When does a conflict turn unhealthy?

When does a conflict turn unhealthy?

Interpersonal conflicts are common, and happen between people for various reasons. It can be an argument or disagreement over how things should be done, accountability, or simply due to misunderstanding.

Not only are conflicts common, but it can be healthy for the development of your relationships to confront and deal with those conflicts.

One problem is that people are generally avoidant when it comes to conflict, and conflict resolution. This often leads to problems being swept under the rug, and allowed to fester and become worse over time. There are other ways that conflicts can turn unhealthy.

Lack of Civility
Civility allows us to interact with each other in a respectful manner. When people treat each other with respect, we make considerations for each other. When we don’t make considerations for each other, there is less room for finding a middle ground.

The words we use matter when speaking to each other, especially in times of interpersonal conflict with emotions running high. Once people start attacking each other verbally, it becomes abusive and escalates the argument and conflict.

When civility is thrown out the window, any chance of resolution goes as well because everyone involved is now defensive from feeling attacked.

There is always a degree of forwardness and bluntness in disagreements, but you have to watch out for hostility that can escalate the disagreement to an unhealthy level. This can lead to verbal abuse or other violent behaviour; which is an extreme reaction to interpersonal conflict.

Passive aggressiveness
This is an indirect aggressive behaviour. Being avoidant, and unwilling to talk, or compromise are passive aggressive behaviours. These behaviours negatively affect the situation and can prolong conflicts and contiribute to furthering the emotional distress of the situation. Sometimes, people who aren’t overly aggressive are passive aggressive. Though it does not present itself as extreme as direct aggression, passive aggressiveness can just as easily make a bad situation worse by undermining attempts to resolve the conflict.

At the end of the day, conflicts are a fact of life. Conflicts happen as a matter of course; but knowing how not to make things worse, and knowing how to resolve the situation are skills that everyone needs to be able to function properly and to their potential.

Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about your deepest emotions, and discover how you can help yourself and your loved ones overcome their fears, disappointments, and life challenges in order to build a more meaningful, and happier life.


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