Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts or how much you want it, understanding and resolution of conflict between you and someone else will not actually happen with that person.  It may be because they are no longer alive, because they are no longer connected to your life, or because they are not willing or able to engage in effective and meaningful process.

This is hard, because we innately want to alleviate pain, and we tend to look outside ourselves for that relief.  This is why it’s essential to understand that resolution and healing is always something that you can give yourself and that your wholeness, peace and wellbeing are never dependent upon anyone else.

When navigating conflict with someone isn’t an option, what’s the alternative?  Turn inward, seek as much understanding of what’s happened as you can, seize opportunities to challenge your thinking and behavior, and allow for as many inspirations for your own growth as possible.  Then move all that energy—cry, scream, write, read, run, meditate, go outside, confide in people whose counsel you trust, repeat as needed, and move forward.

Responses to conflict have less to do with what anyone “deserves” and more to do with how we relate to ourselves and our understanding of our emotions, fears and defenses.  Try to not take others’ limitations in conflict personally; some comfort can be found in accepting that we’re usually all doing the best we know how to do in the moment.

If the person you’re struggling with isn’t in your life anymore, then moving forward is just that: moving forward without them.  If they are in your life, then challenges and disappointment in conflict resolution don’t necessarily have to be deal breakers regarding whether or not you maintain the connection.  You may want to look at shifting how close you allow them to be to your innermost circles, where you’re most vulnerable, but remember that too is fluid.  Long-term relationships usually ebb and flow in intimacy and distance depending on where people are at in their lives and their individual growth; this is normal and you can allow for it without compromising your own boundaries and wellbeing.