Dr. Nicole LePera

Dr. Nicole LePera

07-12-2022

15:50

Conflict can be an opportunity for deeper connection with our partner, if we know how to repair. Repair is a skill. Here's how to practice it ?:

Repair is how we mend a relationship after conflict. The difference between a healthy relationship, and a dysfunctional relationship is how conflict is dealt with.

In dysfunctional relationships, conflict escalates. The ego takes over, and there's a need to be right. People leave their bodies and (sometimes) spiral out of control. Or, conflict is avoided and people are completely shut down (ex: silent treatment)

In healthy relationships, partners focus on repair. Repair allows us to reconnect after conflict and affirm respect, love, and connection.

Repair example: Alex and John have a heated disagreement about going to a family event over holidays. John feels like they spend so much time with Alex's family, and things that she needs to compromise. "You're being so selfish" John says.

Alex his very hurt and tells John to spend the holiday alone. John says: "Let's just take a break" (this is de-escalation) De-escalation is necessary to keep intense disagreements from spiraling.

Alex is out back and 20 minutes later, John approaches her. She is still tense and coming out of fight or flight.

John says: "I'm sorry I called you selfish. I was triggered and said something I didn't mean. I love you and I apologize for letting my emotions get the best of me." Here, John is attempting re-connection.

John knows that physical touch is important for Alex to feel reconnected and grabs her hand, then kisses her forehead. Alex feels her nervous system calming.

She says: "Let's come up with something for the holidays that works for both of us." She can tell that this holiday means a lot to John and reflected on his point that most of the time, they're with her family. Here, Alex is open for compromise.

Tips for Repair With Your Partner: 1. Stay open to each other's needs: "What can I do to make this better, or for you to feel safe?" 2. Validate each other's feelings: "I can see what you feel that way" "I can tell this is important to you"

3. Take breaks, regularly: when you go into fight or flight, take breaks and allow your partner to do the same. 4. Find lightheartedness: humor can bring you both back together, and widen perspective. (note: this does not mean mocking your partner)

5. Know your partner's re-connection language: each of us have different ways that help us feel reconnect. This means affirming love for each other verbally, physical touch, playfulness, etc. It's helpful to ask: "what do you need?"

If you found this helpful follow: @Theholisticpsyc I write threads every day on how to heal yourself. My new workbook dives deeper into this topic:


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