“You can be uncertain but you can’t be unclear.” Words spoken by John Maxwell in a podcast show hosted by Dr Caroline Leaf, resonated with me as I thought about the profound meaning of that statement.
It speaks the truth not only about the economic instability and uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic brings, but also it also applies to our sense of emotional security in our relationships in times of crisis.
After reading several news reports about how divorce rates have spiked during lockdown/quarantine in China, it seems the general sentiment of divorce lawyers and marital experts alike, is that we will see the global trend of divorce rates spiking during quarantine.
No one’s perfect. But add a person’s default mode of unhealthy conflict style to the mix, such as avoidance, stonewalling, defensiveness, criticism, contempt and invalidation (put-downs), the imperfections which we can usually overlook, become intolerable. Our emotional circuit breakers get short-circuited. Questions like “why should I have to put up with (unhealthy conflict style) on top of your imperfections?”
Nothing becomes clear.
The times of uncertainty, thanks to the virus, reveals the anxiety, depression and deep disappointments residing deep within, with no escape against the 4 walls of our home, we are confronted, no, confined to the truth of how we have failed to love, and failed to change.
We question our very existence as a couple – how on earth we even fell in love with this person? We ignore the virtues and focus on the damage caused by our own conflict styles, instead of focusing on how we can remove the unhealthy from the good. It’s no wonder there is no clarity.
Yet, if we remove the unhealthy conflict styles that we are raised or nurtured in, we will realise that we do have a reservoir of love and kindness within us to resolve issues with courage, honesty and humility. You are stronger than you think.
So, the solution is to not to cave in and go under the uncertainties of life but to clear the debris left behind by our often rude, selfish and unhealthy conflict styles. It’s time to “Marie Kondo” your relationship and declutter the emotional debris of the past – and start afresh with using this circuit breaker to break free of bad habits and bad conflict styles (probably inherited from your family of origin – judging from how triggered we get by the “you’re just like your (parent)…” salvos).
What if we didn’t add to the confusion by throw out the unhealthy conflict style and apply something new? What will it cost you? Your pride? Maybe just for 1 battle? See how it goes? After all, it is insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Try healthy and you may not feel good at the start, but like any new habit or skill, give yourself time to change.
We may be living in uncertain times but certainly, we don’t have to be unclear in communicating our issues without throwing mud at each other through negative conflict styles. Don’t blame your parents. You are wholly responsible for making the change in the right direction.
This circuit breaker, take the time to recognise the unhealthy conflict styles operating in you that causes you to short circuit. It’s time to get re-wired in our emotional circuit breaker with emotionally healthy, proven conflict management skills so that the reasons why we fell in love in the first place, remain clear as day. #couplegoals