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Relationship Conflict: When Not to Talk!

Many of you know that I am all for difficult conversations; a big fan of the rupture and repair process that helps us as individuals, couples, and families to grow. But when is the wrong time to talk through issues? When is silence, or something else better?

There are most definitely times when conflict becomes too heightened to be able to deal with it. I like to think of it as a storm or tornado coming through, whilst the storm is present it is not the time to attempt clean up. Because in doing so we make no progress, and we likely suffer further injury. So instead, we need to stop, wait and stay safe, until the storm has passed, and then we can plan and execute the cleanup.

Relationship issues can be the same. Some issues, and some breaks, need time before we can launch into healing. This can be difficult, especially for the person who feels powerless in the decision to repair. Often the ‘wrongdoer’ want the problem resolved quickly and now, whilst the other party needs time to process and deal with it alone. This space can be difficult, and feel unsafe, but is often essential to the healing process.

Just because I love a great metaphor, you could also look at it like a broken leg. Sure we need to repair it, and rehabilitate it, for it to get back to working right. But first, it just needs to be broken. We need to rest it, sit still with the pain, knowing, and believing that one day it will be ready to heal.

So if difficult conversations are not working in your relationship at the moment, maybe allow time to just sit still. Find ways to show love without pressure for the future. If ongoing attempts to discuss issues just keep causing more pain, then reach out to a relationship counsellor for professional help. A facilitated discussion about difficult issues is often the missing link when problems just can’t be managed alone.