Essay on Conflict: Impact of Conflict in a Relationship

Published: 2021-07-07
658 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Carnegie Mellon University
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Conflict is part of life. It is a reality of any relationship, and it is not fundamentally bad. A relationship with constant conflict is healthier than one with no apparent conflict. Conflict can make a relationship stronger or weaker, meaning it can be constructive in a way that it creates thorough understanding, nearness, and respect or it can be destructive resulting in hatred, resentment, and divorce. How conflict is solved is a significant factor in determining whether it is destructive or constructive. It can run from minor insignificant issues to critical fights (Nadig, 2016).

A good conflict has to be a situation where both partners have to strive to solve the dispute in an acceptable and fair manner to both. If one disregards or minimizes the other's position, then that can damage the relationship due to lack of sensitivity and consideration for the other partner. If one of the partners is passive and always avoiding conflicts to keep the other happy, that too can break the relationship. Since he/she will grow insensitive and self-serving at your expense causing your self-worth to deteriorate and that becomes a poison to the relationship.

Non-verbal communication conveys powerful messages each person interprets them differently. During a conflict 55% of the message comes from body language, 38% comes from tone of voice and 7% is conveyed by the words used (Mehrabian, 2012). During a conflict you can never know what is going to trigger the other person's hostility, a constructive or healthy conflict observe flexibility in both verbal and non-verbal. For instance, when a spouse points the finger at the other's face or smiles during the conflict it can feel like mockery to them and hence can lead to resentment that results in a negative type of conflict (Jones & Remland, 2003).

It is not what we say, but how we say it that matter especially when we communicate feelings and attitudes. A communication set up with a lot of drama and self-judgment creates a dramatic scenario that is judged by those on the receiving end. Therefore when one needs reassurance and acceptance, it becomes hard to get. The tone of voice alone can convey anger, frustration, sarcasm, indifference or disappointment. The energy the words said rides on have more impact than the actual words (Jones & Remland, 2003). During a conflict, if a partner communicates an issue on an energy of anger, blame or resentment, then the other partner becomes defensive. Defensive ears are deaf ears, and a solution cannot be achieved in such situation therefore that becomes a destructive conflict.

Distorted portrayal from the media, other people's opinion, stereotypes or prejudice of a person can be expected to create problematic understandings and attitudes among the involved parties. For instance, the media creates the world that seems real to the viewer who has less real-world experience with the topic, Unless the audience has sufficient personal experience to counteract its effects. However, an audience with the real world is not immune to the perception created by others. For instance, the stereotypic portrayal of "angry black women," classifying black women as sassy, ill-mannered and tempered by nature, during a conflict with a person from a different race who believes that this stereotype is true can cause misunderstanding since the black woman will be viewed as the one fuelling the conflict. This, in the end, causes them to resent and destroy the relationship (Nadig, 2016).

A healthy conflict calls to understanding from both ends without being judgmental. A conflict can help understand the other person better, or it can end up building hate among the parties. Several factors fuels a conflict, but it is the individuals who determine their impact to make their relationship work.


Jones, S. T., & Remland, M. S. (2003). Nonverbal Communication And Conflict Escalation: An AttributionBased Model. International Journal of Conflict Management, 4(2), 119-137.

Mehrabian, A. (2012). Nonverbal Communication. New Brunswick, NJ: Aldine Transaction

Nadig, A. L. (2016). Relationship Conflict: Healthy or Unhealthy. Clinical Psychologist Marriage & Family Therapist.



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