Do you ever feel like you’re afraid of conflict? Like you go out of your way to avoid it, or maybe you just bottle up your feelings until they explode in an argument that could have easily been avoided?
Well, it turns out there’s a name for that – and it’s called “conflict avoidance.” Conflict avoidance is a pretty common phenomenon, but there are ways to overcome it. In this blog post, we’ll explore what conflict avoidance is, why it happens, and how to deal with it.
What is Conflict Avoidance?
Conflict avoidance is, quite simply, the act of avoiding conflict. It’s what happens when you go out of your way to steer clear of any situation that might lead to an argument or disagreement.
Conflict avoiders will often bottle up their feelings, repress their anger, and try to keep the peace at all costs – even if it means sacrificing their own needs and wants.
Why Do People Avoid Conflict?
There are a few different reasons why people might avoid conflict. For some, it’s a basic personality trait – they’re just naturally non-confrontational and don’t like arguments.
Others might have had bad experiences with conflict in the past – maybe they grew up in a household where arguments were constantly erupting, or they’ve been in a previous relationship that was full of drama.
And for some people, conflict avoidance is simply a defense mechanism – it’s their way of protecting themselves from getting hurt.
10 Ways to Face Your Fear of Conflict
1. Acknowledge your fear
The first step to facing your fear of conflict is to simply acknowledge that you’re afraid.
This might seem obvious, but a lot of people try to ignore their fear or pretend it doesn’t exist. If you’re going to overcome your fear, you need to be honest with yourself about it.
2. Identify your triggers
What are the things that usually trigger your fear of conflict? Is it a certain person, or a particular type of situation?
Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to be more aware of them and prepare yourself for when they come up.
3. Challenge your beliefs
A lot of the time, our fear of conflict is based on irrational beliefs. We might believe that all arguments are bad, or that we’re always going to say the wrong thing. But these beliefs are rarely true.
Challenge your beliefs about conflict and see if you can start to view it in a more positive light.
4. Communicate assertively
One of the best ways to overcome your fear of conflict is to start communicating more assertively. This means standing up for yourself, expressing your needs and wants, and being willing to compromise.
Assertive communication can be tough, but it’s worth doing if you want to reduce your fear of conflict.
5. Practice being assertive
If you’re not used to communicating assertively, it can be helpful to practice in low-stakes situations before you try it in a more difficult situation.
Maybe you can start by practicing with a friend or family member, or in a role-playing exercise.
6. Take some time to cool down
If you’re feeling angry or upset, it’s often best to take a step back and cool down before you try to resolve the conflict.
This can be tough, especially if you’re used to bottling up your emotions, but it’s important to remember that conflict is more likely to be resolved peacefully if both parties are calm.
7. Listen to understand
In any conflict, it’s important to try to see things from the other person’s perspective. This can be difficult, but it’s crucial if you want to find a resolution that works for both of you.
So instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next, really listen to what the other person is saying.
8. Avoid blame
One of the biggest obstacles to resolving conflict is blame. When we start blaming the other person, we’re no longer focusing on finding a solution – we’re just trying to assign responsibility.
So instead of placing blame, try to focus on understanding the other person’s needs and finding a way to meet them.
9. Be willing to compromise
In any conflict, there needs to be some element of compromise.
This doesn’t mean that you have to give in to everything the other person wants, but it does mean that you need to be willing to budge on some things.
If you’re not willing to compromise, the conflict is likely to become more entrenched.
10. Seek professional help
If your fear of conflict is really holding you back, it might be worth seeking professional help.
A therapist can help you to understand your fear and work through it in a safe and supportive environment.
If you need extra support and tools from a licensed therapist, I recommend MMS’s sponsor, BetterHelp, an online therapy platform that is both flexible and affordable. Get started today and take 10% off of your first month of therapy HERE
How does Fear of Conflict Manifest?
Fear of conflict can manifest in a variety of ways. Some people might bottle up their feelings, repress their anger, and try to keep the peace at all costs – even if it means sacrificing their own needs and wants.
Others might go out of their way to avoid any situation that might lead to an argument or disagreement. And some people might deal with their fear by lashing out in anger – they might start arguments with other people, or they might be quick to anger in general.
Fear of conflict is a common issue, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. If you’re struggling with your fear of conflict, try some of the tips above and see if you can start to overcome it. Remember, conflict is a natural part of life – it’s not something to be afraid of.