Attachment Styles and Conflict Resolution

My mum was quite an aggressive character growing up. I wouldn’t want her to know I feel this way about her because I know she tries her best to be a good mother and she sometimes gets upset that she’s not doing enough for us or that she was a bad mother.

But honestly, my mum isn’t very tactful when it comes to dealing with anger and stress. She took it out on us. When she was unhappy with us, she told us so and she expressed it in a very emotionally loaded and quite often offensive way. There was a lot of shouting in our household. I had to deal with ways of coping with that and protecting myself against the very harsh criticism that came my way. On the other hand, there was definitely positive reinforcement when she was happy with what we did – mostly our academic achievements. There were hugs and kisses, her mood visibly elevated and there were presents and parties and nice food cooked for us to reward us.

Why do I write about this?

It is because I was thinking about attachment styles and how it related to me and my friend. I am definitely the person to be more open and maybe even confrontational when it came to conflict resolution. However my friend wasn’t so much.

She told me once a long time ago that she never knew what her mum thought of her. There was negative reinforcement when she did something bad but when she did something well, there wasn’t positive reinforcement which she wishes she had. My friend learnt to cope with life by being very self-driven. She had to motivate herself to do things as there was seemingly little external rewards. It seems that she was self driven whereas perhaps I am the opposite and I like some sort of external validation.

Maybe that is how my friend deals with conflict by being passive and resistant. Maybe that is her style.

It’s something to reflect on for the future inshaAllah, to see if I can find ways of reconciling my way of conflict resolution with hers.

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