Dr. Emi Garzitto
Conflict is Relationship
The greater the investment in the relationship the greater the investment in the conflict. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.
The most challenging mediations that I do are between individuals who have a deep connection. Families, marriages, long term partnerships or people who have a lot at stake. The greater the investment in the relationship the greater the investment in the conflict.
In the initial conversations between two feuding parties there will be a great deal of storytelling. Each party will have a version of what has happened, what is going wrong and what is going right. It is always important for each person to get a chance to get the initial story out. Inside every story is a feeling that the other side is wrong. Generally, the story will be that the other party is at fault and if they would only do A B or C the relationship would work out or the workplace problem or partnership would be resolved.
This isn't to say that experienced behaviour isn't harmful or abusive. Even when the power imbalance is enormous and harassment, bullying, and intimidation exist, conflict is a kind of relationship. It is a connection.
You want badly to get something from the other side that is not there and it points to a wound, a pain, or a belief that needs your attention.
If that wasn't the case you would not be fighting so hard to remain in the conflict.
Someone can tell me that I look look old and fat and it may crush me and someone can say the exact same thing and it does nothing to me. The difference is my belief in the statement My own attachment to the words will create the pain, the discomfort or the suffering.
In conflict we are helping each other out. We are finding the spaces and places within our own landscape that need attending and that is critical work. We can do that work when we hold ourselves accountable to the relationships.
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.