I don’t do well with conflict, mainly in that I try to avoid it altogether. In some ways it’s good since people tend to see me as agreeable or as a go-with-the-flow-type person, but those qualities are more out of necessity than virtue. That’s not to say I’m not happy to be agreeable in many cases, but there are situations when I go along with something or don’t speak up just to avoid any potential conflict. As a result, I tend to bottle up my frustration or anger which is usually a recipe for disaster.
Anxieties about conflict can come from many places. Maybe we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or we’re afraid of how the other person might react. Worst of all, maybe we just feel like we’re not justified in our feelings. Perhaps you experience something entirely different. Like with anything in life we all experience these feelings differently, but the result is the same: sometimes we don’t speak up when we should.
This can cause, in my experience, a resentment towards whomever you’re avoiding conflict with. This isn’t good for anybody involved. You build up this pent up anger towards someone, and they, having no idea what they could have done to upset you, wonder why you seem upset with them. This usually leads to a conflict worse than the one you were avoiding in the first place.
I wish the solution was as easy as “just speak your mind”, but as with other aspects of anxiety it’s never that easy. What we can do is identify why we as individuals try to avoid conflict at almost any cost, and work on those anxieties directly. Reframe those thoughts! Learn to stop saying “what if?”
I wish I had better advice, but this is something I still struggle with. Navigating mental health is a journey, and this is just another step on that path for many of us.