Let's start caring for your emotions!
Tune in and join me as I chat about how to understand and manage your emotions.
I'm an emotional health mentor, edu-preneur and coach who loves teaching you how to understand, manage and embrace your emotions.
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Hey there. One of the things I found super difficult was managing my feelings during a conflict. But since I’ve practiced on improving it, it’s gotten a lot smoother for me. So today I want to share with you 4 ways to manage your emotions during conflict.
First of all, I want to share with you the first time I remember my emotions being a problem during a conflict.
I was driving with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. And he brought something up that was bothering him (I can’t remember what it was). He was very clear and told me exactly how he felt.
And I FROZE.
Honestly, up until that point I had never been in a healthy relationship before, so I had no clue how to deal with my emotions during a conflict.
I remember gripping the steering wheel and probably clenching my butt because I was so tense.
After sitting there in silence, he was expecting a response. Then he said, “I want to hear what you think!”
Well, that was another first. No one had ever actually verbalized that to me, the fact that he cared what I wanted to think. He wasn’t attacking me. Actually, he wanted to have a conversation and clear things up.
So, I responded. And it didn’t just spill out of me, it was more like pulling teeth.
Since then, I’ve gotten better and better at managing conflict. I was so uncomfortable with it, and I really disliked how I felt. I never wanted to feel frozen again, especially with the person I loved.
Also, when you’ve been with someone for a long time it gets easier (that was 4 years ago now). And it feels so much better to have conflict than it did back then. So, I want to share what I do that makes it better for me.
However, even though I shared an example from my personal life, you could still apply these tips to other relationships too.
Without further ado, here are my tips for how you can manage your emotions during conflict.
First of all, if you’re uncomfortable during conflict, that probably means that you feel threatened, which signals that your body is in flight or fight mode.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Sometimes I feel the same way during conflict!
Maybe you’re afraid to lose the loved one you’re in conflict with. Or maybe if it’s a work situation you might be afraid to lose your job. Either way, some part of you feels that it isn’t safe to enter into this conversation.
So, when this happens it’s important to reassure yourself. And chances are that you’re not in any true physical danger (if you are in physical danger, click here if you’re in Canada, and click here if you’re in the US).
But if you’re actually safe, it’s time to reassure yourself that conflict can be safe.
What I do is actually remind myself in my head that I’m safe. Here are a few thoughts you can remind yourself with:
And if you feel yourself getting tense again, keep reassuring yourself throughout the entire conversation.
Once you’ve entered the conversation, you’ll inevitably have different emotions come up, which is normal and healthy.
But it can be uncomfortable if your emotions come up quickly or in an intense way. The important thing to remember is that they’re there to help you, so listen to them!
On the other hand, don’t instantly react to them.
For example, if the other person says something that makes you angry, then maybe you’ll feel tense in your stomach.
Instead of screaming back at them, you could think to yourself, what they said really makes me angry. Why?
Taking the time to reflect on what the emotion is telling you will help slow down the intensity of the moment.
Here are a couple of things you can thing to yourself during conflict to help process the emotions:
If you can take a tiny moment to hear your emotions without reacting to them, it’ll help the conversation go much smoother.
Another thing that I find very helpful during a confrontational conversation is remembering why I’m having it in the first place.
And it always stems from the fact that I value the relationship in some way and want to use this conversation to improve it in the long run.
So, instead of having a yelling match or a “winner,” I remember the goal: this conversation is here for greater peace.
When I think that, it helps me calm down a lot. Because, at the end of the day, no one really wants to fight. But conflict and disagreements are just a part of life.
If I’m feeling too intense or find myself wanting to “win” an argument, I remind myself that the relationship is bigger than the current moment.
I’m here to improve the relationship, not win an argument.
If you remind yourself of the bigger goal throughout the conversation, it will help you feel calmer and more confident in your ability to be in the conversation.
Finally, after the conversation is done it’s time to do some reflecting. If conflict stresses you out, it’s time to think about where that stress comes from.
Here are a few thoughts you could think about or journal on:
It’s key to reflect on the conversation because that’s how you’ll get better over time.
Additionally, I’ve found it very helpful to think about how I was taught to have conflict and what I took away from that.
For example, my parents always went behind a closed door to have an argument. So, I never really learned how adults had disagreements. And that really affected me in my personal relationships.
So, it’s important to look back at how your parents had conflict. Here are a few thoughts for that:
Knowing where you learned your conflict style from can help you improve your own today. So, take the time to look and what your parents taught you about conflict.
Well, those are my tips for today! Hopefully, this was helpful to you. I know that conflict can be crazy uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean you have to freeze or avoid it. If I, a woman from Utah who was taught to never speak her truth and always listen to a man, can learn to feel safe during conflict, I know that you can too.
What are some ways that you manage your emotions during conflict? Tell me in the comments!
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