Fright, Fight or Flight.
I came across an article recently that made me wonder what the best method for dealing with problems in relationships was, whether it was in the workplace, the home or among friends. Usually when a serious problem comes up between two people, there are three types of responses each individual can give. Fright-refuse to face the problem out of fear of what would happen to the relationship, fight-confront the other person and see if there could be a workable solution or flight-run away from the problem and the individual.
Let’s examine the responses one by one. Fright-when this response is given the individual refuses to bring up the issue that is causing the problem and deal with it. Such a person is usually a phlegmatic, afraid of confrontation. An easy-going person that might not want to hurt the other person’s feelings. The problem with this kind of approach is that it can lead to passive aggression. Especially if the other person does not even know that there is a problem.
When the problem is not dealt with, chances are that it would keep rearing up its head in the relationship further driving the two apart and causing further emotional upheaval. It’s a method that has been employed by people who have a strong suspicion that their significant other is having an affair but refuse to confront them about it. It’s a situation where one person sees the other making a series of bad decisions and choices but don’t want to rock the boat. a If I may so, it’s a method that has been well employed by a lot of women. I call it the burying-your-head-in the sand approach. This method has a short shelf life because eventually the person has to lift his head up and tackle the issue.
Flight-this is what happens when a person chooses to run away from the problem. It is the easiest way out of the problem. Once you’re away from the person, the problem ceases to exist. It is also the cowardly way out. It’s a method that has been employed for ages and very frequently by men especially when there’s an unexpected pregnancy(smile). Sometimes when your friend or significant other seems to have changed right before your eyes and you don’t know or understand why, when there are responsibilities you have no idea how to handle- all you have to do is just cut out the problem. Delete. And it disappears. The only problem with this solution is this: if you run away from one relationship to another because of a problem you refused to deal with, chances are that problems will still crop up in the new relationship. That’s because the way relationships occur, offense must surely come. So you can keep running till infinity-the problem would still catch up with you eventually. There are a few instances however when this is the only method that can be employed but we’ll get to that later.
Fight- this is when two people decide to hash out the issues between them. It may involve some raised voices and even the use of some harsh words. But at the end of the day the people involved have an idea of what is eating them up and how to work at it. A lot of so called big problems are demystified when the parties sit down to talk about it. There’s a way to fight fair and that involves confronting the person, so you can discuss the issue, move on and apologize. Having said this, it takes two people to fight. It is rather futile to attempt to fight alone. Two people must be willing to fight for the relationship to keep it alive. One person can start the fight but the other person has to be willing to take it up. If the other person is not willing to work through the issues, the relationship eventually fizzles out. There’s only so much one person can do. Sometimes what the other partner needs is a breather. Time to reflect on the issues at hand. ‘We need to take a break,’ are dreaded words in relationships but sometimes they must be said. Sometimes, there is no return. But it gives the other partner enough time to reflect and appraise the relationship and decide if the relationship is worth fighting for. Yep, fighting can be a sign of true love.(smile)
Another way of fighting is to decide to physically assault the other partner in order to win an argument. Or indulging in screaming and shouting matches replete with invectives. In this scenario, nobody wins. The victim of the assault especially if it is continuous has no option but to employ the flight method. It is foolish to attempt to stay back in an abusive relationship-whether physical, verbal or emotional. The end result of remaining in an abusive relationship is that eventually the victim snaps. That is why the flight method is acceptable and must be employed before it reaches that stage. The other person may eventually change, but the victim should return only when that person is ready to fight fair.
After all is said and done, we have been given a golden rule to follow which we would do well to keep no matter the issues we may have with other people. If it is possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.(Rom 12:18)
P.S: This article just reflects the author’s opinion. Please share your views and your experiences on how to deal with issues that come up in relationships.