How to Communicate in the Middle of Conflict

by | Dec 26, 2020 | Divorce

Man and woman holding hands with small child

Most people do not know how to communicate in the middle of conflict. Many professionals say that it is the breakdown in communication that leads to the destruction of relationships.

If people know how to communicate in the middle of conflict, more relationships could be saved.

Generally, in my opinion as an Orlando divorce lawyer, people do not communicate effectively when they are in conflict with someone else. Whether the conflict is with a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or employer, communicating with the other people in the conflict can often be extremely difficult. I imagine many of you reading this article have heard statements like the following: “You never listen to me.” “I know you intended to hurt me!” “You know I am right, and that you are to blame for this.” “What you are saying simply can’t be true because I know what the truth really is.” “You are not allowed to be that way.” “If you would just change and see things my way, this wouldn’t be so difficult.” For many reasons, people leave arguments or conflicts wondering “how in the world am I going to fix this?” Fortunately, fantastic techniques and skills to communicate and resolve conflicts in a more constructive, respectful, and healthy way exist. First, we examine one of the key reasons communication in conflict is typically non-productive.


Conflicts, including almost every Orlando divorce case, involve conflicting perceptions and values. We each see the world through a unique lens. Our life experiences and values filter the way we see the world. Each person experiences life in a unique way. Therefore, each person naturally has a unique perspective on a conflict. It is the lack of appreciation and understanding of these differences that perpetuates conflict instead of moving people closer to resolution. How does one become a more effective communicator in the midst of a conflict?


Learn the skill I refer to as “Listening to Understand.” People frequently complain that they don’t feel heard. People in conflict typically defend a position rather than seek to understand the other person’s perspective on the conflict. People defend their perspective as the right one…the correct one. Thus, a typical argument looks like a volleyball match. Each person tries to convince the other person that his/her perspective is right and the other person’s perspective is wrong. Just like a volleyball being tossed over the net from one side to the other. To be a better communicator during conflict, turn the communication into an opportunity to learn. Demonstrate willingness to listen to the other’s perspectives. Acknowledge that every perspective has merit. You will reach the crux of a conflict more effectively than trying to defend a position. As human beings, we need to feel that we are understood and appreciated. Show another that you are willing to listen and consider their perspective. This demonstrates that you care. Demonstrate to the other person that you understand what they are saying and how they are feeling to help them feel heard. Consider using one or more of the following statements with someone you are in conflict with: “It seems like you and I are seeing the tension between us differently. Neither perspective is right or wrong, merely different. Please help me understand your perspective better.” “I have no idea what your intentions were when you said those words to me. I know what my intentions were when I responded to you. Please tell me more about your intentions yesterday.” Turning your conversation into a learning conversation by listening to understand the other person’s perspective will help you resolve your conflicts more quickly and more often in a more constructive, respectful, and healthy way.

Arthur J. Grossman J.D., LL.M., Esq

Arthur J. Grossman J.D., LL.M., Esq

AJ Grossman graduated at the top of his Florida law school class, has been trained in Collaborative Divorce, has a Master of Laws degree in Dispute Resolution, and is a Barrister member of the invite-only Central Florida Family Law Inn of Court. His aggressive advocacy on behalf of his clients provides hope and reassurance throughout challenging divorces.


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