Take a look at Darren Hart’s blog in America’s Premiere Experts newsletter where he discusses family conflict.
“My family is temperamental, half temper, half mental.” ~ anonymous~
We are all aware that conflict is unavoidable in life, and for many of us the words “family and conflict” tend to go hand in hand. You may have a disapproving parent who constantly points out your shortcomings. Perhaps it’s an overbearing sibling that can’t seem to view you as an equal with your own voice. We all have to deal with it; some of us are in a constant state of conflict. The good news is that there is nothing in life that provides as much opportunity for personal growth as conflict. I have come to learn that empowered conflict resolution is figuring out the relationship with yourself and having the confidence to say no, and living the life “you” choose on your own terms as opposed to people pleasing and living according to someone else’s rules and opinions. It is also taking responsibility for the conflict you may find yourself in. That’s right, you OWN IT! Once you realize this and understand fully the good fortune that has in fact come your way, the stronger you’ll be in resolving it.
The following is the dialogue from the climactic scene in the movie ROCKY between father and son that brings to a head their brooding, simmering conflict…
Robert Balboa Jr. (Milo Ventimiglia): This is only going to end up bad for you and it’s going to end up bad for me.
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone): Do you think I’m hurting you?
Robert: Ya. In a way you are.
Rocky: That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.
Robert: I know that’s not what you wanna do but that’s the way it is. Don’t you care what people think? Doesn’t it bother you that people are making you out to be a joke? And that I’m going to be included in that. Do you think that’s right? Do you??
Rocky: (pointing to the palm of his hand) You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. I’d hold you up and say to your mother: “this kid is gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid is gonna be somebody better than anybody ever knew”.
And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow….
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. IT’S ABOUT HOW HARD YOU CAN GET HIT AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!!
Now if you know what you’re worth, now go and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody! Cowards do that, and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!
I’m always going to love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life….
In appreciating the positive nature of conflict and the opportunity it provides for personal growth, it is important to understand that conflict is indicative of your past and does not need to dictate your future. You are in the conflict you are in because of your past decisions, behaviors and actions. Conflict provides a magnifying glass on yourself, a chance for personal reflection and examination which can result in evolution. You should be transformed by conflict and if you aren’t, you missed out on a tremendous opportunity, learned nothing and are doomed to repeat the past mistakes and experience the same conflict again and again although it may take somewhat of a different form and may be more or less intense in subsequent situations.
As we see conflict as a positive force in our lives for the opportunities it brings, so too is a specific type of conflict known as ESTRANGEMENT. Yes, contrary to popular belief, estrangement is a very good thing. Firstly, because if you are estranged from someone that would be a healthy and positive part of your life, the estrangement gives you that opportunity for self-examination and personal growth which will lead to a reconciliation and a stronger, more meaningful relationship. And secondly, because if you are estranged from someone that would be an unhealthy and negative part of your life, the estrangement is liberation from a relationship prison, which can exist in both family and non-family relationships. Yes, it is not just ok, but it can be the best thing for you to be estranged from a family member and, in such situations, reconciliation should be avoided, sometimes at all costs to propel yourself forward!!