No conflict is ever isolated. All our past conflicts with that person, and our past experiences usually color our perception of that new disagreement. As we argue with our loved one, if in the past she’s been insensitive, we’ll automatically project that character flaw onto her. And it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. We become entrenched in our own thinking; convinced that she’ll act as before. Then because we convinced ourselves, even if her words aren’t glaringly insensitive, it’s still easier to attribute her words and actions to the motives we assigned her rather than giving her a fresh start and perhaps needing to change our mind.
It’s difficult to change our mind about someone, but past mistakes should not determine future conversations. We must give her the benefit of the doubt that she’ll handle this conversation differently than previous ones. If we keep an open mind and heart, this will allow space for understanding and resolution to the conflict.