Relationship Rescue PDF

The Five 5 Types of Conflict In A Relationship.

Nov 15, 2023
5 types of conflict in a relationship

In this blog post, we will explore the five types of conflict that commonly arise in terms of our romantic relationships. By understanding these types of conflict, individuals can better navigate disagreements and work towards resolving them in a healthy manner. The video below shows the nature of these struggles and provides a framework from which to understand the sources of conflict you're having. Once you know the story behind these conflicts you can read the signs, address the actual issue and begin writing a new end to the battle.

AS well as the 5 types of conflict, we will discuss the negative impact of the "Blame Game" pattern and the importance of open communication in breaking this cycle.

Before you read on, check out these 20 Questions For Emotional Intimacy


The 5 Types Of Conflict:

1 & 2 Task Conflict and Process Conflict:

Task conflict refers to the type of disagreements related to goals or tasks within a relationship. In every relationship things need to get done, cleaning the kitchen, for example. Task conflict and tensions may arise when one partner assumes the other will complete a household chore, but it remains undone. This type of conflict can be resolved through rational conversation and finding a solution that works for both parties.

Some examples might be setting a reminder on a calendar, rather than relying on internal reminders.


Process conflict, on the other hand, is the type of argument revolves around differing views on how things should be done. This can include disagreements about household routines, parenting styles, or even the placement of items in the kitchen. By recognizing these conflicts as differences in opinions on how things could or should be done, couples can engage in open dialogue to find compromises and overcome or resolve the issue.


3 Hierarchy and Roles Conflict:

Hierarchy and roles conflict occur when there is an imbalance or inequality in a relationship. Society tells us that we should have an equally balanced relationship that's 50/50, which is not always possible. AND YET, there are ways in which we can achieve something close to it.

Heirarchy and Role conflict can manifest in various ways, such as financial disparities, differences in power or responsibilities (that's the role part). Most often these get worked out unconsciously, but when they don't you might find your self having the same argument repeatedly.

It is important for couples to address these imbalances and have open conversations about their expectations and responsibilities within the relationship.


4 Personal or Relational Conflict:

Personal or relational conflict arises when disagreements become personal attacks or involves attacks on one's character. This type of conflict often escalates from minor disagreements to more intense arguments. It is crucial to recognize the signs of personal conflict, such as criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt.

Saying mean or hurtful things with the desire to inflict suffering or to hurt someone is a really unhealthy dynamic, and all the literature around toxic relationships seems to support this.

Seeking professional help from a licensed therapist can be beneficial in navigating and resolving personal conflicts.


5 Anxiety-Driven Conflict:

Anxiety-driven conflict is the most subtle yet pervasive type of conflict in relationships. It occurs when underlying anxiety, stress, or worry manifests as anger or frustration which are masked by the content of the discussion. This type of conflict often stems from insecurities, fears, or worries about the relationship, and it seems our brain can run on anxiety creating entire works of fiction about our partner's motives and behaviors. These are usually negative and we act on those thoughts, creating fights and conflict.

Recognizing and addressing these anxieties can lead to breakthrough moments in resolving conflicts.


Breaking the Blame Game Cycle in Conflict :

The "Blame Game" pattern is a destructive cycle of conflict in which one partner consistently blames the other for issues within the relationship. This pattern erodes communication, creates emotional distance, builds resentment, and can ultimately lead to the end of the relationship. To break this cycle, open communication and a shift from blame to responsibility are crucial. Couples should focus on finding solutions together and addressing the problem rather than attacking each other. 

Understanding the five types of conflict in relationships can greatly improve communication and resolution. By recognizing which specific type of argument: task, process, hierarchy and roles conflict, personal and anxiety-driven conflict, couples can work towards resolving disagreements in a healthy and productive manner. The top tips are to remember, open communication, mutual understanding, and a willingness to find solutions together are key to maintaining a strong and fulfilling relationship.


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5 types of conflict 


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