Conflict In Relationships



By Aidy Thomas

Conflict is inevitable. Putting people and even animals or other living things in the same environment will cause them to touch, rub, mark, or wound each other.    

A simple illustration of conflict is to consider a pack of biscuit emptied into a small platter yet expecting them not to brush against each other as it’s being passed round for people to share —this is totally impossible.

As long as nature designed it for man to co-exist; needing and helping others in a cycle that spells relevance and necessity, there will always be a struggle for survival and/or domination by the strong.

Conflict arises as a result of diverse interests screaming for approval and validation. The world at large is thrown into conflict today; nation against nation, city, town, etc, either because there is a feeling of being neglected or an unruly urge to openly oppress, coerce, or submerge others.

Therefore, the core inspiration of conflict is “interest”. Whichever way you chose to look at it, people react when they feel they are not getting what they deserve or getting what they do not deserve.

Having identified ‘interest’ as the core issue of conflict, it is therefore mundane to see relationships struggle because two individuals  coming from different backgrounds, exposures, values, expectations and experimentations can only do so much together on common grounds.

The totality of who you are, what you stand for and what you want out of life makes you act and react in certain ways that birth conflict. As long as you are different; there will always be conflict.

There is need to accept that the task of managing or resolving conflict is an enormous one. Countries spend quite a lot of resources to bridge gaps leading to conflict: study and implement systems that should minimise ‘heat’; yet very little is being achieved.

Putting it in another way, conflict can be triggered by…

•Assumption- What your mind presents to you

•Perception – Your ‘take’ on the issue

•Disposition – Where you want to stand or remain

•Gratification – What you gain from the situation

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•Ego-How you want to be seen

At the end of the day, it is the way you handle conflict that determines how things will eventually play out in life. In other words, we can say that conflict on its own; since it cannot be totally avoided is ‘constant’ but a meaningful methodology or negotiation prowess determines its grip.   

Government policies, political leanings, organisational structure and family values/culture are all potent areas where conflict can emerge. There is yet any government which the citizens totally agree with leadership. It’s either there is a problem that the government is spending tax payers money recklessly or there is nothing at all to show for the huge income accruing thereby.

Others are accused of embezzlement while poor policies are considered an obvious leakage. An organisation trapped in the claws of mediocrity on one side and flare for excellence on the opposite will continue to battle this conflicting pull.

People would have thought that when two adults agree to settle down together in an intimate relationship; their love for each other should be strong enough to automatically eliminate conflict but fortunately/unfortunately, this is not always the case- Conflict is found in ‘love’ too.

As emotional creatures, conflict help us to….

• Understand the people we are dealing with more.

• Exposes the weakness of your loved one so you can learn how to better relate with them.

• Leads you to see their strength; you appreciate and respect them more for the lovely qualities they possess.

• The real character of a person comes out when stirred in conflict; what more can you ask for if not to know your spouse deeply.

• Conflict reveals the depth of knowledge, expertise, skills and experience your loved one would have garnered in the journey of life. The way they handle issues is anchored on what they have gotten out of life.

A whole lot have been said about types of conflict and resolution in another forum but the bottom line is that when you pursue ‘Solution’ instead of ‘Selfish victory’, the aftermath of conflict is felt and appreciated in a positive way. Conflict comes to test your ability to adjust, accommodate and consider other people; the process might not be told but the final result is in most cases felt, seen and shared by many. If your relationship cannot manage conflict; it cannot survive for too long.

…….Continues next time