to hammer my point home with the perfect balance of reason and rational observation, she lifts her shirt and I immediately forgot the point I was making.

Women.....how they haven't taken over the world yet, I'll never know.
 
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Bamabuzzard

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Now that we're empty-nesters, my wife has figured out an easy way to "win." Just when I'm about to hammer my point home with the perfect balance of reason and rational observation, she lifts her shirt and I immediately forgot the point I was making.

Women.....how they haven't taken over the world yet, I'll never know.
There was a time where lifting the shirt was enough, but I caught on to that trick and am now a more "scratch and sniff" type of guy rather than a "show and tell". #handsontypeofguy
 
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Bamabuzzard

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In my immediate family, we don't fight. We talk things out. No raised voices allowed, and no one walks away while temperatures are still raised.

There are no winners in family conflicts unless everyone walks away feeling like they have been heard and understood.

Our expectation is simple - talk to one another with love, trust and respect. Never condescend, and never name call.

It works for us, but only because we're are a small family. Achieving this level of harmony across our extended family has proven to be impossible.
Unfortunately, both of my wife's parents were raised in households where keeping the peace was more important than discussing. So "discussion" or working it out didn't exist, they just "moved on" and didn't talk about it. It created very shallow, surface-level relationships between the family members that exist to this day.

When you walk into a room with my wife's family it feels like everyone is keeping everyone at arm's length. There's not much depth in the family dynamic and she has made it a point that our kids aren't raised that way. We have open discussions with our kids, allow them to tell us how they feel, what makes them happy, mad, sad etc. As long as it is done in a respectful manner we want our kids talking to us and being able to let us know how they feel. We think it is important to who they become.
 
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