Resilience Tip - Relationships, Dealing with Conflict


Resilience is the ability to cope well with difficulties and to bounce back from setbacks. While some people are naturally more resilient than others, resiliency can also be intentionally developed.

Resilience in Relationships - Dealing with Conflict  

Conflict in relationships is inevitable, normal. Humans are bound to disagree on some things throughout their lives (or a lot of things!). The way we respond to these conflicts can be in a high resilient or low resilient way.  

An important factor here is whether we focus on the particular situation or issue, or whether we focus on the character of the other person. There are several advantages to focusing on the particular situation or issue. First, the communication regarding the disagreement is much clearer. For example: "It bothered me that you arrived late for our meeting, for me it was a sign of disrespect." This lets the other person know what upset you and why. If the focus had been on the character, for example: "You are so disrespectful!", the other person does not really know what created the disagreement nor do they know what behavior is desired instead. Secondly, focusing on a person's character is felt as an attack, and when we feel attacked we defend ourselves. A likely response to "You are so disrespectful"" is something like: "Well, you're not so perfect yourself!" Both people are now on the defensive, the actual source of the disagreement is unlikely to be addressed, and both people are likely to feel unhappy with the relationship and not necessarily understand why they are feeling bad.  

To increase your resilience in dealing with conflicts in relationships, work on staying focused on the particular situation or issue, and work on communicating your disagreement and desires as clearly as possible.    

Carolyn Tal, PhD

Psychologist and Consultant

Working with individuals and partners in developing resilience and related issues. , 052-825-8585