Active Duty Military: Navigating Conflict and Managing Communication
There are few professions as daunting and stressful as First Responders and Active Duty Military, and these lines of work present unique interpersonal challenges in work life and home life. This month, our blog is dedicated to talking openly about how the durability, flexibility, and communication within marriages, friendships, and families are tested during Active Duty years.
From parenting, to finances, to mismatched responsibilities, trust, and beyond, interpersonal conflicts will arise in one’s most treasured relationships, and with the added stress particular to Active Duty Military, or the pressures of First Response work, it’s normal for these conflicts to crop up frequently and intensely.
Keep reading to learn more, and if you find yourself in want of more information, resources, or therapy sessions with these issues at the forefront of your care, contact Central Arkansas Group Counseling team to schedule a session with one of our caring team members.
Active Duty Military: Talking About The Problem
While our loved ones may know us well, better than anyone else, no one is a mind-reader, so even if you think you’re being overt about a budding unhappiness, there is no way for anyone to know there is a problem, or what the problem is, until it’s named out loud. Communication will be key.
First Responders and folks who are still Active Duty Military are in consistent, routine situations in which they need to triage, and so when conflicts or issues of malcontent are skirted around, avoided, or just not openly discussed or acknowledged, someone used to triaging may, unconsciously, shelve the problem, because they’re clocking it as a non-emergency.
Not everything worth discussing needs to be an emergency, but it is important that everyone have a voice, that everyone be seen and heard, and so while not necessarily an urgent matter, talking out interpersonal conflict is a significant matter, and so raising the alarm is where we begin.
Active Duty Military: Communicating With Compassion
Addressing conflict can be an anxiety-provoking issue in and of itself. No one likes telling a loved one that they’re unhappy, hurt, or struggling, and no one means to contribute to further stress on someone whose work is so inherently demanding.
How we speak to each other is paramount, and while emotions may be running high, remember that you and your loved one are a team – it’s not you versus your loved one, it’s you and your loved one versus The Problem.
All parties can practice being mindful of one another when confronting and navigating interpersonal disputes, and perspective-taking can be helpful; imagining yourself on the other side of the issue at hand can open you further to sensitivity and empathy.
The best way to initiate meaningful communication, especially about difficult subjects, is to approach your loved one with kind regard, patience, and compassion. Come to them, solution-oriented, and ask how, together, you can bridge the division between you.
Active Duty Military: Setting Healthy Boundaries and Keeping the Floor Open
When in discussion, maintain healthy boundaries by taking accountability – all anyone can control or represent is themselves, and so avoid accusatory language, and focus energy on expressing yourself and your concerns fully, and kindly. As an example, shifting, “you are making me angry, and you’re ignoring me,” to “I want you to understand my frustration, but I don’t feel heard by you.”
Rather than potentially eliciting a knee-jerk, defensive response, this allows an open channel of communication where the truest feelings are still being expressed, and a clear goal is set; being heard and understood. More than that, you’re communicating that you can’t meet this goal alone, and you want your loved one on your team.
Keep the consideration of your loved one at the top of your mind, no matter what side of the table you’re on; everyone is enduring stress, no one can navigate these proverbial waters alone, and your loved ones want to connect, they want to support you, and just staying present is the proof that they want to work together to fix what’s not serving you best.
Once that open line of communication is present, maintain it with regular conversation, revisit these conflicts and resolutions to check in, and keep your mind and heart open for whatever challenge may come next.
We know not every conflict can be so easily resolved, and the good news is, you never have to do it alone; remember that you can call our team in Benton or North Little Rock to schedule a session with our well-educated, well-trained staff. We are here to help, and we are ready and eager to help serve all those that have served us so bravely.