Dissension and Relationships

Dissension and Relationships
Image provided by Alex Sar

A disagreement can break the bonds of an otherwise congenial relationship. Is the subject of debate that earnest? Are the words voiced so callous and bitter? Is the bias of one or both that contrasting? Yes, the topic can be that grave. One or both can utter words that knowingly or unknowingly devastate the other. Although the relationship may have been amiable for years, the natural change that all life is inflicted with can turn an exceptional rapport all out of alignment.

Some subjects are so controversial, I ruminate over the thought if they should even be discussed at all. Indeed, I’m well aware that there must be debates on issues that effect groups at large, and that this fact nils my muse of no spoken or written dissensions. Still, most of us within the world’s population usually don’t know enough about the facts of the matter, and don’t have an unyielding desire to search endlessly for those facts. What brought this to mind was an article I merely scanned online about the presidential debates that have recently started. Even if the general public reads the transcripts or listens to the entirety of these contentions, chances are there still isn’t enough known to argue the points made with any clarity. The concepts are bound to get distorted, which, as expected, will lead to misunderstanding, the core of many splits in relationships.

Do I spend enough time calculating my words when discussing a topic of controversy? I was brought up to speak my mind, with tact certainly, but straightforward just the same. There have been times when I’ve held back, knowing that my words would be hurtful and the point to make wasn’t of great value anyway. In recent times though, I’ve discovered that many people have become so delicate, I’ve had to clamp my mouth shut on so many discussions I used to feel I had liberty with in the past. It could be I’ve taken too much for granted. Who I’ve thought to be friends, and therefore understanding about my character, may be no more than acquaintances who I’ve assumed too many familiarities. I’ve been reading the classics lately, which has me pondering on general behavior. Throughout the ones written before the nineteen fifties that I’ve acquired, the characters don’t talk as freely with others, even within their own families. There may be a strong probability that I have misplaced my civilities.

When there is an issue full of opposing theories, should people of close relations even attempt to talk about it and weigh the different aspects of the subject? My father was a republican in the arena of politics. My mother is a democrat. I can only remember one election where they became altogether passionate about their respective candidates. That was the election between Kennedy and Nixon in nineteen sixty. There weren’t any fights, but there were a couple of arguments that get heated. From that time on, they decided to not talk with each other about any political issues and just vote according to their consciences. Maybe some of us, including me, have become too forthright in communicating to the point of becoming abrupt, and maybe even crude without realizing it. Moreover, there are those times when I, without any qualm, have used cutting words when feeling threatened unnecessarily. At those times, why I didn’t take better assessment of the situation is beyond my ability to figure out somehow.

The world is changing. Of course, it always has. Even so, in recent years, the changes have become more pronounced. We have the means to communicate at any time with anybody. Yet I find so many have so little worthwhile to say. Sure, we believe that what we convey is of the utmost importance, at least to ourselves. However, within minutes of expressing ourselves, we’ve dismissed the topic completely and have gone on to something else. Do we stop to contemplate our feeling and actions adequately?

Have we become a society of characterless beings? Do we try to prove our merit when it’s so minimal that it can be overlooked so easily? Is this a rationalization for the breakdown of relationships due to dissension?


My opinions in this essay are my own, and are not  intended to encourage or provoke the views of others. Most is of questions I feel should be reflected on with solemnity. Notwithstanding, your comments and views are welcomed.

“We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions — love, antipathy, charity, or malice — and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals.” — Milan Kundera


10 thoughts on “Dissension and Relationships

  1. Communication is such a complex subject these days. You have to start with “where were you communicating?” I try not to debate much in social media or on blogs and I never comment on news stories. Generally, I think that the more pronounced the originator’s opinion is, the less likely they will be willing to consider my opinion. I ask myself: “can I really add anything of value here?” My answer is usually “no.” In face to face or voice to voice, I try to apply the same standard, augmented, as you say, by the desire not to hurt someone’s feelings. I generally know the limits I can go to with family and friends, but I try to stay well clear of those limits. Life is too short to spend much time arguing.


    1. “I ask myself: “can I really add anything of value here?””

      Your comment says it in a nutshell. I still wonder if we’ve lost our decorum within this age of technology. Texting and sending emails is efficient, no doubt, but I often see common courtesy being neglected due to the pace of them. And has this lack of politeness seeped into our daily communications that are face to face? I suspect that society as a whole has slipped into a phase of general coarseness. (Just my opinion though.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the questions you brought forward. I know many who say what they want without regard to the fact that others may have opposing views. It’s always a two-way street. We have to hear the other in order to have a conversation, or read the opinions of others.


  3. As much as I believe we have to agree to disagree, we sometimes see red, and in the heat of the moment lose all inhibitions. The better we know our ‘opponent’, seems it’s easier to let fly. Of course, I’ve seen strangers say terrible things to people they do not know.
    You pose deep and important questions. ❤


    1. This post was mostly concerning arguments with people we know, but you bring up a good point about strangers. Why do we think we can act so familiar with strangers to the point where we think they should understand us? From what I’ve seen in life thus far, it’s the presumptuous liberty we take with strangers that starts the conflict.


    1. And this is probably where the problem originates. Some people can’t ever seem to separate a topic from their personal feelings. I can’t say this is right or wrong though because some subjects jab me right in the heart whether I want them to or not.


  4. There’s a huge difference between a debate, where alternate views are discussed, listened to, and evaluated, and screaming at each other, where beating the other party with the biggest verbal cudgel is the object. As for the presidential campaign performance this year – one candidate leads the rest with inappropriate vicious accusations. Unfortunately some of the rest are beginning to follow.
    Thoughtful topic, Glynis, and well presented.


    1. It’s sad. Studying opposing views on almost any subject can be beneficial in personal growth. Unfortunately, those debates so often become an arena of “mud-slinging” and/or screaming at the other side.

      Thank you for the compliment, Sharon.


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