Coping with Past Conflicts

Men’s mental health topics- Coping with Past Conflicts

This men’s mental health topic provides some strategies to help you deal with unresolved conflict. Please review and seek professional help if required.

Conflict is never an easy thing to deal with, but unresolved, deeply rooted conflicts can really affect your body, mind and spirit and send you into a tailspin. When you allow a past conflict to stew and become a defining part of a relationship, it can be challenging to move forward. But it’s not impossible to resolve, it’s just a matter of taking the right conflict resolution approach.

Look at the Conflict with an Open Heart and Mind

Many times, a past conflict can be resolved by simply looking at it with a fresh, calm perspective with the passage of time. When you learn how to look at a past conflict without raising your blood pressure or losing sleep, you’ll be much more likely to find an amicable resolution. It can also be helpful to seek out an independent and objective third party, such as a men’s mental health life coach who can provide impartial guidance to assist you.

Look at the conflict objectively. 

If you get the opportunity to clear the air, then you should provided all parties are willing to do so. If one party isn’t then the chances of a successful resolution are remote. Assuming all parties are open to resolution, its important that you raise all the issues that have been on your mind and allow the other people to do likewise in a respectful manner. When all parties actively listen to the other person it opens the door to a successful outcome.

Remember to focus on the problem, not the person because personal attacks have never solved anything! If you’re having a difficult time communicating, a third-party can help mediate the discussion so that all parties are equally heard.

Look for common ground as a starting point. 

Look for common ground as a starting point. For example, if you and a sibling have been fighting over a parent’s estate, perhaps you were both trying to ensure that the estate was as fair and equally distributed. Moving forward from a place where you all agree often softens the outlooks of all parties which can lead to a successful resolution.

Brainstorm resolutions that everyone can agree on. 

Conflict usually occurs when one or both parties sense inequality, so get together and brainstorm ideas that will help you resolve the conflict. (It’s a good idea for each party to share their concerns as to what they perceive the inequalities to be so everyone knows where each is coming from). You may find that once everybody states their concerns, the conflict could simply be an issue of miscommunication issue. Further, the brainstorming of resolutions often allows each party to build on one another’s ideas which is a good thing. The goal is to come to a resolution that provides mutual gain.

Create standards and agreements based upon the agreed upon standards. 

By setting specific standards, everyone will be able to communicate in the most respectful and effective manner moving forward. All standards should be fair, equitable and respectful which will lay the foundation to a successful resolution. In addition, it will help to ensure that you don’t have the same obstacles coming up again in the future and that all agreed upon resolutions meet agreed upon standards.

Accept What You Cannot Change

We all hear that we should accept the things that we cannot change, but this is easier said than done. When it comes to past conflicts you should always seek to resolve them first. If you cannot, it’s time to accept the things that you cannot change, which is why it’s such an important men’s mental health topic.

To help, here are a few strategies to help you move forward with.

  • Give up control. When you give up trying to control everything the stress of dealing with the conflict can dissolve. You will feel like a mountain has been lifted off of your shoulders and you may find that you have a whole new look on life as well as the conflict and the person or people involved with it.
  • Share what you feel. When you are feeling angry, hurt or upset, try sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, a family member, or seek the help of a mental health life coach. The act of sharing your feelings openly and honestly helps to get it out of your mind and off your chest, which is often the starting point to finding peace within your heart, as well as opening the door to resolving the conflict.
  • Look for the positives. There are always positive things that come from every situation, even the bitterest of all conflicts. If you are always focusing on the negative and the ways the other person or people have mistreated you, all you’re doing is causing stress and pain, and opening the door to mental illness such as depression. It’s better to work towards resolution, and also realize the importance of communication, interpersonal relationships, or forgiveness.  When you can find something positive about a past situation, you’ll find that coping with conflict is much easier.
  • Focus on forgiveness. When you focus on forgiveness, the pain associated with conflict disappears. Easier said than done I know but holding onto resentment and not forgiving someone only hurts you in the long run. We all make mistakes and when you realize that we live in an imperfect world it’ll be easier to let go of the hurt and anger associated with the conflict.

Past conflict is a common men’s mental health topic I encounter when working with clients. Experience has also taught the importance of trying to resolve it as it’s an important step we must take to live with the balance, wellbeing, and success we all deserve.