Why am I scared of conflict?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been afraid of conflict. No matter how big or small it is, or who it’s with, conflict gives me anxiety and has a knack for tying knots in my stomach. The truth is, my skin just isn’t thick enough to bear the anguish of arguing and fighting, which would explain why I’ve always fled tension. As you can expect, I’ve been told many a time that I’m a sensitive Sally and that I should stand up for myself a bit more. And when I think about it, those that have told me to essentially find my voice are probably right, in reality, I should stand my ground, but my timidity holds me back. Deep down, I’m completely envious of those people who are strong enough to say what they think and who always refuse to back down. I wish I wasn’t scared to knock on my neighbor’s door when he and his band start their rehearsal at 1 am, and I would have loved to tell the guy I saw littering earlier to pick up his trash. So, perhaps it's about time I learned how.
I fear arguing will only make me lose friends...
The fear of conflict comes from beliefs that are much deeper in us. We’re paralyzed by our thoughts: “I don’t want to say that, so they won’t get angry”, “I’m scared of hurting my friend and losing her”, “They won’t love me anymore if I say that”, etc. There is permanent insecurity because there is a fear of abandonment behind it all 🥺.
➜ The fear of losing people we love because we express our opinion can also take place in childhood or after an emotional shock. However, there’s also another reason that generates this anxiety…
I lack self-esteem
If you’re afraid of conflict and losing those around you, it’s also because of a lack of self-confidence. You don’t feel legitimate and valid enough to express your own opinion. Self-esteem is important because it allows you to have a solid construction of yourself in a disagreement. You mustn’t stand up for the sake of standing up or try to be right when you’re wrong.
🙌 However, it’s important to assert yourself and say what you think. Otherwise, you’ll gradually fill up with anger and frustration, resulting in poor management of your emotions.
3 ways to overcome a fear of conflict
Conflict resolution isn't always straightforward, but there are certain principles that we need to follow when going about it. When we think of the word “conflict”, we immediately imagine violent disagreements like a battlefield. We, therefore, feel like it’s an insurmountable situation and that it’s best not to risk it for the aforementioned reasons. Nevertheless, we also know that avoiding conflict is not the solution, as it means we accumulate frustration 🤬.
1. Admit that there is an issue
This is the first thing to do to feel more legitimate in saying what you think. Not everyone has the same way of doing things, thinking, and being, so there are bound to be disagreements about certain points. From that moment on, you need to identify clearly what you disagree with by understanding what you expect and need.
👏 It’s a way of being honest with yourself before being honest with the other person.
2. Communicate well
The best way to tidy up a relationship is to communicate, even if it means having a difficult conversation. Indeed, it is a valuable tool when there is a conflict. However, you shouldn’t express yourself in just any way. Non-violent communication is key as it allows you to express your emotions, listen to the other person’s emotions and find a solution together 👭. Just as active listening to the other person is essential if you want to succeed in undoing this conflict as quickly as possible.
3. Work on yourself
We’re the ones afraid of conflict, so it’s necessary to work on our self-assertion 💪. Indeed, as long as our view of ourselves remains ruthless, it will be impossible to enter into confrontation. It’s a long and complicated path to take on our own, which is why we need to surround ourselves with other people. Psychological treatment is a good way to change the way we perceive ourselves to improve our knowledge of ourselves and our emotions ❤️.
Is it ok to avoid conflict?
Lots of people tend to bury their heads in the sand whenever they feel tension building up. Although this may seem like a peaceful decision, in the long term, it actually creates quite a lot of damage and often makes people feel terrible. We flee from arguments because we believe debating will mean people cast negative judgements upon us. When it comes to relationships, we all want peace, so we capitulate and, as a result, the other person thinks they are often or always right will take the upper hand. After all, the one who has always had the power in the relationship for all these years doesn't understand that at some point there can be a reaction and disproportionate reactions. Therefore, it is really important, at some point, to understand that the debate of ideas. Indeed, it can lead to conflict because everyone will want to expose their ideas, but it is still called a debate. So, even if there is a little more virulent, it is still a form of communication.
Editor’s note: First step, identify the cause
Good news, managing a conflict, a heated discussion, points of disagreement… all of that can be learned, whether in the professional or personal sphere. However, it’s important to identify the cause of this fear of conflict in order to put words to it, go back to the source, and thus instill new behaviors. This work on yourself isn’t easy on your own, which is why we advise you to make an appointment with a psychologist.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy… It’s here and now!
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