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Is Your Five Year Old Self Running Your Conflicts?

You are at choice when you are having a disagreement. Most times what I would really like to do is act on my best childish response. Let’s see shall I:

Run away and THEN they will be sorry that they weren’t nicer to me or…

Hmmmmm. Actually, that’s about it. No, wait, there’s another:

I’m not talking to you.

When my siblings and I were young, we would taunt each other, usually my youngest brother, with “Ignore, Ignore, Ignore” until he was frantic. It’s ok, he’s 50 now and the therapy should be working soon. A lot of us love the silent treatment – giving it that is, not receiving it. Simple silence can be golden but the shunning that goes along with the silent treatment – hurtful.

So, we are either avoiding or, ummmm, avoiding.

Well, that’s not going to work very well. Think back to all your past conflicts. How many of them were satisfactorily resolved by running away or staying silent or ignoring the other person. Much like when you were a kid, maybe they didn’t even notice you ‘ran away’ so they’d miss you and feel bad.

Maybe they thought the silence was for some reason totally unrelated to what it really was. Perhaps we begin a retaliatory game of the “Battle of the Silence” which will NOT be made into a video game anytime soon. Way, way too boring. Everybody walks around silently and doesn’t look at the other and that gets pretty tiring so you take a nap. Now, a nap is a good thing, so don’t blame the nap.

You may have different childish responses than I have but I suspect they are no less unproductive in resolving your relationship disagreements.

No, I’m afraid you are going to have to suck it up and do what you have to do – engage with each other. Take a deep breath, acknowledge the desire to use your best 5 year old response, let it go and choose a new method. To quote Blue Rodeo ‘And maybe then we’d get somewhere we’d never been before’.


1 Comment

  1. Jake Calabrese on October 2, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Nice post! While I am not always wanting to actually have the conversation and dig in, I always find the relationship is stronger! Although in the midst of serious work and discussions, it sometimes does not seem like it will get there.

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