At a recent meeting I attended there was a very insightful speaker. When it was time for sharing amongst the group the topic chosen was conflict. Specifically, do you avoid conflict or do you engage in conflict? We discussed the effects of each. If you look at the dictionary definition: ‘a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles or people’ then you may realize that this is part of life. Conflict serves a purpose which is to discuss differing views which is necessary in many situations.
When we discussed conflict avoidance there were many examples of how avoiding conflict is very harmful. In the instance of having a loved one struggling with addiction confronting a situation while the person is high on drugs, it can actually become dangerous. Yet in many cases where we are avoiding conflict, we are actually not affectively creating boundaries within our homes or lives. If you have a child who is bringing friends over that are using drugs and you don’t confront the situation, it could get really out of hand. You could become liable for things they are doing, it could create a bad example for other siblings in the house, you could begin to find things missing, and the list is endless. The conflict of confronting the situation could be very uncomfortable but the outcome of having healthy boundaries and rules to be followed is so important.
On the other hand, there are some people who welcome conflict, even search out or create conflict. This can create a combustible situation with rippling effects. Many times when a situation gets out of hand, it isn’t that something does not need to be addressed, but how it is addressed. Coming together in a level headed way when both parties are able to listen and discuss is obviously critical.
I know from my own experience that when I put off standing up for something that I know needs to be addressed for fear of conflict, I always found that once I took action it worked out one way or another. I find that I am more aware of when I am hesitant and realize that it is disrespectful to me and others if I don’t take care of something that needs to be said. Conflict can be healthy when approached in a positive, open manner.