Week 4 Day 3: Conflict

Week 4: My Relationship with Others
Workbook Exercise: My Web of Connections

Watch: Week 4 Day 3: Conflict
What relationships in your life need mending or strengthening?
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Transcript of Video:

So for a very long time I was quite conflict adverse and felt that every conflict I had in relationships meant the end of that relationship. And some of that was just from my own experience and maybe also my own shortcomings of, “Oh, you want to fight with me,” like, “well, I have no use for you then,” which obviously isn’t a very mature or spiritual response to a situation. But as I have grown and gone through more experiences of broken relationships and experiencing reconciliation I actually find that the people that I often have the greatest conflicts with, the people that I am able to fight with, argue with, to disagree with strongly, and then reconcile with, it reinforces my sense of goodness in the world, my sense of trust and my freedom to be myself and to say that it’s okay to disagree and to fight and that doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship.

– Br John Braught


  1. Faith on November 3, 2021 at 21:25

    I grew up during the 60’s and 70’s with a father and his sister who seemed to believe young kids are to be seen – not heard. Perhaps that thought is a little murky but when I waa around my dad’s sister she didn’t seem to want me to be confident enough to speak up for myself. My mother was at home but due to a couple brain injuries, us kids often has to keep an eye on mom. Mom had come from a large family but her dad passed away when min was 15 and her mom passed away when I turned one year old.

    I did well academically but my confrontation style is almost non-existent – causing dissension with some others. Want to have better relationships with those around me. Would like to see healing with relating to others.

  2. Stan Lewis on March 3, 2017 at 10:04

    I have family relationships that need mending, repairing, healing. They are far too important to me to allow selfish pride to prevent reconciliation. Perhaps I am afraid to initiate reconciliation out of fear of worsening the conflict or reopening old wounds.

  3. Jaan Sass on October 29, 2016 at 01:59

    What relationships in your life need mending or strengthening? In my past relationships I avoided confrontation or entanglements at all cost. This caused me a lot of pain and always ended in a lot of anger and foolish behavior. Recently after my divorce I have mended my relationship with my family. I struggle with isolating myself vs participating fully in all my relationships.

  4. Tony on March 6, 2016 at 19:44

    All relationships need work. My relationship with God, family and friends and learning to love m self (before I can love my neighbour (others) and my enemies. The big question is “How do I achieve that”?

    • Chioma Nwaogu on January 28, 2021 at 20:21

      I have had so many confrontations, both from friends and family members, but the ones that really touched me, have come from friends I thought had no faults themselves, but in the course of time, I have been demoralized and gotten fade up, especially recently after a while, that I thought getting to experience friendship would be worthwhile, it turned out sour and am afraid to venture further and said, God should help me. I believe it is not the end of the road though, and I cannot totally give up on that, but right now, am lying low and just waiting on God.

  5. Julia on March 6, 2016 at 09:20

    Usually family members. We are not typically direct so that makes it difficult. V

  6. Jane on March 5, 2016 at 11:42

    I ask the prayers of this community for my relationship with my sister, who is very ill. She and I love each other but have not always liked each other. Over the years we’ve both said and done things that were hurtful to each other. My sister and brother don’t speak and haven’t for many years and this troubles me because I can’t be with them both at the same time as a family. It saddens me that now that we are all seniors, and with my sister’s failing health, we may never again have family time together. My sister and I live close to each other and I help her with getting to doctor appts, and now I am trying to think of things we can do together for fun that we will both enjoy. To you who have read this all the way through this missal, bless you, thanks so much, and thanks for your prayers.

    • NA on March 6, 2016 at 17:45

      We, too, are going through a challenging time with the physical health of my husband’s father. My husband’s relationship with his parents has always been strained, and, prior to the diagnosis, they had not spoken in nearly nine years. Then came the call from his brother. His father has glioblastoma and it is considered incurable.

      A couple years ago, I read a book called “The Four Things That Matter Most,” by Ira Byock, a hospice/palliative care doctor. It is a simple but profound book that details a number of stories where people have managed to say the fours things to each other before the end.

      My husband decided he needed to say these things to his father before the operation. He did, and his father broke through and said them back. They both cried. While it did not go as well with my husband’s mother, something important was repaired with his father, and both are more at peace. It was never going to be a Hallmark Movie of the Week, but this much reconciliation and expression of love is more than we had ever hoped there would be before the end.

      I offer this as a possible help for your situation as well. May God bless you in your journey with your sister and family.

  7. Stan on March 2, 2016 at 21:05

    This question required a lot of thought from me. I had to read all of the posts above (well, most of them at least), and consider if anything there fit my situation. I think what hit home the hardest was my relationship with my ex-wife. When we were together, our relationship had become stormy, at best. No physical violence or anything, but we both wanted different things out of life and we had expectations of each other which would never be realized. So we were very frustrated with each other, and couldn’t agree on anything. She would become angry and quarrelsome. I am not an angry person my nature so I would just ignore her, which of course only fueled her fire. In the end, we both agreed that we didn’t belong together, and when the opportunity arose, we split. We split on friendly terms, but we basically no longer contact each other at all.

    Upon reflection, I now understand that much of her anger was that I didn’t truly shower and nourish her with love. Had I been more receptive to her needs and wishes and given her honest love, things may have been different. We did both want different things out of life, so I’m sure that we would have parted anyway (we never had children), but maybe we could at least have gotten along much better.
    So I think that perhaps trying to grow a friendship with her again would be in order. It could help us both resolve some old, covered-over ugly scars

  8. Kristi on March 1, 2016 at 21:34

    I know that I have come along way and matured great deal in the way I handle conflict now. I used to see things in a very black-and-white way and did not have a lot of tolerance for behavior which I considered unacceptable. Through a few decades of marriages, friendships another relationships, i’ve learned a lot about how conflict can actually lead to positive growth in a relationship if it’s dealt with in healthy and mature way. I still get very angry sometimes, but I’m much for quick to cool down, reflects approach things in a calmer way now. I’m proud of that kind of growth-

  9. susan zimmerman on March 1, 2016 at 20:17

    …being vigilant for relationship that shares ones’ values

  10. Eugene Wright on March 1, 2016 at 19:31

    I value relationships dearly, but like forgiveness, you can forgive someone, love someone at length, if they don’t respond in return I simply et them alone. I have some acquaintances that I was very close with at one time or the other, but after a while we grew apart. At first, gradually and then …… we used to talk ever so often. Visit ever so often. Hang out and then it stopped. I would call, no answer and no return call. I would go to visit and it would be sorry I am going out or expecting someone else so I stopped making the effort. When we meet in public though we would converse as if nothing happened and promised to keep in touch but then its back to the same old same old. I am praying for those ” good old days” and hoping that what is wrong will be revealed and corrected.

  11. Carol Ward on March 1, 2016 at 18:33

    I’ve recently met a member of my family that I never knew existed before. He was extremely solicitous when we had our first meeting to the point of me feeling strange about what seemed like an overly great affection for a person whom he’d just met. As time has passed, I come to realize that we are polar opposites. He is ultra right wing. He supports Don Trump. He thinks militias are a good thing & the take over in Oregon was justified. He loves guns. He is a fundamentalist Christian with all the accompanying ‘you are wrong & I am right’! Right to lifer in the extreme. The constant Bible verses from King James get me a little on edge after awhile. He uses them as proof that he is correct! I just can’t stand to get a call from him because there is nothing we have in common & very few topics I can think to discuss. I can’t understand why he can’t see the huge chasm that exists unless he simply doesn’t bother to actually listen to anything I say. I’m at a loss for how to handle him. He seems oblivious to the fact that I never call, email or instigate any communication any more. I like his kids but I can’t see continuing any relationship with him. As a result, I don’t want to just tell him to stop calling but I do need to find a way to keep contact down to a minimum. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m struggling to find a kind way to get through this.

    • Paul on March 2, 2016 at 17:04

      Fervently pray for him, praying for all of the best things in life you could ever want for yourself. Write the prayer down, even if you don’t mean a word of it, and pray it every day for as long as it takes for you to mean the words, and for the resentment to lift. Keep politics out of it.The answer concerning how to handle him will come, in meditation and prayer. And it won’t take that long. Has worked for me countless times.

    • Stephanie on March 3, 2016 at 15:58

      “When in doubt, go with the truth” someone once told me. I’m not sure what that would look like in your case. Maybe mention conversation topics on which your views are so divergent is exhausting to you, but you’d enjoy hearing about hid kids instead?

    • David Cranmer on June 24, 2016 at 21:15

      Carol, Paul’s advice is worthwhile. I have used it myself. DavC

  12. Russell on March 1, 2016 at 14:39

    I am tempted to say all of my relationships need mending and strengthening. I am sure that I am not as uplifting and compassionate a person as God intends me to be. I am aware that my ego seeks power in my relationships, rather than surrendering to them. From my most intimate family relationships to my work place friends and professional acquaintances, I realize that I seek approval and affirmation many times rather than accept the fact that we have different points of view and life experiences and therefore will feel differently about subjects both important and trivial. I can be intolerant and untrusting. And I can behave in ways that break trust. The two relationships I am most concerned with mending and strengthening are with God and my wife. And these are where I feel the most regret and shame.

  13. Mryka on March 1, 2016 at 10:38

    I have a very poor relationship with “conflict” in that I have had unusually (I hope) high exposure to people for whom any disagreement meant an opportunity to win or lose, and quite a few of them would rather win than play by any rules of concern, logic, principles etc. The few people I manage to stay in relationship with that have this attitude think that street-fighting conflict is the only way to resolve something, and in fact that it’s fun, kind of like a blood sport. The style was not unlike what is going on in the US national politics today. My only self-defence (because some of these arguments were really about core principles of living!) was to withdraw. I really hate to say it, but I experienced a lot of this from the church authorities: the worst sin was not murder, but to express a disagreement or ask a question (I actually had this said to me in so many words by a Sunday School teacher). Needless to say, when I came back to the church I came to a completely different branch of it. But even today when I do express an opinion it is against a wall of fear, which I recognize as a mild form of PTSD flashback. Even now, I monitor the rules of the argument as they are being played out and will withdraw instantaneously if they are violating the well-established rules of logic. I have come to the point where I can easily discuss with anyone about a productive disagreement, but as soon as a fight style starts I come close to panic. This avowedly makes it extremely difficult to minister to people who have other emotional wounds than my own. I am trying to work through this, but it snaps back so easily when I am under the slightest stress from other reasons (tired, hungry, have a cold, etc.).

  14. William Spies on March 1, 2016 at 09:35

    well I am seeing this thanks to the current political race for President. this is very trying times to go thru where people thanks to the politicians that are egging on discount people thst don’t agree with them.

  15. Debbie on March 1, 2016 at 09:32

    I wish I could say what he said was true but it is not. There are just some relationships that sap you strength and tax your mind. I can not stand some whose life is so bad that they can think of nothing but making your life hard. We are given so many years of life. These people will never change. So why in God’s name would you seek reconciliation for a brick wall. Move on move forward. You are just not the person they need. Nor are you going to make them feel better about them selves by making your self feel bad.

  16. JV on March 1, 2016 at 09:04

    My relationship with myself is the worst. If I could get comfortable with “me” I think so many other relationships would be better. I am the source of so much of the conflict because I am so miserable with myself, that there is no way I can even assess where the issue lies, or if it even exists with others.

    • Dorothy on March 1, 2016 at 10:06

      I am so sorry for you JV. How painful that must be for you. I will be praying for you today. Do you have a family member who is a good friend with whom you can talk and pray with? Do you have a Minister of counsellor to help you?
      Just know that you are a Beloved of God, cherished and precious in His sight.
      I will pray for JV today.

      • Paul on March 2, 2016 at 16:53

        I will too.

        • Stephanie on March 3, 2016 at 15:46

          I’ve got JV in my prayers 3/3

  17. Paul on March 1, 2016 at 08:43

    I pray for Putin, ISIS, and politicians I revile, on the assumption that “an enemy is just a person whose story I haven’t heard yet.” I make a distinction between someone I “like” and someone I “love” — I can love someone without actually liking them or agreeing with their points of view. (Am I being inconsistent here?) I have mended all the relationships in my life which need mending, except for one whom I cannot find. I pray that I will.

  18. Betty Donahue on March 1, 2016 at 08:37

    I have at least two relationships that I know of that need mending, one that needs to be done anytime now, one that needs to wait a bit my health and well being as well as the two parties involved in that relationship. The first is my relationship with my brother- my mother was very concerned that we would not be close after she passed and indeed that has happened. He called recently and that went well. The next step in mine to make and i will do that today. The other relationship is the one I have with my step son and his so who are heroin addicts… they recently broke a very important promise to us not to use again and they have. I have broken this relationship because I cannot be involved with them for my as well as their health. At some point that may change… I will listen to the God for this answer. The relationship that needs strengthening is the one with my husband…we are okay but struggling because of my response to his son. I pray that this relationship be strengthened so that we may continue in our relationship.. I also believe this is the way for his son to gain his health. Dear Lord I pray for help with this. Amen

  19. Bettie on March 1, 2016 at 07:43

    At 83 I find I don’t need to ‘fight’ with people any more. I’m not employed so don’t have to fight for ‘how things should be done’. Its a nice place to be. I need to be accepting of my relationships with my family I am living with. I have now been in my mother-in-law suite for a year. Learning to live in a different household has been a true learning experience My daughter doesn’t run her house as I did; surprise! Prayer for acceptance and understanding is helping me progress.

  20. Suzanne on March 1, 2016 at 06:42

    If I am honest, every one of my relationships needs strengthening. Fortunately none need mending unless I have my head in the sand. It takes work to be in relationship and talking through disagreements or differences. It can also take time and prayer to get to the place of talking. Early on in this Rule of Life study I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

  21. Jim V on March 1, 2016 at 06:37

    I start with the broken, my relationship with my father has always been arm’s length and uncomfortable since he left our family when I was a teenager. He has been trying hard lately and reaching out daily and I need to pay attention to that.
    My own family is a place that needs strengthening. We don’t seem to be able to talk about difficult things together and people hide their wounds and troubles instead of reaching out. We need to grow together.
    My friend from youth has become distant to me and we need to get together more and reignite our friendship which was every close like brothers.

  22. Muriel Akam on March 1, 2016 at 04:41

    I am very adverse to conflict and tend to keep quiet , avoid situations which give rise to disagreements especially in work situations with the result that I I took a path of freelance work . In personal situations I think a good argument often clears the air but I do not think this should be the norm. I voice my opinions, needs , expectations and hope to find resolution. Respecting others to do the same is key to a good relationship. I pray to God for guidance and follow our Lord Jesus’s teaching s .I thank God for all friends , enemies, family and for my long marriage- 40 years!

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