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When you or your partner struggle with mental health disorders, it can feel difficult to communicate. Mental illness can impair interpersonal relationships. It can harm your or your partner’s ability to express needs and resolve conflicts. Every fight can feel insurmountable. As such, it’s crucial to use healthy conflict resolution strategies.

4 Conflict Resolution Strategies

When you think of conflict, do you think of yelling and hostility? This is a dysfunctional way of handling conflict. Conflict doesn’t need to be loud or aggressive. It doesn’t even need to be a prolonged ordeal. To engage in healthy conflict, you can use the following conflict resolution strategies.

#1. “I feel…” Statements

When working through conflicts, it’s important to realize your perspective isn’t always the only perspective. Your thoughts could include cognitive distortions rooted in faulty logic. As such, you should practice speaking about perceptions in a less concrete way.

Use “I feel…” statements that focus on your emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. Often, your partner experienced the same event through a different lens. You should try to offer your partner the benefit of the doubt. Your partner should also offer you the same consideration in communication. They should also make “I feel…” statements.

#2. Active Listening in Conflict Resolution

Many people make the mistake of listening for the purpose of responding. They also might listen without the intent to understand. In a conflict, active listening can help you understand the problem and your partner’s feelings better. You want to pay close attention to what your partner says. You should listen to understand. If you don’t understand something, ask clarifying questions. Moreover, you respond in ways that make clear you understand what the other person is saying.

#3. Taking a Time-Out

Children who get worked up often are told to take a break to emotionally regulate and reflect. A parent might send them to time-out. Time-outs aren’t just for kids, however. During a fight, it might help you to call a time-out if you feel yourself getting emotionally unregulated, hungry, or tired.

On top of balancing your emotions again, this time could give you a chance to reflect and process what your partner said. Most importantly, before taking space, set a time when you will come back to the issue at hand.

#4. Focusing on the Present Issue

Unfortunately, past problems can get in the way of present conflicts. Unresolved fights can also distract you, making everything feel worse. Personal attacks like name-calling can hurt you both, and they don’t help. In a conflict, you should focus on only the present issue. Understand what you’re looking to get out of this conversation. Try to work together against the issue instead of fighting one another.

In a relationship where one or more parties have mental health disorders, it’s crucial to focus on healthy communication. Mental illness may diminish your conflict resolution abilities, and you might need to relearn them. At The Guest House, you can build your interpersonal skills. Your therapist can help you deconstruct unhelpful habits and teach you new techniques. Group therapy will give you opportunities to practice conflict resolution. When you’re ready to change your patterns, reach out to The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.