FIGHTS AND CONFLICTS occur in normal families all the time, except in the family where conflict is sweep not-so-neatly under the carpet. Of two broad familial designs for handling conflict – the direct form and the form of denial – only the latter has the opportunity to serve the family. Only by tackling the conflict is there a one-in-three chance that reconciliation can be experienced through forgiveness.
Sweeping the Messes into a Pile – The Family’s Trip Hazard
The family who stays in the safe way of negating the emotional content of life is the family that refuses to experience life. Sweeping their messes under the living room rug is one way of handling the conflicts that never more surely come up.
So without having the gumption to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes about in simply living with other human beings, the mess compounds. Messes never get neater if we continue to ignore them. They impact the lives in the family in many dysfunctional ways, including the methods of sticking the head in the sand, escapism, or violence for someone who criticises the ineffectual approach.
Sweeping messes of conflict into a pile under the floor runner creates an emotional trip hazard that every family member with encounter; most will avoid it like the plague, but inevitably someone unsuspecting will trip up and cause an explosive kafuffle.
A Better Way – Not Aggression, Not Continuing Submission… But
There is nothing perfect, ever, about family conflict management, but it does need to be grappled with – in honouring the truth. Denial gets us close to nowhere.
In tussling with a disagreement there will be the inevitable dance between aggression and submission. Neither aggression nor submission is the answer. Neither of these promotes forgiveness: aggression creates resistance in the one submitting.
The better way is adult assertiveness – in the mood of being rational, realistic, reliable, responsible, and logical. It only takes one person to act without emotion, looking to the other’s need as a way of modelling a way forward for both. Adult assertiveness paves the way for the space needed for forgiveness to initiate.
Forgiveness in family constructs is vital, because in all families there are fights – if issues are dealt with in truth. You can be the purveyor of forgiveness by knowing it’s impossible for someone to continue fighting you when you love them back. It takes only one person to start the process of reconciliation. Be blessed to be that one today.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
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