People are feeling stress, fear and anxiety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations for social distancing affect nearly every part of our lives, including finances, relationships, transportation, jobs and healthcare. A common cause of the stress that many of us may be experiencing is conflict in our relationships. Below are four steps you can do to mitigate and repair the hurt that conflict can give rise to.
The four R’s
If you are being triggered, you may be in a heightened state of stress and could benefit from regulating your body and bringing your "thinking brain" back online. Folks regulate in different ways. This could be sitting down or laying down, drinking water, getting fresh air, deep breathing, listening to soothing sounds, eating a bite of something. Find whatever works for you in moving from a state of dysregulation to regulation and it will put you in a place in which you can better interact with others. Trying to solve a problem when one or more parties is dysregulated rarely has a positive outcome. If you have children how you deal with conflict will model for them what they can do when feel and encounter stress.
Once you are in a regulated state, reflect on the situation: What has been your emotional journey to this point in the day? What has been their emotional journey to this point in the day?Have you eaten and slept? Have they eaten or slept? Has it been a difficult day? What could be your/their underlying need? What can you do right now to construct a more loving and caring relationship?
Having reflected on the situation and your and the other persons needs, you can respond with empathy in a way that is meaningful to the situation at hand. Perhaps this is just connecting and listening to each other. Perhaps this is providing limits to enhance safety. Or something else.
We mess up. That is part of the process. Being in a loving relationship with others is very likely the hardest thing you will ever undertake. We restore ourselves through self-empathy and care for our own very human souls. We restore our relationships with each other after a rupture by owning our mistakes and acknowledging them with each other. We restore by making right what and whom we have wronged. Restoration is healing for all parties involved.