Thanks for listening to Take Out Therapy, where you can improve your mental health, emotional stability, and life skills in less than 20 minutes a week. Simple, straightforward, authentic advice and education, right from a private practice therapist and anxiety expert. I'm Rebecca Hunter, and this is Better Mental Health, delivered.
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Well, hello there, friend. I'm so happy you're here with me today to talk about conflict. What? No one wants to talk about conflict.
We sure as heck don't want to do conflict. You know, this episode is really important because conflict is part of existing, as far as I can tell. So I want to teach you why conflict is not all bad, and how you could maybe change your thinking about it so you can get the benefit out of conflict, because yes, my friend, there is absolutely a benefit to conflict that we have in our lives.
See, here's the thing. Many of us were raised in environments where conflict was not exactly, well, we'll just start with safe. Either it was avoided, or it was a super big deal, or somewhere in between.
But we get our ideas about conflict while we're growing up. And at some point in the personal growth process, we have to look at this, because it's really disempowering to avoid conflict, which is what we do, right? Raise your hand if you like conflict. Yeah, you know what we really like? What most people really long for is for other people to be happy with us, for us to be accepted and feel belonging.
And so we don't often speak up when we ought to, because we don't really want to cause conflict. We go around the horn. You know, it's kind of a setup, because while that makes us comfortable in the moment, or in a relationship, when we don't speak up, then we're sort of swallowing whatever's going on for us.
And it can cause anxiety, it can cause depression. It's just like this total lack of being validated and getting validation. Being in relationship, where we sort of engage with each other in a way that's very connecting.
So let's talk about conflict today. I want to give you three ways to just like change your maybe mindset, maybe behavior. I'll let you decide about conflict.
Because I think there's some really important things that kind of start this journey off. So many people come in for sessions that are trying to get skills around dealing with conflict. Because again, like, look around you.
All the other people have problems. None of us, we don't have problems. Right? We don't want to cause problems.
We don't want to be the to deal with more problems than are already in life. So let me give you some ways to approach conflict differently. So that you can get empowered by it, gain some emotional safety and frankly, get to know the people that you're in relationships better because there's nothing better than a good old fashioned fight to find out something about someone, right? So here are some things to remember.
Number one, not all conflict is unsafe. You know, within personal growth work, the whole point of it is to stumble upon the next thing. Okay.
And I know sometimes it's kind of annoying because here we are, we're like doing good. We're making all these changes and we feel super good about it. And then we're like, slam up against something that is just so difficult.
And conflict tends to be one of those things. Conflict is quite a trigger for many people, again, based on probably childhood, maybe past relationships. Because whether you grew up in a home where people actually didn't have conflict and you could feel the tension, right? Because there's always conflict.
But perhaps as a kid, we just, we feel a lot when we're kids. And so typically kids can feel like the vibe, for lack of a better way to put it. They kind of know when something's off.
And so many of us grew up in homes where we kind of knew something was off, but it wasn't really getting talked about. And so that was just something that we learned combined with perhaps someone who didn't always seem safe in conflict or situations that were full-on unsafe, that were conflict. The thing is, is that many people grew up in situations that didn't exactly teach us to go towards conflict.
These situations taught us to avoid conflict. So here is the software update. When you're in relationships with emotionally mature people, not all conflict is unsafe.
And actually, if you're willing to be emotionally mature and kind of take accountability for your part in things, you can work really hard to make conflict emotionally safe, physically and emotionally safe. Now, that being said, I'm not talking about interpersonally violent relationships. That is a whole other can of wax, isn't it? But many of us have had those kinds of relationships and that's how we learned about conflict and love, right? Did you guys ever have those unstable relationships in your early relationship experiences? I did.
Absolutely. And also, you wouldn't have wanted to mess with me, if you know what I mean, because I would go ham on people. I don't do it anymore.
That was part of my healing journey around conflict. You know, the second thing is that, so the first thing is not all conflict is unsafe. It's a trigger to heal.
Okay. The second thing is conflict is great information. Seriously, conflict is such good information about the other person, about the situation, about the culture, about our needs in relationships or interactions.
We learn things about what other people like and do not like, thank you very much, in conflict, don't we? We try to tell people, understand where we're coming from in conflict. And so that leads me to the third thing, which it's good practice being empowered. To be able to do conflict is a very empowered thing, because it's not easy.
And again, we didn't learn the skills. This is not stuff that is typically taught. Well, frankly, it wasn't taught to me.
Was it taught to you? That's the question. Okay. So healthy conflict, we can teach each other about ourselves and we can learn about each other when we're curious, when we understand that not all conflict is unsafe and conflict is great information.
It becomes being super empowering in relationship, which means you stop kind of people pleasing and start just like asking for what you need, which most of the time people are like, oh, yeah, no problem. I really love you. I don't want you to be unhappy with me.
I'll try to hang up my towel more often, like whatever, right? Whatever it might be. Probably the towel wasn't a great example. I mean, maybe there's more important conflict, right? But here's the deal.
Safe, healthy conflict is how we heal this wound, actually. Teaching somebody and learning with somebody or many somebodies, like just being a person that embodies safe and healthy conflict is how you can heal some of the crap from the past. Some of the, like, quote, unquote, failed teachings, I guess, right? Because we don't necessarily share our parents' or our caregivers' values or our past relationship even values about conflict.
We grow out of certain things. We grow into other ways of being. So it's super important that we just kind of update the conflict software.
Yeah, and the way we do that is to engage in safe and healthy conflict. It doesn't say anything about the people that we are in relationship with. So sometimes what that what happens when we start engaging in conflict differently is people ask questions about that.
And I always say, just say what the work is that you're doing. Just say, like, you know what? I don't feel good about our conflict. I'm going to try to do some things differently within conflict.
And you let me know what you think about that. Right? I mean, it's like that sometimes that simple. I'm just going to start being a little bit more forthright and knowing that we'll be able to work through whatever's going to happen next.
Right? Because not all conflict is unsafe. Conflict is great information about the person across from you. It's really good empowerment practice, conflict.
And it's how we heal the wounds and the stories that we had before about conflict. And guess what happens then? We get to know the people in our lives better. We get to feel emotionally safe, to be honest.
Like I used to be really afraid of conflict. And it led to me being resentful because I was like doing everything. But I felt like, well, I don't want to bring this up because it's going to be a conflict.
And I'm really tired and I don't have time for conflict because I had already decided how the whole thing was going to go down. Right? So once I brought these things up, it was like, oh. Okay, so this is just something that we have to work through.
Oh, okay. And as long as we keep doing this work, as long as we keep just noticing, not criticizing, but just notice where our gaps are around conflict, then we can just start to get emotional safety going with it. Do it in ways that feel to us like emotionally safe.
This is a skill set. In Take Out Therapy Club this month, I'm actually diving into conflict. We are talking about like, well, how do you specifically heal the trigger of conflict? Well, you got to do it well.
So I'm teaching people what to focus on within the conflict, how to spot and deal with our own and other people's red flags. Yes, we all have them and many other helpful pieces of information that will help us to dig further into conflict. So if you want to do that, come join the club.
The code is LISTEN24. Most importantly, when you think about conflict, a nice way to kind of shift things is that you have to go through life having a voice. Like, period, game over.
You have a heart, you have a mind, you have a nervous system, and my friend, you have a voice. And it is totally appropriate if you have to go through this process where somebody actually doesn't want to hear your voice before they can actually hear it. That to me feels like all that conflict is.
And if that's all it is, we could totally do that. I hope this was helpful for you today. I hope to see you again soon.
I'll be back next week with another lesson from Take Out Therapy Club. Attention podcast listeners, your mental health upgrade has finally arrived. I'm gifting new members a 30-day free trial to the Take Out Therapy Club, your bite-sized path to well-being.
Picture this, monthly therapist-led workshops tackling real-life struggles, bonus coaching sessions, and a supportive community for zero-judgment high-fives. It's your personal toolkit for thriving, delivered straight to your device. Ready to unlock your best self? Just enter the code LISTEN24 at takeouttherapy.com. That's it.
I even put an easy link below. Your free trial starts now. Investing in your mental health is the very fastest way to peace, and Take Out Therapy Club makes it easy and affordable.
Let's start growing together with that code, LISTEN24. This is better mental health delivered. Thanks so much for joining me today.
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