Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

2 Physical Reasons Not to Avoid Conflict

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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

Advertisement

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

Is Avoiding Conflict a Bad Idea?
Mary and Bill are arguing again. Mary hates how she feels when conflict happens. She wants to retreat, run or hide, or simply  avoid. Too often, she chooses to avoid, but is this a good idea? For the most part, NO, at least when we are ...

posted 7:00:19am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

How God Helps With Relationship Insecurity
Like many people, you may have been hurt in a relationship because of trust violations. Or maybe growing up, you couldn't trust those around you to keep their word or treat you kindly. As a result, you struggle with insecurity. Don’t despair. ...

posted 7:00:53am Feb. 10, 2016 | read full post »

The Warning Signs of Family Stress
The Jones family has been under a great deal of stress lately. Dad's corporation is downsizing and jobs may be eliminated. Mr. Jones could be one of those jobs. Mrs. Jones' mother passed away suddenly, leaving a deep vacuum of support and help. ...

posted 7:00:19am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

A Super Bowl Outcome You May Not Like
Super Bowl week! Yes, we are obsessed with the game. And part of that obsession includes our Super Bowl menu. But what if I told you that your menu and eating habits are influenced by the game. Super Bowl  has an eating outcome you may not ...

posted 7:00:32am Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

Conflict? Who Should Make the First Move?
Hannah hadn't spoken to her mother for a month and the tension between them could be cut with a knife. It was Saturday morning and Hannah was contemplating picking up the phone and making a call. She wanted to resolve the problem. But here ...

posted 7:00:31am Feb. 03, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.