Conflict – an open door to intimacy
By: Dan Jurek
It’s a natural tendency to avoid conflict as few of us enjoy the tension and negative emotions associated with confrontational experiences. Confrontation however doesn’t have to equal unpleasantness. In fact, once you gain the necessary skills, conflict becomes a gateway for understanding your needs and another person’s needs.
Conflict arises for five main reasons in an average relationship. The first is power and control. When you and another person are fighting for control or resenting not being able to take control, there’s conflict. The second is individuality. This arises when someone feels like they’re losing themselves in the relationship. Thirdly, distance. When one person starts pulling away or putting up walls and defenses. The fourth is distrust. This is when one or both people feel unsafe expressing their feelings and needs. This can result from lies and betrayals at all levels. The last reason is unmet needs. Conflict arises when any person feels their needs are not being met in the relationship.
Conflict can be an open door to deeper intimacy if we keep a few things in mind. We need to remember that there are five levels of communication. Most of us only go to the third level, especially in a conflict. It’s easy to share clichés, facts and opinions, and then put up the wall to any further discussions. If we can push past those three to the other two levels, (feelings and needs) we’re on our way to making something of our conflicts besides anger and resentment.