Being surrounded by constant conflict and stress can color your view of the world around you: you begin to see everything as confrontational, stacked against you, and negative. Being aware of how to break free from the grip of conflict and how it alters your perception is the first step to changing your point of view and beginning your healing process.
How to Break Free from the Grip of Conflict
Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship, especially in marriage. All marriages go through seasons of highs and lows, and it’s natural for couples to experience occasional conflicts. However, there are times when conflicts become protracted, overwhelming, and all-encompassing, threatening to erode the very foundation of the relationship. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of high conflict in marriage and provide guidance on how to break free from its grip.
The Danger of High Conflict
High conflict in marriage can be like a dark cloud that obscures our perception of the relationship and our partners. When conflict lingers, it begins to alter the way we see our spouse and ourselves. The danger lies in the fact that it rewrites our perspective about the marriage. Instead of viewing our partner as the person we once loved, admired, and chose to be with, we start seeing them through a lens of conflict. The positive aspects of our partner get overshadowed, and we may struggle to see anything good in them.
Moreover, protracted conflict can make us lose hope. It becomes so pervasive that it dominates every aspect of our thoughts and emotions related to the relationship. This not only colors our view of the marriage but also distorts our view of ourselves. As the conflict persists, an underlying irritation creeps into our lives, making us critical and easily irritated. Our marriage is at the center of our lives, so when it deteriorates, it has a significant impact on other areas of our functioning.
Reminding Yourself of the Whole Truth
If you find yourself in a season of high conflict, it’s crucial to remind yourself that the conflict does not represent the whole truth of your relationship. There was a time when you loved, liked, and chose your partner for a reason. The conflict is just a part of your journey together, not the entirety of it. The “once upon a time” when you had hopes, dreams, and positive feelings for your partner may seem distant, but it’s not beyond reach.
Breaking free from the grip of conflict requires active mental discipline. Whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively or viewing your partner through the lens of conflict, make a deliberate effort to remember the positive aspects of your partner. Recall why you love them, why you liked them, and why you chose them in the first place. It’s a conscious effort to rekindle the positive aspects of your relationship.
At the Marriage Recovery Center, we believe in the concept of “healing together.” No matter how the conflict began, it becomes the responsibility of both parties to fix it because it affects both partners. Healing together means that both husband and wife need to take responsibility for their role in resolving the conflict. It’s not about blame, but about coming together to work on the issues at hand.
Both parties should be willing to do personal work on themselves, as well as work on the marriage. This may involve self-reflection, counseling, and open communication. The goal is to live out of the truth of who you are as individuals, not just the truth of conflict. By actively participating in this healing process, you can rebuild your relationship and experience personal growth along the way.
In times of high conflict, it’s essential to remember that this phase does not define the entirety of your marriage. The conflict does not represent the whole truth of your relationship or your partner. You can break free from the grip of conflict by actively reminding yourself of the positive aspects of your partner and your relationship.
Embracing the concept of healing together is a powerful way to address high conflict. It requires both parties to take responsibility for their roles in the conflict and work together to find resolution. A better marriage and a better life are possible, even in the face of high conflict. It’s not a permanent state, and with dedication and effort, you can move beyond it towards a healthier, happier relationship.
Also read: The Concept of Manhood and Vulnerability
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.