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The value of sharing our vulnerability in conflict resolution

Good communication is crucial for a significant relationship. This means taking the time to really listen and hear your partner and what they are saying even during times of disharmony and conflict. Underneath anger and irritation can very often be unexpressed hurt and pain, perhaps blocked or hidden for some important reason. If there is a way that this can be accessed and shared it's more likely that conflict can be healed. However, our deepest vulnerability can be at play here and may be lost under layers of protective defensiveness. Expressing our vulnerability can be very frightening and scary and for good reasons, especially when our partner or a particular situation triggers pain from early experiences or relationships in our lives. Once the raw heat of anger has passed, it can be helpful and more possible to reflect and ask oneself:

  • "What am I feeling now?"
  • "What is it that is really hurting me here?"
  • "What is it I most want my partner to really understand about this situation?"
  • "Can I make myself be better understood?"
  • "Are there painful and unexpressed feelings that we both need to share?"

Conflict can leave us feeling confused and muddled, and it can be hard to work out what our important emotions are, let alone share them with our partners. This is when the safe space of a couple counselling experience can be of use. Being brave enough to come together in a neutral environment and in the presence of a neutral person can help with the sharing of our more difficult emotions. If we can begin to do this with someone we are in a relationship with, the potential benefits can be:

  • Improved empathy and closeness.
  • Greater mutual understanding.
  • Help in making sense of anger and repeated conflicts.
  • Helping foster the balance and equality within a relationship.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Phoebe Fuller BACP(Sr Acc): individuals and couples

Phoebe Fuller: BACP senior accredited counsellor/psychotherapist works with both individuals and couples. Over twenty-five years experience in a variety of settings including the health service, student and staff counselling, large companies and private practice.… Read more

Written by Phoebe Fuller BACP(Sr Acc): individuals and couples

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