Conflict is unavoidable. It's part of life.
The challenge is how we handle it. If you can find a way to successfully handle conflict, you will reduce the chronic stress that worsens PCOS symptoms.
Here are 12 ways to deal more skillfully with conflict.
1) Develop a win/win intention.
We live in a competitive culture. We want to "win". But in the competitive sense when someone wins, others lose. If one is right then the other is wrong. Being "right" does not create the best outcome. Start thinking about how good it would feel if you both could win.
2) Notice defensive behavior.
How? The first step is awareness. Observe the signs in yourself, and notice when they happen. Has your breathing become rapid and shallow? Do you feel a tightness in your stomach? Listen and be aware of your emotional responses.
Practice reframing the situation so you reduce the level of stress you're experiencing. When conflict arises, acknowledge your differences (if you must) and then move on to the things you DO agree on. Look for a common goal.
3) Focus on the present.
Step out of your past issues and focus on the issue at hand. Attempt to solve the problem and move on to create a new future together.
4) Evaluate the behavior, not the person.
"I feel it was inconsiderate for you to show up 90 minutes late without calling," is less damaging to the relationship than, "You are an inconsiderate jerk!" Explain your feeling further "I get worried when you don't call, and then I get upset."
5) Be specific.
It's not useful to generalize and tell someone "you never listen to me!" Be specific and explain how you feel, "I feel frustrated when you interrupted me just now. It's important to me that you understand how I feel."
6) Admit your role.
If you have contributed to the problem, admit it. You may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to the conflict. Own it, if that is the case.
7) Focus on a solution.
Listen non-judgmentally and without criticism. Focus on listening and understanding. Be creative enough to find a win/win solution for both of you. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
8) Use "I" messages.
"You" statements cause the other person to become defensive. A "you" message is often perceived as an invitation to fight. "You are never on time!"
You could say: "I've mentioned your lateness a few times to you. I become anxious when you are late. I begin to feel that you don't value our time together." A well-expressed "I" message is not judgmental; it just expresses how you feel.
9) Don't infer intention.
"You did that because..." "You did that on purpose..." If you are interested in knowing another's intention, just ask.
10) Set aside judgment.
Judgments shut down communication. Being judgmental prevents a win/win solution.
Clarify and confirm what you heard and make sure you understand it. "So what I heard you say is..." "Let me make sure I understand you correctly, you got home with the groceries before you realized you forgot to get milk." "I'm not sure I understand you correctly; this is how I am interpreting what you said".
12) Have a sense of timing.
Know when to discuss things. Be intuitive. Know when the right time is to deal with conflict. Sometimes emotions (yours or others) can impair good communication and collaboration. Sometimes it's important to cool down first. Develop a sixth sense about timing.
Conflict is a rich source of opportunity when we let it be so. Instead of shying away from conflict and stuffing your feelings, embrace the rewards that a well-handled conflict can bring. The reduced stress will help you balance your hormones and thus lessen your PCOS problems.