Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


2 Physical Reasons Not to Avoid Conflict

posted by Linda Mintle

A typical question I get asked is, “Why can’t I just avoid conflict? It makes me uncomfortable. If, for example, my mother is driving me crazy, can’t I just ignore her? Or, if I get too upset talking to my ex over visitation, can’t I just ignore him?” Questions like these can be answered by looking at the consequences of avoidance. Your physical health may be affected.

Obviously, you can choose to ignore conflict and make it through life. People do it all the time. For example, your mother-daughter relationship won’t fall apart if you ignore conflict with her once in a while. But a pattern of ignoring conflict can hurt relationships. Avoiding is not the best choice or a way to grow your relationships.  The “I don’t want to rock the boat” attitude may work in the short–term, but not in the long-term.

A number of studies point to physical problems when people choose to avoid conflict. One study noted that while people feel better avoiding at the time of the conflict, they don’t feel better the next day. In the study, physical symptoms and negative well-being were higher the day after the conflict in conflict avoiders than in people who confronted problems. In other words, the impact showed up after the fact.

In another study, researchers at the University of Michigan looked at conflict as it relates to longevity of life. They concluded that people who deal with conflict live longer. Specifically, they observed that when both partners in a couple relationship felt unfairly attacked and suppressed their anger at the other, they died earlier than couples who communicated their anger. In fact, having a good fight with your partner may keep your marriage alive. Keep in mind that out of control fighting is not recommended! That type of fighting ruins a relationship.

There is an exception, a time when avoiding conflict might be best. This involves confronting someone who can physically hurt you. When someone is so angry and cannot calm down, and you are at risk for a physical altercation or explosion, a time-out or break is recommended. You can’t deal with conflict, nor should you, when someone is physically threatening or unable to get control of his or her emotions. At those times, the parties involved need to wait until they are able to calm down and  until it is safe to confront.


 

 


Sources:

Birditt, K.S. (Oct 2010). Marital conflict behaviors and implications for divorce over 16 years. Journal of Marriage and Family. 72 (5), pp. 1188-1204

Marital Pair Anger Coping Types May Act as an Entity to Affect Mortality: Preliminary Findings from a Prospective Study (Tecumseh, Michigan, 1971-88). Ernest Harburg, Niko Kaciroti, Lillian Gleiberman, M. Anthony Schork and Mara Julius. Journal of Family Communication. Volume 8 (2008). doi: 10.1080 / 15267430701392172.

 



Previous Posts

Honey, Do Your Know Where My Glasses Are?
It's a running joke in our house. Where are mom's glasses? Mom, that would be me, is constantly putting them down and forgetting where they are! I don't think it is an aging thing because the misplaced glasses have been misplaced for years. Oh and this happens to my cell phone on a regular basis

posted 7:00:14am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

It's Tax Day But How Is Your Emotional Bank Account Doing?
Yes, today is tax day and many of you will make that last minute run for the post office before midnight! Why? Because you don't want to be penalized by the federal government. But what about your emotional bank account?  Do you need to make more deposits when it comes to your relationships? An

posted 7:00:26am Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Bully Targets Not Who You Think
A high school sophomore takes two kitchen knives to his school and goes on a stabbing frenzy in the hallway of his high school wounding 22 people. According to his lawyer,  he was well liked and not a loner. The typical bullied pattern of a loner, social awkward teen may not fit this time. Bully

posted 7:00:07am Apr. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Chew on This If You Chew on Gum
When that new flavor of gum hits the grocery store, its tempting. Watermelon sour, triple berry fruit...sounds like dessert in a stick, but what is the skinny on gum chewing? As a mom, I didn't let my kids chew gum, probably because I am not a gum chewer, so we never had gum in the house. But I k

posted 8:05:16am Apr. 11, 2014 | read full post »

#NOT TALKING TO YOU #FIGHTINGAGAIN: Tweeting Our Way to Conflict
TWEET: You didn't follow through on your promise today#madatyouagain TWEET: How about the way you responded #outofcontrol TWEET: No way. Call me @JohnSmith. I'm over Tim! TWEET: #overreacting. #outofcontrol and trying to blame me. I guess I eat out tonight! TWEET: Seriously, no dinner wi

posted 7:00:41am Apr. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.