Identifying Underlying Fears Beneath the Conflict 

Many conflicts arise out of fear. Identifying what these fears are can be helpful in establishing a solution. This can help you determine a course of action to address your fears while also working toward meeting your partner’s needs.

When you disagree with your partner, ask yourself, “What am I afraid will happen if I don’t intervene?” Answering this question is an important step that is often overlooked.

For example, Jennifer found that it was helpful when she acknowledged her underlying fears during her conflict with Jason. Jason wanted to go to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Jennifer was opposed to going and they got into an argument about it. Jennifer was able to identify that her underlying fear was that she would be missing out on opportunities to spend with her family and she feared they would grow apart.

By identifying this fear, she was able to identify some strategies that she could do to make sure she could still spend plenty of quality time with her family. Once Jason understood how important this was for her, he assisted her in making more time for her family as well. With this in mind, Jennifer felt more at ease about spending the holiday with Jason’s family.

Many disagreements are due to fears about the relationship. For example, when your spouse spends time with friends, you may get into an argument due to your fears that you aren’t spending enough time together which might cause marital problems.

Money can be another underlying fear that causes arguments. When your spouse spends money differently than you do, an argument may arise due to your fears about not having enough money in the bank.

Identifying your fears can help you talk to your partner. Sharing that you are fearful about not having enough money can lead to a productive discussion versus simply arguing about your spouse’s spending habits. Talk to your partner about your worries and work together on problem-solving how to respond.

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