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Resolving interpersonal conflicts

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Hiawatha922, Jun 25, 2023.

  1. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    I am wondering how important it is to resolve (or attempt to resolve) interpersonal conflicts when it comes to TMS healing. My relationship with my siblings (my brother in particular) isn't very strong and it seems unlikely that I will make much progress.

    One of the things I've noticed with my brother, for example, is that I typically need to initiate contact in order for us to connect. Yet when I don't connect with him, I feel bad about it. More recently, I've decreased my efforts to initiate contact with him (recognizing/desiring the value of more mutuality). I feel quite an internal conflict about this.

    This sibling relationship is a bit complicated. Any thoughts about how healing relates to resolution of interpersonal conflicts?
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, I think for you, you may need to resolve this, and that doesn’t necessarily involve him.
    Discover what about your lack of relationship with him is so hard for you, and work with those feelings, emotions and the thought cycles it provokes - the ones you call “feeling bad”. It’s the ability to accept these feelings, and understand they are normal, and why they make you feel unsafe and how you can regain an internal feeling of safety. Knowing you are not these bad feelings and thoughts.

    I think understanding this is solely about your own internal world and how that affects your external world can be difficult but pivotal. Having a lot of compassion for yourself as you work through this is important too. Knowing that forgiveness is more about setting yourself free than offering anything to anyone is also good news.

    Today there is a success story to be on the Sirpa website that is about a relationship with a brother. It might be helpful.
  3. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    A few additional thoughts. My brother and my sister are my closest living relatives. My sister has had mental health issues her whole adult life and she is currently living in a care facility. My brother, then, is my only living family member who is "functional".

    I find myself highly valuing connection with my brother, but there have also been numerous times where I've felt hurt and angry after interactions with him. It's a strange paradox, desiring connection but feeling the deep limitations of that connection. Communication has been a struggle with him. When he experiences a conflict, he often withdraws. Like our dynamics growing up, it feels like a lot is going on emotionally, but the emotions are never processed (very similar to my parents dealing with my dad's alcoholism).

    I recently went through separation/divorce (the divorce occurred this past December). I imagine one of the reasons I'm putting so much attention on the relationship with my brother is that I still feel a bit isolated/alone. Physically, I continue to experience symptoms like frozen shoulder and high eye pressure (diagnosed by an opthalmologist).

    Last night, I tossed and turned thinking about all of this. I woke up around 4:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.

    I meditate regularly and I know the Buddhist teaching is to find freedom even in the midst of turmoil. I'm not there yet but I guess that's why they call it "practice"!
  4. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Cactusflower. Your words mean a lot to me. I think you're right. There is an internal conflict going on here for me. In the past, I've had very similar experiences: feeling bad about lack of connection with my brother and then the feeling goes away (?) after reconnecting via text/phone/in-person. I'm guessing the solution isn't ALWAYS reaching out to connect. Managing my emotional life this way seems fragile (like contentment depends on someone else).
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Let’s reframe:
    “the past, I've had very similar experiences: feeling bad about lack of connection with my brother and then the feeling goes away (?) after reconnecting via text/phone/in-person”

    in the past I sweep my feelings under the rug after reconnecting with him - you can be hurt and still thankful for the connection.

    I am not in much contact with my sister. We love each other but we’re never close. I can not change her personal dynamic. I can not force or will connection with her, but I can find this feeling by connecting to myself, learning how to meet my own needs for connection. From what you have written about divorce etc. you may feel a separation anxiety which you aren’t even conscious of? For whatever reason, you are generating inner tension and anxiety.
    I do too!
    I am reading Sarah Blondin’s “Heart Minded” - and as a meditator, I think it will resonate with you. It’s small and with it you get access to free meditations that you do repeatedly before moving on in the book. The goal of the book is to help take you out of your head and into your heart.
  6. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Yes! This makes sense! I can be hurt and still thankful for the connection. I know initiating connection with him usually reduces a sense of stress/anxiety but maybe I need to explore this stress/anxiety a bit more and not react by immediately trying to make it go away.

    I also appreciate your words: "learning how to meet my own needs for connection."

    Thank you for the recommendation of "Heart Minded".
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2023
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Just a brief update. It's interesting (ironic) that a few minutes ago, I received an email from my brother. He said he's out of town for a few days and that his phone died.

    As expected, I do feel some relief from reconnecting. His message was a reply to an email I sent him a few days ago. I think this is an opportunity for me to explore this issue further. What are the fears/anxieties about?

    I mentioned eye pressure earlier in this thread, so I just wanted to share this: Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Intraocular Pressure, Lowers Stress Biomarkers and Modulates Gene Expression in Glaucoma: A Randomized Controlled Trial - PubMed (nih.gov)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Have you ever taken the ACES quiz, or read/heard anything on Gabor Matte? The ACES quiz scores childhood “trauma”. This can be big or small “trauma”.
    Both Matte, and a book recommended here “Childhood Disrupted” (all about ACES) contend that “traumas” to tiny children/babies can seem huge to a developing mind, and that these are not really terrible things, just things that happen when imperfect humans raise imperfect humans.
    I don’t really need to dig very deep to see where these things developed. I journaled about them, forgave the instances, saw how they affect me now and just try to acknowledge them when they do bug me. Feel the emotions they provoke and work on developing new habits that serve me better now.
    ACES https://developingchild.harvard.edu/media-coverage/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean/ (Take the ACE Quiz – And Learn What It Does and Doesn't Mean - Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University)

    If you have not yet done the SEP program offered here for free, I recommend it. It guides you through exercises to gain awareness of some of these things., helps you not to dwell on them.
  9. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Yes, I really like Gabor Mate and I've looked at some of the ACEs material. I think it will be helpful to revisit some of these things, along with the SEP.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can't remember which podcast I hear this on recently, but I do recall this reminder, which is that doing this work is not about solving the problems in your life - it's about changing your response to them.

    You and @Cactusflower have both said the same thing above, of course. Just a different set of words on the same topic ;)

    Nice find!
    Ellen likes this.
  11. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, JanAtheCPA. It's amazing how "responses" almost seem hard-wired, like "high alert" or "time to panic". But it's so helpful to realize there is choice!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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