Identifying and Fixing Unresolved Conflicts from the Past

We all carry baggage from our past. Some of it is light, some is heavy, and some is so bulky that it interferes with our daily lives and relationships. This article will guide you through identifying and resolving the unresolved conflicts that hold you back.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Identify Your Conflicts

Look back at your past relationships, childhood experiences, and friendships. What patterns of conflict or distress do you notice? Were there heated fights, cold wars, or perhaps an unsettling silence? Jot down these memories. They may feel uncomfortable, but acknowledging them is the first step to resolution.

Did you know? Journaling your experiences can help identify recurring themes in your conflicts.

Like how Tom recognised that most of his conflicts stemmed from his inability to express his feelings effectively, a trait he’d unknowingly picked up from his tight-lipped father.

Step 2: Understand the Underlying Emotions

Each conflict carries with it a load of unresolved emotions: anger, guilt, regret, or sadness. Acknowledging these emotions can be tough, but it is crucial to healing. You might feel angry at your ex-partner for leaving or guilty for breaking up with them.

Pro tip: Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Unpacking these emotions can take time.

Step 3: Seek Professional Help

Some conflicts are so deeply rooted that it can be challenging to resolve them on your own. Therapists or counsellors are trained to guide you through this process. They provide a safe space to talk about your feelings and offer tools and strategies for dealing with them.

Take Jason. After years of bottling up his feelings about his parents’ divorce, therapy helped him understand his fear of commitment and abandonment in relationships.

Step 4: Communicate with the Other Party

If you feel comfortable and safe, communicating with the other party involved in the conflict can provide closure. This is not always possible or advisable, but when it is, it can be a powerful way to resolve the past.

Alert: Only reach out to the other party if you feel it won’t cause further harm to either of you.

Step 5: Learn and Grow

Each unresolved conflict is a learning opportunity. Once you’ve identified the issue and understood the associated emotions, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?” This could be anything from learning to be more assertive, improving your communication skills, or setting better boundaries.

Let’s consider Sandra. She had a pattern of entering controlling relationships. Through resolving past conflicts, she learned the importance of maintaining personal boundaries and assertiveness.

Step 6: Forgive and Let Go

The final step is often the most challenging: letting go. It means accepting what happened, forgiving the other person (and yourself), and moving forward. This does not mean forgetting what happened or excusing harmful actions. It simply means choosing not to let those past events control your present and future.

Key Takeaways

  1. Identify Your Conflicts: Start by acknowledging and recording the conflicts that have recurred in your past relationships, friendships, and childhood experiences.
  2. Understand the Underlying Emotions: Each conflict is tied to specific emotions such as anger, guilt, regret, or sadness. Acknowledging these emotions is crucial for the healing process.
  3. Seek Professional Help: For deeply-rooted conflicts, therapists and counsellors can provide invaluable guidance. They offer a safe environment to express your feelings and provide strategies for dealing with them.
  4. Communicate with the Other Party: If it’s safe and comfortable, reaching out to the other party involved in the conflict can aid in achieving closure.
  5. Learn and Grow: View each unresolved conflict as a learning opportunity. Understand what the experience has taught you about yourself, your reactions, and what you can do better.
  6. Forgive and Let Go: The last step involves accepting what happened, forgiving the other person and yourself, and moving forward. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting the event or excusing harmful actions, but rather choosing not to let past events control your present and future.
  7. Embrace Your Journey: Remember, resolving conflicts is a step towards personal freedom and better future relationships. It allows the past to be a guiding light, not a looming shadow.

Summary: Unresolved conflicts can act as shadows, trailing behind you and casting their gloom on your present and future. But you hold the power to dispel these shadows. By identifying these conflicts, understanding them, seeking help, communicating, learning, and finally letting go, you’re not just resolving conflicts; you’re freeing yourself. You’re allowing the past to be a guiding light, not a looming shadow. And that, dear reader, is a game-changer.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.