100: The Cost of Avoiding Conflict is Personal Neglect.
You're listening to the sober soul recovery podcast episode number one hundred welcome to the sober soul recovery podcast here. We shine a little light on the use of alcohol and drugs as a way of coping gene with our everyday stress. Each week will explore ways to start build a master a sober life that you don't need to escape from yeah Talk Talk Hi everyone it's Lynn Mattie from silver silver recovery and wow we've reached the hundred episode Mark Mark and that's pretty fabulous I kind of put my feelers out there to see. Gosh what should I do. Should I do a celebratory show. Should they put something something. Fancy Schmancy John and what I came down to is. I'm going to just do my regular old podcast and talk about something. That came came up a lot this past week in my life as a coat. And the counselor and also Something I've been pondering gene little bit more about when I do my self reflection time and that is the entire concept except that arises often especially when I see New People in my practice around fear and fear you're specifically around conflict and difficult conversations so today I WanNa talk about why that is happening to new way way many of us and what you can do to help you become less fearful full of having a difficult conversation or I'm gonNA use the word I'll use throughout this podcast quite a bit and that is to be assertive. There's really only three main types of communication when we're talking about our ability to passionately or dispassionately convey what we're really thinking and those three are passive on one side of the spectrum. Aggressive on the other and in the middle is assertiveness. So I wanNA talk a bit about. Why is it so hard especially difficult for women? So stay tuned buckle up and here we go first. Let's explore. What is is this difficulty that we have with hard or uncomfortable conversations? Why is it so so hard for us to actually say? Hey what we're thinking. These terms fall under a bigger umbrella in the psychological realm and that is conflict avoidance Y. Why are most people? So conflict avoidance conflict voidance can be classified. And you're probably going to recognize yourself in these these next three types of conflict avoidance. The first are those of us who ignore the problem altogether. And it's probably I believe the most common what we're doing is ignoring the problem. And this way we don't have to deal with that. How come all the time I hear this? Not only in my own head also recently with my clients and that that is for instance you know. How many times have you had a girlfriend? Tell you that or Guy Friend tell you that. They suspect their partner is messing around on them in. They talk about it more than once with you. oftentimes we're trying to alleviate that internal internal discomfort when we ignore the problem hoping that it goes away just by saying out loud to another person. But I'm not even sure when I've done it in the past that I realize that I'm going to that person over and over just to say that same thing again. The the second type are those of us who change the subject. Oh my gosh so funny I have a friend. Oh my gosh. I hope they're that listening. This person does that all the time when they're uncomfortable with what I'm talking about and I just ended up laughing because you know. Yeah I'm probably therapies in them a bit but they're my friends and I just laugh out loud. I'm like you're so uncomfortable with what I'm about to say anyway. It probably happens more than this one friend. So what we're trying to do. And we just subject is divert. The attention toot sweet very quickly quickly to something announce so that we can avoid a potential conflict or think it happens more often that that people are internally triggered and. They're not really sure why they're so uncomfortable. They just don't like it so changing the subject seems a really good idea and it may happen happen unconsciously and the third type are those of us who completely shut down. I would say I'm a mixture of all three Eh. But this was probably my go-to way of avoiding conflict at least at the very end of my drinking thinking career. I didn't WanNA talk about it. So if changing the subject or simply kind of acting like I didn't hear somebody didn't work I would just leave or say I can't deal with this right now. I've got to go more likely than not drink. And it just encouraged me this type this technique to stay away from the discomfort that I was clearly feeling mm-hmm which gets to the crux of the issue that I want to address around being conflict avoided and this happened all the time especially within facebook discussions for every person who is articulating a response not in an agreement not in Not Joining Onto The bandwagon of specific opinion. Somebody is stating in post. There is a large contingent the people who are saying nothing who are moving onto a different post even though they might have something to say about that post and what were her truly doing. Is suppressing our emotions. What we're doing is not fully communicating with another person we are creating disconnection from ourselves? I'll go into this a bit further in a bet but we're also disconnecting from our loved ones when we avoid conflict conflict is a natural part a building consensus. If we go along to get along you know that phrase what most of us will experience is as discontentment. Because we're not speaking our truth. Were not speaking out loud. What were thinking in our minds? So let me dig a little deeper super with US studying. Our inability to have conflict is so important because it goes to the heart of many of our emotional our psychological and personal achievement blocks. I is the emotional health aspect of it your mental wellbeing. If we're constantly avoiding conflict we we are suppressing our personal emotions. And you know I don't like that for you all I don't like it for me and and I don't like it for you. There have been multitudes and Meta analysis of research articles written on S. or they're mostly in agreement on is. This is very unhealthy. This conflict avoidance by pushing down our feelings constantly constantly avoiding conflict. It's more likely that will build up a volcanic reaction within our system system. It's going to surface and burst somewhere. In the way usually comes out is anxiety burst first of anger especially when we least expected because we are pushing this crap down. Tensions that arise Is Bubble up and spread to other areas of your life when it's seemingly Wackadoo you do that. They're coming out. It doesn't make sense to you. It doesn't make sense to the other person and there's a reason for that if you keep avoiding conflict this is going to happen more regularly that buildup of internal discontent because you've decided to prioritize aura. Ties avoiding the discontent the discomfort of having a conflict in lieu of punishing. Your internal attornal relationship with yourself. Another important thing to identify is that avoidance creates more more fear and who wants the hat constantly avoiding conflicts especially the M- relatively minor a day-to-day conflicts teaches your brain in a negative way that this is. What is keeping US safe from those unpleasant feelings failings and this is how we come to understand if we're paying attention that the voice inside us that inner critic that keeps telling us what we should do in order to not feel unpleasant feelings is keeping a stock? They're not your intuitive into a to voice. This person this voice inside of you is the culmination of years of suppressing your emotions to please other people to follow their roles. My take on. It is if you're avoiding conflict. You're avoiding what you need expressing what you need is necessary to get why you need in his them. Bummer of them all that because of how the brain works how you you are wired the more you avoid the more you get feelings of relief from avoiding the conflict which only works to reinforce I your. Let's say addiction to avoiding conflict so although it feels good at the time like shoe dodge that bullet. It's because you're not dealing with the problem that you're getting that relief and it is short lived in the long run. It will increase your fear in the long run. It's going to up your anxiety this avoidance. It's is going to increase your level of discomfort and fear. The concept is you need more conflict avoidance to get that relief if it is one of those strange aspects of how we're currently wired and I also believe that this disconnect from expressing expressing your truest beliefs and emotions as you know them taking new further away from your authentic self stores up up trauma in our body somatic symptoms of personal neglect not addressing. Your needs needs. Your emotional needs creates trauma for you. And then the last idea to promote around. Why understanding conflict conflict avoidance is so important to your emotional wellbeing is that we miss opportunities for growth when I take my clients through you? Know the awareness piece of what they're actually feeling learned from the feeling wheeled then moving on to bill. Lean more knowledge around why we are not allowing ourselves to understand how we feel by understanding how we me distract ourselves from feelings through different types of distorted thinking building toward the combination of expressing your feelings expressing your needs using ice statement so this last category of missed opportunities falls into what you can achieve Steve. And what I talked to my clients about when they've gain this insight into a pattern of conflict avoidance so much so that they're not getting their needs met at all therefore mind-reading other people insane things like they should know this about me and feeling healing. Just horrible a lot of internal turmoil. So the missed opportunity speaks directly to. What do we do when we have that? Inner Turmoil mm-hmm oil. How do I walk clients through those various first steps of identifying? How others behaviors make you feel how not talking talking? About hard topics makes you feel and then realizing all kinds of distorted thinking that have kept you stuck not talking about about how you feel avoiding conflict moving into the desire to actually have a discussion with somebody and practicing ways to let your body Atika used to that. There are so many situations that we neglect to take advantage of for our personal growth for for our deeper connection to other individuals knowing what we know now even pre Bernabei Brown. If you haven't heard me talk about her about how we connect through vulnerability vulnerability is the Queen of connection that these missed opportunities. He's would enhance our personal growth. Add to our ability to cope with anxiety and distress and emotional dysregulation and fear overcoming the fear of conflict that so often stifles in stunts. Our personal growth you know as a therapist And especially someone who works a lot with people with high anxiety and substance substance. Use Issues is pretty clear to me that a fear of confrontation is at the very core of what a lot of people need relief from That causes people a great deal of distress and that permeates through personal and work issues a relationship troubles and interpersonal connection difficulties. Many of these things When likely be resolved if only we were able to address our concerns and our feelings in open and direct manner? Many sometimes those of us who liked to be viewed as a peacemaker or not one to ruffle feathers someone who may be describes himself as going with the flow are in fact. I think hurting themselves and using excuses for their behaviors saviors to avoid confrontation and difficult but needed conversation. Whether it's an annoying co worker who I don't know laughs. It's too loud or whatever leaves junk. I had one CO worker who would not pay attention to trash bins. Just leaving stuff around all the time. Whatever it is that might really get on your nerves? We also often take that angst and because we don't think confronting that individual on this issue was worthwhile fear of confrontation our desire to avoid that at all cost. Consequently ends with the problem never been solved route and this is what distresses US internally when we have a need that goes unfulfilled and a need and for somebody to throw their trash way at work might fit into that category. Whatever a potential conflictual meaning that they're doing something you don't like what most of us are most comfortable doing is ignoring it and that distresses us by setting up this idea of an unmet need which goes on verbalised creates rumination that then moves on verbalised to resentment and eventually that resentment and will find its way out of you and very often? It causes us to soothe that unheard word need with substances or beam busy or kindling too much for having too much sex so we can continue tim you to ignore what we need in our lives. In particular we women are super good at hiding our needs and therefore were also good at building. Those resentments much of this is because that's how we are taught women are to behave. We've and the longer we are suppressing. Our own personal needs prioritizing others needs over hours and then getting lots of validation for doing that the longer we are in that pattern the more difficulty we have off with conflict and the most tragic result of this kind of perception closing down of our emotions again especially for women is that we learn that it is running for listening to this zoll recovery. Mr Has with me we midland Mattie I if you like my show and want to learn more checkout oversold their Chowdhury Dot net has Lee actually me a nicer view on. I eighteen. Join me here where to start building in here are some ways women we've seen personality personality. Criticisms such as being called the Bossie were told to watch their tone in around seventy five five percent of performance reviews in this one particular study appr- fairly big study and men on the other hand. Rarely he had comments made around their negative personality traits in the friend zone. oftentimes when when women are actually being assertive. Meaning they're expressing their feelings their passionate about their particular opinion. It is taken by many people many women other friends and of course men. I'm just not excluding but I'm talking about the friend zone known amongst women. This type of assertive behavior is seen as aggressive. Because of that low threshold that we've been taught and it's been ingrained in us as women that we must be passive in order to be presentable. Aw and that skews. Our understanding of what assertiveness really is hence assertive and direct women. Then often being told they're being aggressive in another statistics regarding women professionally. That really hurt. My heart was as women who are assertive or forceful are perceived as thirty five percent less competent. And you see this in here here. This everywhere from suggestions of how women could more moderately adapt their assertiveness governess tailoring it to specific circumstances. I'd like to make the point here. That oftentimes we think we need more. Self confidence wants to pull off these assertive statements and while confidence plays a role in becoming more assertive love. It really begins with you knowing how you feel about something. Really knowing how you feel and being able to articulate it being able to describe your feeling which leads you to what you need from another person or from yourself so if you know you're feeling and you know what you need you know what is okay with you in what is not okay with you. Around other people's behavior and just one verbal ization of that messing and imperfect as we all get with that kind of assertiveness. Third of NECE. How awkward it feels how you might tremble but just one occurrence of that is what feeds your self esteem? Not Yourself confidence you kind of have to rub up a little bit of your self confidence to get to sane those things out loud but no no matter how it turns out you have increased your self esteem. I call it growing your self esteem. Baby nurturing trine it it takes time but boy the more you do things that add a little development to that self self-esteem baby the more you will feel okay in more align your insides to your outsides. Already already. Then let's get into some solutions and in a small caveat to this is if you have trauma meaning if you have the symptomology symptomology of PTSD to the extent that it interrupts a lot of your life. Some of these solutions will not be for you and before you attempt doing some of them. That may feel really uncomfortable to you. I recommend you get with somebody. Somebody who's qualified to help mentor. You through that process and for me that means somebody who has the proper training somebody qualified in the field of mental health. So with that said let's look at some solutions. I we have to build that awareness identifying what is happening happening. You're not going to change your behavior unless you believe that your current way of doing things is not working for you any longer and when you're nervous or frightened to speak up. It's so very easy to convince ourselves that it's better to stay quiet so I want you to write down two things. How do you feel when you're experiencing this avoidance of conflict like I can whip out your feeling we'll or get a list of feelings and find the most accurate word that you can find for what you're feeling feeling? The second thing would be to write down the problems that you experience when you avoid confrontation and this may may take some focus some self reflection moments in your day but we have conflicts all the time that arise and one of the the again kind of weird things that I've noticed over. The years is when people are deep deep deep in conflict avoidance. They can't see the conflicts in in their lives. So you may need some time to practice identify near caught flicks and then figuring out how you feel and what problems in in your life can be directly connected to avoiding that conflict some examples could be feeling consistently stressed after you see a person a certain person or you return home from work every day feeling stressed very likelier avoiding conflict with that feeling one of stress. But I want you to dig deeper into what quote stress means to you. What is that fear? Also look to your relationships. They're easy easy mining for conflict and try to figure out how you feel around certain conversations that you avoid every couple couple every relationship has them. So what is the fee. Lean when you think about talking to that person or persons about that subject if somebody is consistently hurting your feelings and maybe you've even become numb to that start thinking about how you feel around around certain people or how you feel around them when certain subjects come up next make a list of what you just despite gain from speaking up what problem might be solved. How might you feel better be really specific about the things that you could would gain not that you should but you could a little? CBT consider and reconsider. Your assumptions concerns that you have your values and beliefs about confrontation. Fear of confrontation is often based on these inherited. Values and beliefs also assumptions thoughts as simple as confrontation is bad pieces. Good and really fleshing those out if you don't know by now confrontation is not only healthy but is absolutely necessary to live with peace and contentment knowing that might be a little tough for some of you out there. But it's true dat and for those of you who are saying. I'm never going to address this super monumental issue that I have in my relationship or multiple multiple issues in relationships. Here's a good news item for you. You can start super small in fact. I advocate starting super small. A dishwasher issue how somebody organizes your side of the bed. I don't know whatever it is for you start really small so that you don't half to build up anticipation of this catastrophic outcome also distorted thinking just saying don't make Michael Lengthy list of something adding on resentment after resentment. Just choose one little minor resentment and go after that two more little tips antrix for you and then we're done for the day but I wanted to really give us shout out to the I statement. Everyone I talked to about the I statement unrolls there is at me literally or otherwise and I feel your pain. I hate them too but I will tell you. It's always is statement meant leading into sending a boundary that makes me feel powerful. That makes me feel more like me so to that end and learn the I statement. There's lots of different versions out there. But I feel ex- when you do acts because soft gentle gentle reacts nation of how you feel and then so I need you to do X.. Always have the consequence in mine. And I'm telling you that's the number one full. Stop Best Advice I can give you about an I statement yet. Just don't have to use it but get comfortable trouble with what you're going to consequences your behavior change. Not the other person's when they fail to accept the need that you ask them that needs statement so I need you to stop saying that way. That's a favorite one of mine when people have these triggering statements oftentimes because of trauma. I ask them to practice asking the other person to just not say that way. Please just find a different way to say it and for my loyal listeners. This should not come as a surprise when I'm GonNa leave you with last to think about in hopefully do and that is to keep practicing one small step at a time. Communication is not a science. It's an art and if we embrace racist as a needed part of our daily lives that we can get creative with. I don't know that perspective helped me. So Oh take a peek at how you build practice into your day. What works for me may not work for you? What works in in one situation may not work in another situation so to really get a feel of who you are and how you can be comfortable comfortable with difficult conversations yet got up practice you gotta get out there and spread your assertive wings? A A little bit. Consider your efforts a work in progress because because I endorse you looking at it like a lifetime of of a work in progress who needs to be perfect. I promise you full hearted promise right here now that if you practice this in our imperfect and messy you're still gonNa feel better that's all for today. peeps take care. Be well and I'll talk to you very very soon.