Family is one of our deepest human experiences of love, and is also where we can experience the greatest amount of conflict, particularly when dealing with issues of family estate and inheritance. When these conflicts arise, we often carry inside the emotional patterning of our family histories. Relationships with parents and siblings usually hold many layers of both happiness and pain. It is quite common for unresolved anger, resentment, and hurt, as well as fear, to be triggered as families attempt to navigate decisions around family resources and how those resources will be passed on to present and future generations.  

Most of us learn to communicate emotions of anger, hurt, and fear through judgments of wrongness and what others should or shouldn’t do. This framework of right and wrong is embedded deeply in our thinking and belief structures. The difficulty is when we think or communicate in terms of wrongness or badness it generally produces resistance, defensiveness,  and counterattack. It breaks the empathic connection and cooperation that is naturally in us as humans when we are not triggered into, what in neuroscience is called, the fight-flight-freeze, stress response part of the brain responsible for threat detection and survival reactions. 

Conflict is natural, it’s an essential aspect of how life seems to operate, how life grows and evolves to the next level. Conflict has great energy and power within it to open us to creativity, new possibilities, and deeper, more fulfilling relationships. With human beings, however, conflict can become quite unhealthy and even damaging or destructive.  

The good news, is there are distinctions and skills with language and focus of attention that deepen our experience of empathic connection and compassionate giving, and bring us back to this when we lose it, when we slide into unhealthy conflict. Empathy taps into our commonality and shared humanity underneath our differences. It is connecting with the universal and with expanded consciousness, including but also beyond our individual sense of self and other. It is the love and wisdom of the heart that knows how to find a way into another’s heart, no matter how fortified the barricades.  

May empathic connection be your guiding star as you navigate the stormy seas and rough terrains of conflict, discerning how to direct the flow of family resources to enrich the quality of life for all.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *