Avoiding conflict used to be my main go-to strategy when faced with the possibility of causing a reaction. I did not want to confront anyone with anything too emotionally loaded because I did not want to feel guilty, upset, or wrong.
A while ago, I realised that constantly withholding my deeper feelings and automatic reactions was not resolving anything. All that happened was more of the same, over and over again. And I still felt scared of what I was feeling and what you may feel if I ever revealed how I really felt. What a racket!
I decided it was time to stop avoiding conflict and instead, learn how to deal with it effectively. To begin with, my conflict resolution methods resulted in more conflict and lots of feelings. After many occasions of going almost all the way then pulling back … again and again, I decided to stop avoiding the feelings (which only made them more intense all round) and go there anyway. Rather than shut down and withhold even more, I chose to keep breathing and keep communicating and keep feeling until the energy shifted and the conflict was truly resolved.
Until the next time …
And there is always a “next time” as shown by my experiences over this past month. I would love to say that I have nailed it (whatever “it” is!) and conflict resolution is a breeze for me these days. Alas … it is not. Sometimes resolution is fairly easy, yet lately, I have been deciding that what is occurring really is a very personal attack on me and I then feel wrong and upset and angry and all sorts of things I don’t like to feel.
My avoidance and reactions to conflict simply show me where the “not-good-enough” context still informs my feelings and thus my behaviour. Much of my life I have feared being wrong so I have developed very sophisticated and elegant strategies for avoiding any conflict where I could be perceived as being wrong. And when I chose to stop avoiding conflict, I also chose (albeit without consciousness at the time) to stop avoiding this version of the “not-good-enough” stuff …
And therein lies the loving intention in my choice to keep creating conflict: It provides many opportunities to fully acknowledge the “not-good-enough” stuff and return to love.
We often must become painfully aware of the unworkability of a pattern before we’re willing to give it up.
Thank you Lorna, and I constantly hear your words echoing in the back of my head at times of conflict "do I have a need for saying this right now?". When there is a need I just back it off and breath and something shifts. This works really well for everyone except when my partner or one of my children is "wrong" (lol). Boy what a learning opportunity our close relationships offer us, ouch! Love and Best, PCK