This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.
Conflict in relationships isn’t easy: There’s hurt. There’s misunderstanding. And, at the same time, there are parts of us that are screaming to feel validated and understood.
The problem for many of us is we have learned to communicate in a way that actually pushes our partners away from truly understanding us or meeting our needs. It’s common to see criticism or contempt in a relationship where partners feel disconnected and misunderstood.
What causes conflict in relationships?
Ultimately, conflict is created by a lack of attunement. This is because one of our deepest needs is for others to understand, or attune to, us. This desire to be “seen” starts when we are young.
Take kids, for example: when they play hide-and-seek, they love to be found.
As adults, we crave to be seen in our rawness. To…