Conflict # 65 – Breaking the Pattern

The resolution of some conflicts may not be as hard as it appears.

I once worked with a couple who were in daily conflict with each other. They were stuck in a number of unhealthy patterns. Among them, mutual blame, name-calling, resentment.

One such pattern was that, not long after the birth of their daughter, they rarely spent time together as a couple. Their conflict intensified, their anger at one another increased, and eventually they each preferred being with their child, rather than with each other. 

It seemed a good idea to take a directive approach with these good people; to give them a firm, gentle nudge in a new direction, encouraging them do one thing differently. As a result, he agreed to make one small change in his behavior. That is, he agreed to go to a restaurant she suggested, instead of dismissing her, as he usually did. She agreed to go on outings with him and the baby, even on days when she said she needed ‘alone time’.

Making little changes such as these could be enough to remind them of the importance of giving a little, now and then.

In certain cases, when you want to address personal conflicts, all that’s necessary is to break up the pattern. Do one thing differently from the way you usually do, and see what happens.

Thanks for reading!