Our relationship to conflict and confrontation usually falls into one of two categories. We’re either great at confrontation or we’re terrible at confrontation. The word confrontation itself comes with an inherently negative connotation which produces imagery of a clash, a fight, or some kind of aggravated disagreement. Fearing confrontation usually means fearing getting hurt, not having our voices heard, or not getting our needs met. Confrontation could mean getting out of control, losing ourselves to rage, and accomplishing little other than creating more issue. For the few of us, confrontation means a simple, albeit uncomfortable, conversation which requires both healthy boundaries as well as communication. Many more of us see confrontation as a way to either gently or blatantly practice the divine arts of denial and avoidance.
However, confrontation is a natural and regular occurrence in life. Part of our mature development and personal growth in recovery as men has to include building the skillset necessary to approach conflict the right way. Taking our “selves” out of conflict and confrontation can be hard to do when our feelings are hurt or we feel slighted in some way. What we can do is apply many of the skills we develop in treatment to approach the conversation around conflict with confidence through healthy communication.
Non-attachment is seen as more of a spiritual tool than a communication tool, but it can be handy in approaching conflict. Often, we find ourselves in conflict because something personal to us or about us has found itself at odds with something personal to someone else or about someone else. The more we hold an attachment to “me versus you” the less likely we are to reach resolution. We can realize that personal offense and conflict are inherent to the human experience. By detaching ourselves from our personal hold, we can put ourselves in the other person’s shoes in order to gain insight on their perspective.
Mass culture has reduced conflict resolution between men to a macho match of flying fists, wrestling, and other ignorant, feeling-ignoring, physical battle. Men are trained to approach conflict with ego and determination to “prove” themselves better than another man. Ridding ourselves of aggression before approaching conflict is key. Rather than make things worse, we can help grow ourselves and other men we have relationship with a little better with an open conversation.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon is a men’s addiction treatment center that teaches our clients how to roll with life’s punches and use the tools they’ve learned throughout the treatment process to stay on top of anything life throws at them. Call (503) 850-2474 to see how we can help you today.