Conflict Resolution – Family Connections

Haleh Banani

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Salam Alikum conflict is inevitable within your family, especially when you're cooped up together. So we're going to talk about how to resolve these conflicts that are going to come up how do you resolve them? How do you avoid them, and in sha Allah how to navigate this with ease and confidence Bismillah was salat wa salam ala Rasulillah. So what happens is that when a conflict happens is that many people have one of three ways of dealing with it. Either there's avoidance behavior, where you just pretend it's not happening. Some people will go into the silent treatment, this is an all time favorite of many of the clients that I have a problem comes up, instead of facing it, instead of

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talking it out. They just prefer to ignore their spouse sometimes for a week, sometimes several weeks. And other times, I have heard of people giving the silent treatment for months to their spouse. And this is something that is definitely it creates a lot of tension in the home. It creates a lot of animosity. And if you allow the problem to just simmer, it becomes worse with every passing hour, the problem becomes worse so it's best to address the problem. And we see that what Allah says in surah two la Jara in normal mode menu Anna whatton For our slash obeying a hallway calm what medical law Hello, I like Home Tour ham on that the believes believers are brothers. So make

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settlement between your brothers and fear Allah. So you may receive mercy notices. So beautiful if we realize that we have the sisterhood and brotherhood, and that we need to have mercy. And what I love about it is when as soon is it says to resolve the conflict. It says tugela Right, you need to have that God consciousness, you need to be aware that Allah is watching you. And you need to have a bit of sense of like this accountability, right? I remember one of the books of Dr. Phil said, conduct your fights with your spouse as if it's going to be aired on the seven o'clock news. Now, if it was going to be aired, and the whole community was going to see how you treat your spouse, you're

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going to be a lot more conscious or you're going to be a lot more polite, you're going to take turns you're not going to overreact. Right. So we need to have of course, that son and that and that awareness that Allah is watching us and that if we want mercy from Allah, then we need to resolve these issues with ease. And we've can't just give a person a silent treatment because this is a cruel form of punishment. And we find that in the Hadith of the Prophet salallahu Salam it is not permissible for a Muslim to have estranged relations with his brothers beyond three nights. The one turning one away and the other turning the other way when they meet. The better of the two is the

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one who is the first to give the greeting. So you find and this is in Muslim, you find that a lot of people whether it is within their household with their spouse, it could be with you

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People in the community, they just stopped talking with one another and they cut ties. And this creates a lot of tension. And it's and the Prophet salaallah alayhi salam is telling us that you should not have this, like not talking to one another for more than three days. So this is it's a timeframe that we need to get our act together. I personally don't think that you should even wait those three days. I personally think if the sooner so this is kind of like the maximum don't go beyond this. But if you can resolve it, and I'm going to teach you Inshallah, some effective ways of doing it, because part of the reason that most people avoid conflict is because they don't know how

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to do it, most people do not have any kind of conflict resolution, it is non existent, it is really non non existent because what I find is that the majority of people are very good at starting conflict. But when it comes to resolving it doesn't matter how educated they are, it doesn't matter how accomplished how knowledgeable in the deen, but a really regress when it comes to resolving conflict. So it's really critical for us moving forward, and we're approaching Ramadan, for us to learn how to resolve our issues. Because if you have conflict inside your home, if you're mad, if you're frustrated, if you're fighting all the time, then going into Ramadan, you're going to go with

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this, this heavy heart, and we need to make sure that we are going in with an open heart and ready ready to embrace embrace in sha Allah this blessed month now. So one is that people just avoid and they get the silent treatment. Another way that there is avoidance is that they walk out, they walk away, right. And this is an all time favorite. For sometimes many men that I have done counseling with many couples, this is a way that they are trying to avoid the fight escalating, okay, and I get where they're coming from, I understand that they don't want to say or do something, and they just walk out because they're like, I don't want to I don't want to be reactionary. However, when you

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walk out what the person is interpreting your behavior as you don't care, the you know, you just could care. Yeah, you don't care. And you're basically being very disrespectful when you just get up and walk out. So the best way to deal with this is to express what you're doing. You say I am feeling pretty heated right now I'm very upset. And I need to cool off, and I need time to cool off. And what is very notorious of many women is wanting to insist on the problem being resolved, right? Because they have seen the avoidance behavior, they want to get a resolution. And because of this cycle, the woman insists No, we're talking about it right now, right here, you have to talk about

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it. And many times, this leads to just a couple of becoming actually physical. So the man will go into another room, he's trying to shut the doors like no, you don't, or he's trying to leave the house. She stands there, no, you can't leave. And I've had very well meaning, you know, couples there are they're very righteous, mashallah very practicing very educated, and they get into a physical fight at this point. So you need to really give the other person's space, if they're not in the right mindset to talk about it. You don't want to talk to someone who's not going to be stable, if they're going to yell and scream and do rude things, then it's best to just avoid it. Personally,

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I think you need to respect yourself and step aside and allow the person to regain composure to you know, get their wrap their head around this, right. So if you're walking away, express that you need time to cool off. And if the person is walking out, you need to allow them to just cool off right, then there's the behavior of just sulking, feeling sad and feeling depressed and feeling like everything is horrible. And it's very difficult to be around the person who has all of these behaviors, right? It is actually a very immature way of dealing with this and many of the behaviors I'm going to talk to you about that. That how people usually deal with conflict. This is a

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unfortunately unresolved issues from childhood and and you know, not learning how to deal with conflict. So many people regressed to when they were teenagers or when they were toddlers even and they want to pout, they want to yell. They want to act out in a way just to get their way. So whatever you were a kid

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Stuck to doing when you were younger, this kind of creeps up when you're trying to resolve conflict as an adult. So this sulking around acting sad. And then the other way of avoidance is that it is by withdrawing, you withdraw. So you show no affection, you're just totally withdrawn both physically and emotionally. So this can lead to a lot of problems. So imagine, imagine a couple who they have an issue, there's a conflict they had, they maybe had a fight, and they're not resolving it is just ignoring this leads to more and more frustration. So first way said is that you some people avoid it, okay. So they just basically, avoid,

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avoid the problem is second way is that people become very aggressive. So this is a way and this is a method that some people use as a way to shut the other person up, okay, the there's a yelling, there is screaming there is blaming, and it's like, well, if I can just be really loud and obnoxious, then the other person is going to back out, right. And this is a strategy that many people have been accustomed to using, there are some manipulative forms of behavior that people have just adopted, everyone kind of goes along with it, whether it was, you know, with the parents, they just let them get away with it. Sometimes, the spouse actually feeds into this, like, I don't want

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it, I don't want problems. I don't want to deal with this. So it's like, you know, what we're gonna do whatever you say, and this is a very dysfunctional household. If you feel that you have to walk on eggshells, or if you have people walking on eggshells around you, this is the most dysfunctional thing. It is not empowerment, when people are afraid to act, or to say anything in front of you. That is, that is the ultimate dysfunctional family. There needs to be openness, there needs to be this freedom to be able to express yourself. It's not like a, you know, you don't want to be a tyrant in your own home. And I have had people confess to me, they confess that, you know, in my

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home, I am a tyrant, whether it's the man or the woman, they will just confess, and I actually admire the fact that they can be honest. Because when you're honest with yourself, when you see the problem, then you know, you're halfway there. Recognizing that there is a problem means that you're going to seek help, you're going to learn about it and you're going to correct yourself. But unfortunately, many people are in denial. One of the first jokes I ever heard, when I was doing my master's program, the professor said denial is not just the river in Egypt, okay, now I used that joke in Egypt denial. And it never went over well, because they're like, it is a river in Egypt, you

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know, denial, but denial, when you are just oblivious to the fact that you have a problem. Now, when someone actually has the audacity to say that when they feel that they have not contributed anything to a problem that they're having, for me, as the counselor, red flags go up, because it's like, if you don't even see, if you can't even admit that you have done anything, then that means this person is not really in touch with themselves. They don't do enough introspection, maybe they have not done enough reading on the material, maybe they have not had enough training in conflict resolution, because the most the most, let's say, a dot like thing to do, is to recognize that you contribute to

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the problem one way or another, right? When you can take ownership of that. And you can see that you know what, yes, maybe maybe I overreacted. Maybe I was a little bossy. Maybe I was, you know, being a little manipulative, whatever it is, if you can recognize that within yourself, then you know, half the battle is over. Right? But when someone just refuses to to believe that, then that is telling me that there are bigger issues, right? I've had individuals who come and they will tell me Well, these are like the 10 things I want you to change and my husband you change these and I don't need counseling because you know, I already know all this stuff. I don't need to I don't need to

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work on my just change my husband or the you know, the the husband will come and say your sister, I don't have problem just fix my just fix my wife. She is my problem, you know, and you see that if you are just putting all the blame on another person, that means that you're just not in touch with what's really happening because everything is a you know the stimulus

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Send response. So something is happening to, to cause this response. So we can really take control and change so many things about ourselves and elicit a different response. So that's, you know, that's when someone becomes very aggressive. So they're blaming, they may be gaslighting. So as soon as you bring up a problem with them, they turn it around, and it says, No, but you do this, and that that's a form of manipulation, right? So either they avoid it, or they're aggressive. The third thing, which like I said, is almost non existent is conflict resolution. That is when you take necessary steps to express yourself in a calm manner, and reach a conclusion right now, most people

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because maybe they because they haven't watched this, they haven't seen it, it hasn't been demonstrated to them, they just automatically assume that everything when you disagree with someone, there has to be a fight. And that leads to a lot of issues because one person may have those skills of conflict resolution right there trying to go through the steps, you know, here's the issue, what do we need to do, let's resign, the other person is in that mindset of, I gotta yell, I gotta scream, I gotta cry, I gotta, you know, create drama, and then there's no resolution that is going to be reached. So we need to, we need to work on our self, we need to really learn conflict

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resolution should be a course, that is required for every human being, because we're faced with conflict on a daily basis. Now, whether that's at work, whether that's with your spouse, whether it's with your kids, and if you don't know how to resolve these conflicts, and things are just going to escalate. I mean, since 1998, I've been working with individuals with 1000s of people worldwide, and resolving their problems seeing the most difficult thing, things that have been labeled as impossible. And taking it step one step at a time, and teaching people and empowering them to actually resolve their own issues. And you can get to a point, you can get to a point that you can

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go through this with ease, it doesn't have to always be a fight, you don't have to just ignore it. You don't have to just pretend that you go along with everything that your spouse says just to avoid a fight, right? A healthy relationship means that you have the freedom to express yourself, you have to share what is bothering you, you have to be open. And if you are making others feel like you are a ticking time bomb, this is an indication that it is time to work on yourself and get rid of this right people should be relaxed around you, they should feel joy around you, they should feel that you bring comfort, right? You know what gyla Bay nakoma What that tone was mad that Allah has made

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that love and that mercy. So are you providing that right? If people are feeling so tense, being around you then that that's not a depiction of that of that love and the mercy You know, I love the example of the Jura, the Allahu anha. And how she was so emotionally stable. And because she was emotionally stable, because she was in tune with herself and she had herself together, then the amazing thing was that her husband, the Prophet, salallahu, alayhi salam came to her when he was at a time of need, when he was overwhelmed when he got the why he the Revelation, he went to his wife, because she was emotionally present for him. And she had it together. So we really need to be that

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for one another. Right? So this is a topic that I could, I could talk for hours. And I have actually 20 videos on conflict resolution in my marriage program, because it is so critical to learn, first of all, how to avoid a problem. How do you discuss in a way that is very effective that you can just get things off your chest because I don't believe in just suppressing. You can just suppress overlooked, overlooked, overlooked, suppressed, suppressed, suppressed because eventually it it boils up, right it's kind of there, you're going to be like a volcano. How many people do you know who have you know, taken a taken a take it and then before you know it, there's an explosion and

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everyone's wondering, Well, what happened, what's going on? It's because they've kept it and they haven't addressed it. So we need to learn a way of expressing ourselves without it being you know, without it being an attack. And you resolve this because right now, like I said, we're approaching Ramadan, and I know that people are getting really frustrated

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within, within their household, I have so many clients and couples who tell me that their spouse is getting on their nerves, their kids are frustrated. And we really need to emotionally correct things before entering Ramadan, right, we need to go in with like an open heart, we need to approach it, where we're not angry and frustrated and mad at each other, because that is definitely going to affect our whole sense of our worship, right. So let's let us really make a commitment to work on this. And if there's any, any conflict that we need to resolve, let's take action inshallah. So, a very quick and easy way for you to remember this, okay, this is what I use. What I use with many of

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my clients is think of the acronym resolve, okay, resolve, R, E, S, O, L, V, e, okay? So result the R stands for reach out, you need to reach out, you cannot expect your spouse to be a mind reader. You know, a lot of times I men and women are notorious for this, that, if he loves me, he'll know what to say, if he loves me, he'll know what to do well, really, a lot of times, they may not have a clue, your spouse may not have a clue what you want. So you need to reach out you need to be able to express yourself, then we have E is for emotion, okay? You need to share what you're feeling can start with yourself. Because a lot of times, what ends up happening is that people come and they're

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just like, you know, you that you never do this, and you're like that, and this, and the person feels defensive. And because they feel, you know, they feel attacked, so they become defensive. So sharing your emotion like this is like, you know, I feel really sad, I feel really sad, when you're not helping me, I feel very frustrated, when you're raising your voice and whatever it is, you share it, okay, and then start off with something pleasant about the person, okay, say that, you know, I, for instance, you could say, well, I appreciated the fact that you helped out yesterday, and then you can talk about, but I really need more help in this situation, right. And so you address you

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acknowledge the positive, and then you express your need, then be very, very specific. So the ass is to be specific, because what generally happens is that when a when a discussion, or as people like to say they like to call it a fight, okay? And, and I tell them, what is your goal in counseling, and they will say, teach me how to fight like, I'm not, I'm not going to teach you how to fight, I'm going to teach you how to resolve your conflict, right? So many times people feel like, okay, it's a fight, it's me against them, and I'm going to, you know, I'm going to take them out, and I'm going to win. And it's that mindset, that is a problem, right? So you need to be very specific and stick

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to one topic. Okay. So for instance, you talk about the fact that I would, you know, what is the, like, let's say you will, you will indicate the specific problem and stick to that just one thing. And you know, as women we are notorious for, you know, going from branch to branch and saying, Your mama did this and her sister that and, and we just, you know, take this one situation and bring, you know, 20 years of history into it. So, that's not going to be effective. And that's exactly why some men run away, they run away from it, because like, Oh, God, here we go. Again, I'm going to be up to one o'clock in the morning, one of my clients actually said that said, you know, she'll keep me up

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until one o'clock, two o'clock, and he's a resident, he has, you know, he has a full day of just like surgery and so much to do, and he gets so frustrated because if a discussion happens, it is like everything from the past 20 years will be you know, our however many years will be brought up. So your specific you have to be very specific about what it is that you need, okay? Because if you just say something general, okay, that oh, you never spend time with me, you can be very specific and say, you know, I really would like for you to spend time with me after work for you know, for an hour 30 minutes to an hour, or I really need you to help me in let's say the cleanup whatever it is,

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be specific about it. Then open up right you need to be open you need to be able to share what it is that you know that you're going through and l okay the L is to listen, listen, k that is another course that everyone should be required.

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Ready to take I took a whole semester on, you know, the effect of therapeutic skills on how to make someone feel heard. One of the number one complaints I get from COUPLES IS my spouse doesn't listen, they don't listen to hear me, but they don't listen to me, they're not understanding me. So you really need to learn how to listen without judgment, and how to take that information and, and really get to understand your spot, then it's about the V is voiced your solution, you need to come up with a solution. You know what I find that a lot of times when a person is frustrated and angry, they're not even sure what they want. If you don't know what you want, how do you expect your spouse

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to figure out what you want. So come in very specific, this is the problem, this is what I need. And when you're

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when you you know voice the solution, then they have a fair chance at achieving it. And then the E for resolve is end on a good note. And on a good note, you know, you don't want to open this and cause friction so that you avoid each other and then go into the silent treatment or aggression and fighting. So you have to end it on a good note. appreciate the fact that they listen, appreciate the fact that they're, you know, willing to help out. So again, I'll repeat it, we have resolve is the acronym R is for reach out, reach out to the E is emotion, share your emotions, share what you're feeling, as is for being specific, you have to be specific about what is it that you want the O is

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to be open, be open with what you're feeling and what you are, what what you're experiencing L is to listen, listen, to understand, not just to respond, most people listen. And they're thinking, Hmm, I know what I'm gonna say, Yep, I'm just waiting, just waiting to give a rebuttal, right. But that's not the way that you're going to resolve issues. If you're listening just to respond, then you're not going to get anywhere, it's really like an A, one of one psychologists was saying that

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the problem is not over until one person starts to listen, okay? That it will not, excuse me,

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it will not be over until someone actually listens. And what I see with a lot of my clients when they are having a joint session is that, you know, one person is saying their perspective, the other one saying the, you know, their own perspective, and they're not really listening. So it's just like this, you know, they're just doing these parallel conversation. So one person needs to sit, listen, and understand and make the other person feel understood until you can, you know, resolve the issue. So that's voice your solution. So we said reach out Rs for reach out, E is for emotion, S for is to be specific O is for open, L is to listen, V is voice, your solution, you got to come up with a

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solution. And if you don't have a solution, try to discuss it try to negotiate. And then II is to end on a good note. Okay, so I pray that all of us, all of us can create a peaceful home, right? This is happening for a reason we're all you know, we are all globally at home together with our families, and some people you know, it's difficult, there may be single moms, maybe someone is completely alone. And it those have their own challenges. But if you are with your with your family, and you're with your loved ones, and you're not feeling so loved, or they're, you know, or they're not being very lovable, which is understandable, I mean, realize that we suddenly went from very

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little time together to seeing each other 24/7 So it's bound to happen where you're, you're sad or frustrated or your needs are not met. But you can either do you know you can either avoid, you can either be aggressive, or you can learn how to have this conflict resolution where you you know, you express yourself and you come to a conclusion. So I pray that we all have the wisdom to know how to resolve our problems with our family, with our with family and friends and community members so that we can go into Ramadan with a clean heart, and we can go and really feel the spirituality that we're not bogged down by any conflict that is just stirring up inside

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It is right and if you let it simmer if you let the problem simmer then it's just gonna get worse hour by hour it gets worse and I I have seen individuals who have let it simmer for sometimes months and it because they are so well you know they're so fired up so if you the sooner you clean up the mess, the better the emotional mess so just like a large hadron I hope that we can all resolve our our problems and our conflicts with ease with confidence and with God consciousness in sha Allah Salam aleikum.

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