web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Part 18 – Conflict Resolution


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

No matter how couples try to make sure everything in their lives is perfect, at some point they may experience conflict in their marriage. Conflict is not as dramatic as it sounds. In marriage, independent of how much you love someone, you may have differing ideas about money or education, preferences, or various special activities you both want to do. Learning how to resolve these differences, appropriately, can avoid prolonged or destructive anger and hostility. Conflict resolution skills include cultivating the right attitude, as well as learning interpersonal techniques.

To begin with, most arguments, on some level, stem from misunderstanding. One spouse might perceive the other’s action, inaction, or words as being unreasonable and inappropriate in a given circumstance. People are quick to take their positions and justify their stands rather than to try to understand the other party. Added to this problem of misunderstanding are feelings of pride where people put up a bold front and avoid giving in to their spouse. In some marriages, a small war might rage for days before the conflict is resolved and in between, tension and unhappiness builds.

Take Rachel 27, and David, 28 who came to speak to me about a fight they were having over how to handle their 8-year-old son, Yosef. Yosef was by all means a rambunctious third-grader who kept his teacher and parents hopping on their toes day and night. Rachel, who had two other young children at home, was feeling overwhelmed dealing with them and Yosef’s ADD-like behavior. She was also upset that her husband, David, came home late from work and wasn’t pulling his weight around the house. The home-related stress was causing conflict and Rachel and David were unable to resolve their problems peacefully.

Understanding Differences in Communication

It is true that many couples like Rachel and David face similar stress-filled situations yet are able to maintain a positive relationship. The difference between Rachel and David and others, is the way they argue and the defensive styles of communication they maintain. Rachel, for example, tends to be very assertive. She’s quick to blame David for the stress she’s feeling at home and berates him from the second he enters the door until the minute they go to sleep. David on the other hand, is an “avoider” who shies away from conflict. He has more of an happy-go-lucky personality and hushes up like an obedient puppy when his wife yells at him. Together, the mixture of Rachel’s competitive style and David’s avoidance of conflict has created a relationship that was low on trust and high on negative feelings.

One way of for Rachel and David to deal with their conflict is through them becoming aware of their negative styles of communication. According to family therapists there are several key styles of communication that people develop: competitive, avoidant, and compromising.

 

 

Competitive Style

When a person uses a competitive style, they tend to be very assertive and interested in getting their own way. They also approach the conflict in a forceful manner without being interested in cooperating with other people, and view their relationship from a win/lose perspective.

People use the competitive style when an issue is very important to them, or when the person has the authority to make the decision, and it seems clear that this is the one best way. They can also become competitive when decisions have to be made fast and the person has power the to make it, as the following dialogue shows:

Moshe (irritated): You didn’t turn off the lights in the bathroom when you were finished. How many times do I have to remind you? Shani (sarcastic tone): Why do you have to make such a big deal about a few cents worth of electricity? Moshe (harshly): Because you’re irresponsible about money, that’s why! Shani (reacting): Maybe you’d save more money if I just moved out.

When someone is competitive, they look upon a family discussion or disagreement as being sort of like a debate or contest.

In a contest, it’s natural for humans to want to score more points than their opponent.

When spouses seek to score points against one another, a family discussion quickly degenerates into a win/lose competition. As disagreement heats up, spouses begin using increasingly abusive comments to “score points.”

Usually these hurtful words do not express what the two spouses really feel about each other.

They’re just caught up in the heat of competition. When the dust settles both spouses wonder how the mess got started in the first place and wish they could take back the words they said. Unfortunately, the “winner” settles down in a cloud of gloom and thinks, “Boy, I won that one! Soooo… how come I feel so bad?”

Avoidant Style

This approach happens when a person does not assert himself, doesn’t know how to cooperate or wants to avoid conflict entirely. Although this can temporarily be a good approach to use if one is dealing with a difficult person, in the long run, it leaves issues unresolved and can linger on far beyond the event. Avoidance can mean to others that a person is ‘running away’ from them and they feel they can take advantage of the situation. Their inner message is that they need to maintain a lose/win attitude to survive.

The avoider on the outside may seem to give in, but at the same time, they can build considerable resentment towards their spouse for denying their feelings and agreeing to things they feel are wrong or hurtful.

When one partner always retreats from difficult discussions, the other partner pushes even harder to achieve a resolution. As the pusher pushes harder, the retreater retreats further. Eventually the distance between spouses can become an uncrossable chasm.

Next week, Part 19 – The Compromising Style of Communication

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of a “First Aid for Jewish Marriages: Eight Steps To Enhancing the Most Important Relationship in Your Life.” For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Part 18 – Conflict Resolution”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Canadian policeman at scene of terrorist attack in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Terror: US Pledges Support for Canada but Tells Israel to Stay Calm
Latest Sections Stories

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/part-18-conflict-resolution/2009/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: