By Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –

Naturally high levels of conflict places additional stress on all relationships, yet this does not necessarily correlate to a disastrous end. Alternatively, for that matter, it may not impact one’s perceived level of happiness felt with an intimate partner and here is why.

Some relationships recover just great when conflict surfaces if they address the problem, while others even the slightest amount of conflict can have devastating ramifications. Worst, what can happen is an end to intimacy, and then ultimately, an end to the relationship. High levels of conflict can bring about what appears to be a difficult barrier to infiltrate leaving many with residual feelings of sadness, hostility, frustration, and resentments in their relationship for months or even years. If we are not happy in our intimate relationships this can have a significant influence over all other interpersonal relationships.

Since conflict is inevitable in every relationship, how we respond and recover is the most important dilemma to address impacting happiness when conflicts surface. If we individually seek to be more resilient, skills and strategies can be obtained in adulthood.

Geoff Watts recently published a content rich article titled “Why do some people never get Depressed?“ distinguishing within the research of resilience, what would prompt an individual to respond either negatively or positively to adverse conditions? Specifically, he wrote about why in the face of conflicts, adversity, some would become Depressed and others can rebound positively.

According to Dr. Rebecca Elliott, Psychologist, on the topic of resilience, she states if we were to measure individual resiliency levels we are all somewhere on a sliding scale with most of us being somewhere in the middle.

“At one end you have people who are very vulnerable. In the face of quite low stress, or none at all, they’ll develop a Mental Health problem.”

“At the other end, you have people who life has dealt a quite appalling hand with all sorts of stressful experiences, and yet they remain positive and optimistic.”

Resilience is defined as one’s capacity to recover following compressive stress, significant change or of being damaged, disfigured, or spoiled. Based on scientific research, the charge forward continues to seek answers to some of the more pressing questions [which remain unanswered] to include is resilience inherited, learned, or does it have a neurological location in the brains chemistry we can pinpoint for alternation.

I suspect we are closer than ever before in finding concrete answers since the World Health Organization had declared its worldwide importance as it relates to Mental Health. Meanwhile, understanding resilience is also as important as it applies to one’s capacity to be emotionally fit to withstand relationship stressors, or significant life changes like Divorce, unemployment, career changes.

In a practical sense, we can all agree resilience levels, once established, can be improved upon to alleviate their potentially negative impact on happiness levels felt. With this it would stand to reason, on average, we all fall somewhere in the middle of the measure of resiliency sliding scales and when choosing a mate we tend to match up with others more similar to us concerning level of differentiation than dissimilar so finding a common ground to discuss and resolve conflicts may be easier then one would expect.

If what you seek is to lessen conflicts’ impact on relationship happiness, it is important to address conflicts early and maintain a positive outlook by simply deciding in advance your efforts do stand a good chance of being successful. What typically gets in the way when discussing difficult conflicts in a relationship is the anxiety felt when broaching the topic. Or, negative road blocks we self impose. Personally, I enjoy referring to self-imposed roadblocks as an individual’s elaborate delay tactics.

To address conflict consider the following:
1. Communicate even if it seems anxiety provoking within reason. Learn to identify escalating behaviors leading to abuse.

2. Apply a heavy dose of honesty when giving voice to the problem. Describe the specific problem accurately.

3. Discuss how you individually would like to see the conflict resolved, and what you are willing to do to make it so. This will require each in the relationship to identify their role in the conflicts and accept some responsibility for it.

4. Remain positive and take action. Conflicts are resolved by taking action to communicate, and not by avoiding them. Avoiding conflict allows problems to spiral out of control.

5. Seek help early if warranted.

::::    Until Next Time: à Donf ::::

Tags: Relationships, Conflict, Interpersonal Relationship, Intimate Relationships, Relationship Dilemmas, Marriage, Divorce, Sex and Relationships