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For most of us, our families are the source of incredible joy and support in our lives. The family unit is one of the most treasured institutions in cultures around the world, and those with strong, healthy familial relationships often report increased physical as well as mental health. The importance of strong familial bonds cannot be overstated.
Despite this, families can likewise be one of the greatest sources of strife and stress in our lives. No family is immune from conflict, and even the most loving and caring family members find themselves at odds with each other every now and then. While temporary and minor conflicts may not lead to greater consequences, prolonged issues within families can have serious consequences for all involved, and the many benefits of strong family bonds can be turned on their head and become a source of misery for those who find themselves locking horns with one another.
Sources of familial conflict often occur when conflicting values come into play. This can arise due to differing expectations between different generations of each family, but it is not uncommon for conflicts to occur between family members of the same generation (such as siblings or cousins) to take place as well. Disagreements over familial assets and personal issues are often potent sources of conflict for families, and due to the emotionally charged nature of these conflicts, can often be the most hurtful and destructive types of conflict we face in our day to day lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Family Conflict
While each family is different in what it accepts as normal, there are certain behaviors and attitudes that are never healthy for a family of loved ones. If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar to you, it may be an indication that there is some unresolved family conflict holding you and your loved ones back. Signs of family conflict include:
Family conflict isn't easy on anyone. Left unaddressed, hurt feelings and bitterness surrounding the conflict can fester and make the problem worse. Occasionally, family conflict erupts into violence, abuse, or a fracturing of the family unit, leading to even greater stress and antipathy. Given the enormous health consequences of broken and dysfunctional families, it is important that those experiencing familial conflict learn to address their issues in a safe, judgement-free setting.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Family conflicts are often emotionally charged, and thus, there is a greater risk of emotional injury when this conflict is addressed. Additionally, unhealthy coping mechanisms are often repeated in families, leading to a cycle of dysfunction that often cannot be stopped without the help of an outside authority. If you've struggled with conflict in your family, it can feel like there is little hope in restoring peace to the family unit. You may have come to accept this dysfunction as the new normal. Fortunately, however, with the help of a qualified professional, those who struggle with family conflict can find peace and resolve these issues.
As third parties with no emotional stake in the success or failure of the family unit, a trained family counselor can help lend an objective perspective to family members in conflict, whose judgement may be too clouded by feelings of bitterness or emotional pain to react appropriately. Family counselors can get to the root issues of family conflict without needlessly inflaming tensions, and help family members find a peaceable resolution to their issues. Although some issues, such as abuse and domestic violence, may be beyond the help of a family counselor, most conflicts between family members can be addressed and resolved successfully in these counseling sessions, provided all parties are willing to show up and do the work necessary to rebuild healthy relationships.
At Overcomers Counseling, we know how difficult family conflict can be on all involved. Our trained staff are ready to help you address these issues and help build the relationships you deserve. If you and your family are ready to take the first step in having healthier, mutually beneficial relationships, give us a call or send us an e-mail. Call 719-345-2424.