“Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scare resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals.”
This is a subject that can and has been studied and written about at length and I won't claim to give you the cure all in just a few paragraphs. I will however share a few things for you to consider to aid you in changing your mindset about conflict and therefore how you engage in future conflicts. One of the first things I want to point out that is evident in our definition above, is that there are two parties involved...in other words both have some contribution. In every conflict each party has some ownership. Even if you know you are right, maybe the way you make your point is contributing to the conflict, maybe even though your intentions were good, they were mistaken. However big or small, each party has contributed. Being honest with yourself and owning your contribution is a great first step in resolving issues.
On the path to self awareness and choosing how to respond to various conflict situations, we first need to know what our autopilot response tends to be in these situations. A good tool for figuring that out is the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode Instrument. It will tell you which of the five conflict styles you use most frequently. The graphic below shows the five styles and provides explanations for each and when it is best to use which style. Once we are aware of our own usual style and become familiar with our other options, we can then move toward a more deliberate and constructive manner of handling conflicts.
Now that was a pretty simple example to illustrate that conflicts can be pretty complex, even the simple ones... The point of this is to get you thinking about your options. It is not that one style is better always than others, although collaboration does have an edge because both parties are getting needs met, there are certainly situations where each style is appropriate. Games wouldn't be as fun without competition! And what if a person threatens to kidnap your child, I would hope you would choose competing because the issue is too important! If a person is running after me to cause me harm, you better bet I'm avoiding!
Like some cancers, the outcome of a conflict can depend on when you address it and how you treat it. Being proactive, aware and knowing your options can help!
Sorry it's a long one! Continue the discussion in the comments if you will! What is your dominant response? How's that working out for you? How can I help?