3-2-1 Conflict

8 May

The few of you who have been reading this blog since its inception know that it started as a therapy project. I don’t go to therapy anymore, but this is still a good place for mental and emotional cleaning. The reasons for going to therapy were many, but there is no point boring anyone with all of those reasons. One reason is boring enough.

My therapist helped me understand that a major problem of my psyche was the avoidance of conflict. I would do anything to make sure conflict didn’t happen and messed a lot of things up as a result. It could be anything. If my friends and I were deciding on a restaurant, then I would go where they wanted to go – even if I hated the place. If there was something going on in a relationship, then I would keep it inside to not hurt her feelings. As you can see, I stayed away from conflict in minor and major situation.Conflict

All the time, I thought I was protecting the people around me. I was not arguing with them. I was not hurting their feelings. I was keeping everything calm. My therapist helped me understand that I was ripping myself apart by holding the conflict inside. I was ignoring situations that would eventually come to the surface. Instead of preventing conflict, I was putting off the inevitable and making things worse.

Here is a good example. I had been dating this lady for a while, but I was beginning to feel that it should end. Simply, it was a relationship that I didn’t want to be in anymore. I didn’t want to break up with her and hurt her, so I held on to those thoughts. Instead of breaking up with her, I started seeing someone else. Before I knew it, I was dating two people at once. Nice way to solve the issue wasn’t it?

It all blew up when they found out about each other. Instead of hurting one person a little, I hurt two people a lot. Wait, make that three people. I hurt myself, too.

That’s the problem with avoiding uncomfortable conversations, and that is what my therapist taught me. She also taught me that my voice is important and should be heard.

I hate conflict, and I hate uncomfortable conversations.

I hate telling a student that they are going to make a bad grade.

I hate hurting the feelings of the people I love.

I hate telling someone I don’t want to go to a certain restaurant.

I hate it, but I do it. I do it because it is the healthy thing to do. It may not feel good at the moment, but it will pass. Everyone will be happy again – most of the time. I do it because in real life conflict and uncomfortable situations cannot be avoided. I do it because it’s what people do, and the last time I checked I am a person. It took me a long time to understand that.

8 Responses to “3-2-1 Conflict”

  1. becomingcliche May 8, 2013 at 00:47 #

    Well said. We don’t have to like it, but we have to do it, or we destroy ourselves.

    • Rick May 8, 2013 at 00:48 #

      Thank you. It took a lot to help me realize that.

      • becomingcliche May 8, 2013 at 00:49 #

        I’m glad you did. Some folks never have the courage to make the change.

  2. Butterfly Joy May 8, 2013 at 02:19 #

    Bravo Rick! I did that a lot in friendship and relationship too. Living and dating in a new culture made a bigger challenge when it was time to speak out my feelings. It is not easy to make change and say the uncomfortable words but they have to be said. Hiding is not solving problems it’s avoiding and usually make things worse.

    • Rick May 8, 2013 at 02:47 #

      Thanks. You got it exactly right. However, the process and immediate aftermath of an unpleasant conversation definitely sucks.

      • Butterfly Joy May 8, 2013 at 02:51 #

        I can’t agree more. Sometimes I forgive myself a bit in hiding feelings on some small issues lol but bigger issues I will breathe deep and spit out before things go wrong.

  3. DyingNote May 8, 2013 at 04:07 #

    I’ve held to the belief that I’d rather do the ‘right’ thing than the ‘nice’ thing in a situation where I have to make a choice between the two. As I’ve got older, I’ve learned to be gentle, to the extent possible, when I do that instead of being brusque the way I was earlier. Am happy for you that you’ve made the transition. It’ll serve you well.

    • Rick May 8, 2013 at 04:13 #

      Thank you. I’ve also learned there is a nice way to tell people things they don’t want to hear.

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