Can’t Handle Conflict

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have a big problem that I cant stop. It’s not only affecting my relationship my in affecting my partner mentally and physically as well. In 2011 we got into a huge fight and i packed my bags and left. Ever since then I have done the same when things get to heated I just pack my stuff and leave or I pack it and leave it in the garage and just go out and calm down for a few hours. I wan’t to stop this . I love my partner and i know this is causing both physical and mental pain to both her and I. Every time we get into and argument whether it’s about nothing or something big I blow up and fill with rage and get my cloths pack them and leave. I need to stop this other wise it will end our relationship.

A: You’re right. You are wise to recognize that your partner doesn’t deserve this and it isn’t doing you any good either. For whatever reason, it sounds like you can’t stand even a whisper of conflict. It’s so painful for you that you leave the situation as quickly and dramatically as possible. That way you don’t have to talk about the issues or manage the feelings that come with it.

I don’t know what caused you to be so reactive to conflict but I do know this: Living life means having to deal with disagreements and conflict now and then. You can’t totally avoid it – as much as you might like to. If you want to hold onto this relationship and, indeed, to be able to function well with other people, you need to learn some new skills for conflict management.

I suggest you first read up on conflict resolution and learn what you can about it. There are dozens of websites that offer good information and helpful suggestions. If that doesn’t solve the problem, please consider seeing a therapist for awhile. With some direct coaching and support, you can learn how to deal.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Can’t Handle Conflict. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/27/cant-handle-conflict/