In my practice I find over and over again that people are afraid of conflict. So much so, that when someone does something that goes up their proverbial nose, they don’t say anything, withdraw, count to ten, get over it, or just ignore what just happened. Of course, conflict that is not resolved and goes underground so to speak, often comes out with nasty spats at the other person or even in verbal, physical, emotional, or mental violence. Conflict seems to be the big ugly beast that threatens people’s whole being.

However, no matter how much people struggle with conflict, there is now very strong evidence that you better learn how to deal with conflict. Researcher Dr. Eaker * has found that women who do not express their feelings about a conflict situation are four times more likely to die prematurely than women who express their feelings. Men who remain silent and don’t express their feelings in a conflict situation seem not to be affected by that.

It is obvious that suppressing feelings has a very strong impact on women’s physical health. Not only that, it also seems to contribute significantly to depression and other psychological problems.

What seems to have the biggest impact on people’s health is not just having a conflict or an argument, but the way in which people fight. Women are most affected when their partners use critical, hurtful, and disrespectful language. Men on the other hand are not so affected by the style of a fight. They show a strong decline in health when the conflict or the fight is about control.

It seems to be very clear that fighting fair and being effective in dealing with conflict is not only important for having a good relationship, it is also critical for one’s physical well-being.

If you are interested in learning how to avoid your relationship getting into trouble and what it takes to have a successful relationship, follow this link to sign up for my F*R*E*E 7-Step-mini e-course “The Secret to Successful Relationships”.

*Eaker, E.D., Sullivan, L.M., Kelly-Hayes, M., D'Agostino, R.B., Sr., and Benjamin, E.J. (2007). Marital status, marital strain and the risk of coronary heart disease or total mortality: The Framingham Offspring Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 69, 509-513.

Author's Bio: 

Hello, I am Dr. Gudrun Frerichs, the director and founder of Psychological Resolutions Ltd. I offer courses that focus on emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, understanding others, and relationship management) and communication skills because research has shown that positive social connections are in fact the most significant contributors to happiness, well-being, and quality of life.

Visit my website to find out about my courses for personal and professional development for enhancing work performance and improving quality of life.