Even though the past is OVER, the conflict cycle remains active. In fact, it often helps you resurrect the past! You disagree, then think about past issues with this person and drag those into the present.
Once you go through the essential elements of the conflict cycle, you become aware of the pain you create for yourself and others—time to wake up and get out of the cycle.
It all starts with something that creates Tension between you and another person. What is most often true is that tension is linked to other unresolved tensions.
Tension leads to a Role Dilemma or blaming the other person for the tension and the problem. Then both of you start Gathering Injustices to use as ammunition for the inevitable showdown.
You fire your best shots during the Confronting phase of the conflict cycle because it's about winning, not resolution. The confrontation may be shortly after the tension is felt or maybe weeks or months later.
Those elements lead us to the critical Adjusting phase, which has at least four options.
- The injustices gathered aren't good enough, so you resurrect old unresolved complaints - "I've got more issues!".
- There is a break in the confrontation, so it is time to "gather more stuff."
- The "I'm out of here!" option can be confusing because it may look like resolution to some - "agreeing to disagree." The fighting may even stop - at least for a while. But all this option does is allow the tension to become dormant - there is no resolution. This happens in divorces and especially separations, but don't be fooled - it is only the calm between the storms until you RESOLVE the issue.
Most important, the only escape from the Conflict Cycle is option number 4 - Resolution! That means you pull the power plug to the tension, allowing the past to be OVER.
Forgiveness - The Path to Resolution
Forgiveness and the grace of God are the only reasons Louie and I are together today in a great marriage - not suffering the multiple pains and problems of divorce. God energized us to forgive each other, close the door on the past, and set our sights on healing our relationship through His power. Click here to see our video testimony. As a result of watching, we hope you also experience the power of forgiveness and the marvelous grace of God.
Especially relevant, forgiveness is the only remedy to get over the past and the pain that someone creates in your life. As stated in the blog Forgiveness Frees You from Pain, and the FREE course Freedom from Resentments, Bitterness, and Grudges, there are severe consequences to unforgiveness, and it leaves you in the conflict cycle - so, as we say, "enjoy the pain."
But, when you decide to "never abuse them for the wrong they did to you - not in thought, word or action" - you unchain yourself from the wrong they did to you. Those words in red are the GR8 Relationships definition of forgiveness. Take the time to go through the forgiveness course - Freedom from Resentments, Bitterness, and Grudges.
Also, your understanding and application of forgiveness help you remove the pain of the past, just like throwing away trash - you don't need it and will not use it anymore.
Forgiveness - When Linked Prevents Use and Resolution
Finally, you can miss the benefits of forgiveness because other actions get tacked onto it. For example, "forgive and forget" combines forgiving and forgetting. That is harmful because you think you have not forgiven if you remember the event.
Or some believe that when you forgive, you must reconcile or restore the relationship with the person that harmed you. Conversely, some believe that forgiveness means condoning bad behavior or that forgiveness is the same as pardoning.
None of that is true because forgiveness stands alone as a separate action. There is no link to any of those other items. You do not need to forget, reconcile, condone, or pardon someone as an additional component of forgiveness.
Consider the truth table to the right. When you mistakenly link forgive and forget together - you believe only 50% of reality, or you DO NOT believe the four boxes on the RIGHT side of the table are real or part of reality.
Actually, 100% of reality says there are two other options:
- I CAN forgive (+) and NOT forget (-)
- I CAN forget (+) and NOT forgive (-)
The table helps prove that forgiveness and forgetting are not linked. Forgiveness stands alone. It is separate from and has no causal links to forgetting or other issues like reconciliation, restoration, pardoning, etc.
Use the Conflict Cycle to move you toward forgiveness so that you can resolve issues. Live in reality - the past is OVER!!
PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships