Conflict Restitution

I follow too many KarJenner fan accounts on Instagram. This gives me a near endless stream of KUWTK clips under “Videos You Might Like” to scroll through before bed.

Last night I caught a real throwback: where Khloe goes to anger management counseling for her issues with Scott and takes Kim as moral support. The counselor has them role-play with Kim as Scott and Khloe must tell him her feelings. She says it feels like he’s taking her sister away from her and it hurts.

Funny thing about hurt feelings: everybody has them, not everybody wants to admit them. And why should we?

What’s to gain from opening up that way to our offenders? More enlightened people might answer that talking about your feelings gives closure. Your prize is peace of mind – if you can communicate your hurt to someone else, connect with, and forgive them. But that’s not how it always works.

Being vulnerable with the source of your discontent isn’t easy. Because the source of your pain isn’t always another a person. People are triggers for one another. We are catalysts to each other’s development. When someone hurts us they’re tugging at a nerve we tried to cover, whether intentional or not.

More often than not we respond in kind.

Conflict is a game of tag. We hurt each other, we go back and forth trying to one-up people, because nobody wants to be it; the emotional one. Nobody wants to look weak, in their feelings, needing to get out the truth, asking for closure and peace of mind.

Fear of opening ourselves up to indifference often outweighs our growth potential through communication.

When I think of the times I’ve lashed out at others or frozen them out of my life, it’s always been as punishment for hurting me. I’d rather perform a demonstration of power than admit how insignificant someone’s made me feel. See how that works? How I need to enact the complete opposite of the nerve that’s been triggered?

There’s the clue. When people engage in prolonged conflict just look at what their actions are trying to show. Yes, their behavior makes them look like a dick. But what’s their purpose in doing it? What are they trying to make themselves look like? Powerful? Indifferent? Smarter? Popular? More successful?

We truly do give ourselves away.

Post Originally Published: March 20th, 2018

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