All relationships have conflict, so you can either avoid it or learn from it. Do you believe there should be no conflict – just easy and smooth sailing? This will never lead to intimacy. Discover the two healthy choices that lead to connection, resolution, and intimacy.
Hi everyone, dr. Margaret Paul here with the inner bonding podcast. So today I’d like to talk about relationships and particularly conflict in relationships. I’m discovered that there’s just too healthy choices in conflict. And that’s what I like to talk about. It’s important to understand that all relationships have conflict. It that’s not the problem.
The problem is how do you deal with it? You can either avoid it, or you can use your conflicts to learn about yourself and learn about the other person. If you believe that there shouldn’t be any conflict, that relationships should just be easy and smooth sailing. You might want to explore what you’re avoiding because it’s just, it’s not possible for two people to be together and not have differences, not have conflict. That doesn’t mean that it has to be fighting.
It, it doesn’t, although often it is, but there is going to be conflict. So it’s really, really important in any relationship for any relationship to grow and evolve and, and have true intimacy that people learn how to deal with conflict in healthy ways. So think about what do you usually do in conflict? Do you get angry? Do you argue? Do you have to always be right?
And do you have a fear of being wrong? Do you defend and explain and resist being controlled by somebody? Do you withdraw or do you comply and give yourself up? Sometimes people say, well, well, what’s wrong with explaining, and there’s nothing wrong with explaining if the other person really wants to understand. But generally when there’s conflict between two people, people are in their ego, wounded selves. And when you’re in that state, you, you don’t, you’re not in your logical mind.
You just want to win or you don’t want to lose. You want to be right, or you don’t want to be wrong. And so you’re not interested in hearing the other person’s explanations. They’re not interested in hearing yours when they’re in their wound itself. And if you’re trying to explain to somebody who isn’t interested and hasn’t asked you, then you’re also operating from your ego wound itself, and then you’re gonna feel bad. You’re explaining you’re defending. They’re not listening.
They don’t care. And it’s going, you’re going to feel worse when that’s what’s going on. And so think about what happens when you’re arguing, when you’re being angry, when you’re giving yourself up, what, what happens in the, usually there’s either some kind of escalation of the conflict gets worse. You end up saying things that you don’t mean, or you just shut down.
You withdraw, you go away and there’s all this distance and no connection. And it feels awful. So it’s important to understand that when that’s happening, like I said, people go into their lower brain. The fight or flight mechanism gets activated because the, the wound itself is saying, Oh, danger, danger. We have to be careful. We have to fight, or we have to withdraw. We have to be right. We can’t be wrong. And it’s just vitally important to understand that you cannot hear each other when you’re in that state.
There, there’s no point in trying to resolve a conflict when one or both of you are stuck in a fight or flight wounded mechanism. Now there’s nothing wrong with fight or flight. If you’re being attacked by a mountain lion, for example, or a mugger, but most people do go into fight or flight when there’s conflict. And this is what creates a big problem. Because as I said in that lower brain, you, you can’t hear each other.
You don’t want to hear each other. You’re just, you’re, it’s like survival mode. And you just, you just want to be right. You don’t want to be wrong. You don’t want to be guilted or shamed. So you’re going to do anything you can regarding fighting, explaining, defending, or shutting down, withdrawing, or giving yourself up and going along or even apologizing when you don’t think that you’ve done anything wrong in order to try to avoid the conflict.
And this is what people do when they’re conflict avoidant, they’ll, they’ll either just withdraw or they’ll give themselves up. And, and they both feel terrible and they both erode intimacy. So I want to talk about the two healthy choices in conflict. One is the intention to learn. And those of you that are familiar with inner bonding, understand that it means that you want to learn about yourself. Primarily you’re, you’re open to learning about what you’re doing, what you’re feeling, why you feel the way you do, why you want what you want.
And you’re also in a partnership open to learning about the other person’s point of view. You, you understand that both of you have very good reasons for believing the way you do for feeling the way you do for wanting what you want. And when you each want to learn about and understand how you each feel and how the other person feels, that’s when new information is going to be coming in.
And that’s what leads to resolution. It’s. It’s so fascinating to me. When I work with clients, some of whom had the same argument over and over and over again sometimes for years. But when they open to learning, they find that the conflict gets resolved fairly easily. When they’re open to understanding their own points of view, their own reasons, their own feelings, as well as the other, person’s the other person.
It it’s amazing what happens when two people are truly open to learning so much learning happens in that, that, that then, as I said, leads to resolution and at least to closeness, at least to intimacy when, when each person really wants to understand themselves and the other person that’s, when they feel close, that that’s when the love can flow between them, especially when they can feel compassion for themselves and for each other.
That’s, that’s just so magical when people are open to learning in a compassionate way, because they, they really want their own highest good and the highest good of the other person. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about supporting themselves and supporting the other person in what’s in the highest good of both of you. Now, I want to caution you because the wound itself can get very tricky when it comes to being open to learning the wound itself, health can mask as open.
For example, when I first started to do inner bonding, and at that time I was in my long marriage and my husband would tend to withdraw. And I would feel very badly because I was, I was a caretaker. I was making him responsible for whether or not I was okay. And so when he disconnected, I would feel pretty lost. And so I would, I would approach him with what I thought was an intention to learn.
And I would say, you know, honey, you seem withdrawn. There must be a very good reason. I’d really like to understand, but I wasn’t really open. I was coming from a needy place. And my hope was that if I approached him that way, that he would reconnect. So I had an agenda and anytime we have an agenda, when we think we’re open to learning, we’re not really open to learning because the loving adult, the part of us that’s, that’s in our heart, that’s that supporting our own.
And each other’s highest good. That’s open to our higher wisdom. We don’t have an agenda other, other than love, other than learning other than growth, but it’s not an agenda for the other person that they have to change. So what would happen is I would approach him with what I thought was an intention to learn. Of course, he would pick up that. I was trying to control him by being overly nice and by acting open and he would not open.
And then, because he didn’t do what I wanted him to do, I would get angry and upset. And of course, that’s, that’s the red flag that lets you know, that you’re not really open that you have an agenda. Anytime you approach somebody with a request and they say no, and then you get mad. It wasn’t a request. And was it demand? And you weren’t really open a request means that somebody can say no to you. And you’re fine because you’re taking care of yourself. But if you’re not, if you’re abandoning yourself as I was at that time and making him responsible for whether or not I was okay, then of course, you’re going to have an agenda that that person do what you want them to do.
So then I would get angry and upset and say, well, I’m open and you’re closed. Well, of course I wasn’t open. If I was open, I wouldn’t have been acting that way. And if I was open, I wouldn’t have had an agenda. So it’s kind of tricky. You have to be very sure when you approach somebody with an intention to learn that, that you just want to learn, that you don’t have any agenda for what’s supposed to happen with that person. And it’s not always easy to let go of the agenda that, you know, like I said, the wound itself is tricky and it just wants to control.
It always has an agenda. So it’s really important when you approach somebody with an intention to learn, to be very honest with yourself, about what you really want. Do you just want to connect and learn and grow? And you’re okay if they don’t, you’re going to respect that or you’re not going to be okay if they don’t join you. So now let’s talk about the other healthy choice in conflict.
Let’s say that you do approach the person or your partner, whoever with an intention to learn and they’re not available, or, you know, from past experience that this person isn’t open to learning that, that if you say, well, you know, let’s talk, let’s explore that that person is going to say something like, Oh, don’t give me that psychobabble. That’s just your inner bonding stuff. You know, I’m not interested then you know that they’re not open to learning. So here’s the other healthy response in conflict.
And it’s what I call lovingly disengaging. This means that you imagine that you’re taking your inner child. You’re feeling self by the hand and you’re just walking from the conflict. It’s not that you’re withdrawing that that’s completely different. The wound itself withdraws and the energy of withdrawal is anger hurt. I’m gonna, I’m gonna withdraw. I’m going to show you, you, you can’t treat me this way.
I’m going to punish you by withdrawing. My love. That’s not what lovingly disengaging is all about. It’s about focusing on taking care of you. Like let’s imagine you have an actual child and somebody is angry at the child, the blaming the child, and you don’t want the child to be hearing that. So you say to the person, you know, it’s, it’s not, I’m not, I’m not available to have my child treated this way and you take your child by the hand and you go away. Well, it’s the same thing on the inner level.
You don’t want to hear anger and blame. It’s not good for you to be hearing somebody attacking you. And so basically you’re, you’re taking yourself, you’re taking your inner child by the hand and you might say, you know, I’m just going to go in the other room or I’m going to go take a walk. Cause we’re not going to get anywhere here. And I’ll check in with you in 15 minutes or a half an hour or whatever. So it’s not a withdrawal. You’re not withdrawing your love. You’re letting the other person know. I mean, you mind me and say, look, I love you, but I know this is going to escalate.
And so I’m just going to take a time out. And, and it’s really helpful. If in a partnership, you have an agreement that if you get into a blaming situation, that if one person says, let’s take a time out, that the other person honors that, and doesn’t go chasing after you. Because people often say to me, well, what happens if I disengage? My partner just comes chasing after me and saying things like, well, don’t walk away. You always walk away, stay here.
We gotta deal with this. You’re not going to deal with it. And, and I call that th that your partner’s baiting you. It’s like, it’s like throwing out a fishing line with a hook. And your partner’s hoping to hook you in because lots of times in conflict, the person who wants you to continue is in some way, getting fed by the energy of the conflict. And that’s not good for either of you. So you don’t want to take the bait of somebody saying, well, well, you don’t love me or don’t walk away or you always do this or things like that.
And if they keep at you, you might need to leave the house. You might need to get in the car and, and say, kindly honey, I’ll be back in a half an hour, but I don’t want to. I’m I’m just not willing to be treated this way and, and get yourself out of there. Sometimes that is what we have to do if there’s not an agreement to lovingly disengage. So let’s say you have an agreement. You lovingly disengage. Now what, what you do now is you do your own inner work.
You do an inner bonding process. And that’s why I suggest everybody. If you haven’t learned and, and aren’t practicing inner bonding, please go to our website at dot com and download our free seven day course and start learning the inner bonding process. Because at this point, once you’ve lovingly disengaged, you’ve got feelings going on inside. You’ve got some pain and what’s happening. You might have fear, anxiety, and you want to be taking responsibility for those feelings.
And so what you need to be doing once you lovingly disengage is you need to go in and do your own inner bonding process until you feel really open until you’ve explored your end of the conflict until you understand the beliefs, the false beliefs you’re coming from in your ego wound itself, until you feel peaceful inside. Once you feel peaceful and open, then you can go back to your partner.
And one of the best things to do, if your partner has also honored the timeout, and if your partner is also doing in her body, which is great, is to come together and share your own awarenesses. You’re you’re not coming together again with an agenda to get your partner, to see your point of view. Cause then you’re just going to get right back into the same dynamic. You’re coming to share your own, understanding your own awareness as what you realized that you were doing from your wound itself.
And if your partner is willing to do the same, that also creates so much intimacy. When, when each person is taking responsibility for their own end of the conflict, and everybody’s got their own end in one way or another. And when you’re taking responsibility for your own end of the conflict, and you’re sharing that with your partner, boy, that that creates such a flow of love and intimacy. And then in that environment, you can open to learning about the conflict and you will find if you’re both really open again, like I said, if both of you were open to learning, you’re going to find it quite easy to resolve the conflict.
And again, there will be new learning that will bring you closer. Now, what if you have disengaged and you’re in a good place and you want to come back and you want to share and you want to resolve, but your partner won’t open up. They’re not available. And of course this does happen. We don’t have control over somebody else’s intention. We don’t have control over whether or not that other person ever opens.
So when this is the case, you need to resolve the conflict on your own, which means you need to decide what you’re going to doing, what you’re going to be doing. That’s loving to yourself about this conflict. Of course, it’s not ideal. And we always wish that we could resolve it with a partner, but sometimes we can’t and we have to accept that we have to accept our lack of control over another person. So that’s when you need to again, go inside, do your own inner bonding work and explore what would be loving to you.
And this is where you need to learn to connect with your higher wisdom. And this is of course, part of what we teach in inner bonding, that when you’re open to learning about loving yourself, and when you’re keeping your body clean with healthy foods, you can raise your frequency high enough to access your higher guidance and access information about what would be loving to you in resolving this conflict on your own.
At some point you might want to say to your partner, well, this is what I’m going to do or not. You can just do it. If that’s what’s most loving to you. Now, you might be coming up against a situation where your partner never opens about anything. Now, if this is the case, you might want to reconsider the relationship because there’s no way to resolve conflict. Unless at some point, both people are open to learning or you just accept.
If you’re ready to cut your losses, not have a close, intimate relationship, settle for what you have, don’t expect any openness or learning and just keep on taking care of yourself. There may be other reasons why you might not want to leave. It may have to do with children or finances or fear of being alone. If it’s a fear of being alone, then of course, that’s something you want to be exploring because it’s really important in any relationship for us to learn how to take loving care of ourselves so that we don’t have that fear.
But you need to accept that if somebody’s never opens to learning, there’s nothing you can do about that. You cannot have control over that. So you need to go inside and say, what’s loving to me. Is it loving to me to just accept this and take care of myself in the face of it? Or is it loving to me to reconsider whether or not this is the right relationship for me? So I really encourage you once again, to go to inner bonding.com. There is so much information on the website, free information for those of you that don’t have funds for any of the courses.
There’s wonderful courses. My relationship cores wildly, deeply joyously and love is an incredible course that has been helpful to so many couples, the love yourself course, which is so helpful in learning to love yourself and share your love with others. Many other courses, many other ways of learning, inner bonding, many books. So I really encourage you if you’re not practicing inner bonding, go to the inner bonding website and learn the inner bonding process blessings to all of you.