Good News for Conflict Phobics

As a little girl I can remember the heart palpitations and sweat pouring out of me any time someone in my home became angry. I think it started when I was almost three years old. My parents had some kind of angry, shouting argument that resulted in my father leaving us. My mom, un-educated with three children under the age of five to support, fell completely apart. She had what proved to be her first “nervous breakdown”. I can remember standing next to her trying desperately to get her to stop crying and take care of us kids. Anger, it seemed to me, had dire consequences.
From that point on I became the Rescuer in my family. It was my job to make sure that no one got too upset. Any hint of anger sent me into anxiety. As a result, I was the most favored child in our family. I was the peacemaker, the one capable of resolving any problems between siblings or other family members. I knew how to be cute and distract, or take all the blame to avoid someone being angry with me. It didn’t matter what the cost was to me personally, as long as no one became too angry.

All of my friendships then, took on a shallow quality. When you go into relationships without daring to face any conflicts between you, then you are forced to behave in shallow ways with those you interact. More details please visit:-

This especially included my romantic relationships. Any time there was a problem with a guy I was seeing, I simply swept it under the rug or broke up with him. If I were really crazy about the guy, I would overlook even major flaws.
Once I was married, every argument took on an intensity and sense of threat that went way beyond the current situation. It always resulted in my charging outside and walking away from the scene of the argument. It was too scary for me to stay in the room.

My girlfriends never saw me angry. I might speak up that I didn’t want something a certain way, or that I would prefer we did something differently, but I certainly wouldn’t challenge them or do anything that might start a real conflict.
Being a conflict phobic meant that I managed my world in such a way as to never have to deal with my or other people’s anger, or even potential anger. I was perceived as an easygoing person.

The downside is that no one knew me. I hid my real self from everyone. Without even being consciously aware of it I never let anyone see the real me.

I now know that this is because underneath the people pleasing behavior was a sense that I was not good enough, that if they saw who I really was, they would reject me…walk out on me as my father had.

This is what underlies conflict phobia. We are terrified someone will reject us or even hurt us if we show our true self. We think that who we are is not going to measure up and we will be punished or rejected.

We fear that closeness will bring rejection, so we settle for a kind of limbo. We find ourselves locked into shallow distant relationships rather than risk discovering that we will be rejected.

Conflict phobia is really intimacy phobia. The roots of the word “intimacy” means literally, “in to me see”. We don’t’ want anyone to see into us. We don’t think that they will accept us and rather than risk that rejection, we avoid anything that will reveal who we are (i.e. conflict). We anxiously avoid any threat of conflict and anyone who expresses anger, is in our mind, dangerous. And, since conflict is unavoidable in life, we find ourselves locked into an underlying anxiety that never goes away.

The good news I promised? Well, the good news is that our fear is unfounded. Our fear is based on our child self’s view of the world. We are capable of being seen and accepted for whom we are, in spite of how we may feel.

The other good news is that conflict is not a bad thing. It doesn’t have to include anger and it doesn’t have to include rejection. Conflict, in actuality is how we get to know someone, and how they get to know us.

It’s only by letting other people know where we are, what we like, and what we don’t like that anyone can know who we are. That means standing up and saying our truth.

It’s important to know that by letting people know what feels good to us and what doesn’t we are letting the other person know where they stand. Without that information they could be doing the opposite of what we want, without even knowing it! My husband was married for almost 20 years to a woman who never said what she really wanted. They rarely had conflict because she wouldn’t say what she wanted and so he just made guesses. Apparently he guessed wrong because eventually she threw him out. I can’t say that I’m sorry, after all I ended up with him, but it certainly seems a waste.

Yes, some times people won’t like what you say or agree with you, but that really isn’t bad news. I am certain that if I had been able to say what I felt about things with my ex-husband, I may not have ended up married to him in the first place. And yes, that would have been better for all of us.

That’s the thing, when we don’t tell our truth and we “go along” we find ourselves not being true to ourselves and eventually something has to give. In my case, it meant divorcing my husband of nine years. I personally think it would have been better if I had saved us all a lot of trouble and said what I thought from the beginning.

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