Navigating Relational Conflict

Choosing A Different Path Than My Mother Taught Me 

Did you grow up in a home with an emotionally absent or narcissistic mother? If so, it’s probably safe to say that the atmosphere and family dynamics weren’t the healthiest. As an adult, one of the challenges I find myself facing is the continuous process of learning what a healthy relationship actually looks like. With that comes the unlearning of old mindsets, old ways of doing things, and courageously walking through new territory.  

As I Walk Through The Valley 

I was raised to believe that good things don’t last. That it was my job to save those around me. To take care of everyone and everything, but not myself. I learned to hide when I felt rejection, hide when I got hurt. And to always sit in a place close to where the exits were. When life is about survival it’s almost like sending out an invitation for trouble to come. You’re either wearing your battle gear or running shoes. Energy is exhausted on just making it through, instead of enjoying the gifts that are waiting for me even in the valley. 

The things that were modeled to me by my mom reinforced a fierce independence and attachment issues that brought chaos into every crevice of my life. I rejected what was safe and beautiful while running towards the very pain I was dying to escape. And why? Because it was what I knew; it was familiar. I stayed up last night processing what once was and what is now, knowing that my life as an adult doesn’t have to pattern the days of my youth. Each day I have that choice, the choice to walk a different path than what was shown to me. 

The Secret Blessing Hidden Inside Relational Trials 

In recent weeks, one of the most powerful things I’ve learned is that in relationships we get to have misunderstanding. We get to have struggle and conflict. I’ve learned that these aren’t bad things because on the other side of them sits intimacy. The opportunity to have hard conversations is a gift and the birthing ground for deeper levels of connection. 

In Judaism there’s a phrase called “Tikkun Olam” which means, “repair of the world”. When trials ambush the moment, a tikkun (divine repair) happens when we bravely choose to partner with what God wants to do through that conflict instead of getting swallowed in the conflict itself. In grief, it looks like boldly walking through the pain, not hiding from it. In relationships, it looks like setting healthy boundaries, actively engaging in self-care, and walking out vulnerability with those that God has brought into our lives. 

I believe this paradigm shift in how pain and conflict is approached is one of the ways that we begin the process of releasing dysfunctional patterns and embracing something really beautiful. It’s where freedom is. Freedom to thrive and be authentic.  

Questions To Ponder: 

What relational patterns were modeled to you as a child that you want to break off of your life? What would it look like to take your eyes off of the conflict itself and partner with God in the midst of relational conflict? Is there a divine repair that you can see unfolding in your life —something you feel resistance towards and yet know in your Spirit that it’s something that God is trying to use to bring healing? 

“I will restore to you the years that the locust, the swarming locust, the canker-worm and the caterpillar have eaten… You will surely eat and be satisfied and praise the Name of Adonai your God who has dealt wondrously with you…” Joel 2:25-26 TLV 

One reply on “Navigating Relational Conflict”

“To take care of everyone and everything, but not myself.” – I so relate. To this day it’s difficult to stop playing that record. Your writing touched me – just beautiful.

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