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Do You Avoid Conflict Because It Makes You Anxious?

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Inner Bonding

Do You Avoid Conflict Because It Makes You Anxious?

Are you conflict-avoidant? Does conflict terrify you? Discover how to heal this

[tweetthis]”Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict”. -William Channing [/tweetthis]

Angela writes:

“I avoid conflict as much as possible because I cannot handle the anxiety it produces in me, as if I am going to die, even when I am in the presence of other people that are in conflict. I am aware that I abandon myself many times because I do not stand or fight for what I believe is right for me. I know we are going to encounter conflict in our daily life, it is part of it and I do not want to keep on feeling small at the presence of conflict. I want to be able to speak my truth, ask for what I need or stand for what I believe is right. How can I transform this, that is, how can I handle the anxiety and approach conflict in a more centered way?”

I completely understand what Angela experiences, as I used to feel the same anxiety, feeling like I was going to die. It took me many years to understand what I needed to do in conflict to no longer fear it.

I used to believe as Angela believes – that I had to learn to stand up, speak my truth, and fight for what I wanted or believed was right for me. I spent years learning to ‘fight fair’ and not crumble in the face of conflict. But even with all that, I was still scared of it.

Now I know why. Now I no longer fear conflict.

Angela, imagine that you have a little girl and someone verbally attacks her, or others are fighting in her presence. You have two choices:

  • You can stand up for her, speaking your truth or trying to get the others to stop fighting, or
  • You can turn to her, embrace her with understanding and compassion, and let her know that she is not alone – that you are here and your wise higher self is here. You can let her know that whatever is going on is not about her, so that she doesn’t take another’s unloving behavior personally. If possible, you can leave the situation. If you can’t leave, you can continue to focus on her rather than on the others, making sure that she doesn’t feel alone, and that she feels comforted.

If you take the first choice, she will still feel alone and scared. It won’t do any good at all to speak up for her or try to get others to stop. When people are upset, they are not open to learning, so whatever you say to them falls on deaf ears. You cannot get others to see you or hear you when they are upset or angry.

If you take the second choice, she will feel safe, knowing that you, as a loving Adult, are managing the situation and staying connected to her.

Angela, this is exactly what needs to happen on the inner level. The time to speak your truth and stand up for yourself is NOT in the moment of conflict. This is something you can do later, if you and the other or others are open to learning. Only when someone is open to learning will he or she hear you and want to understand.

When you take the second choice with yourself, you are staying connected with yourself rather than abandoning yourself. This is what your inner child needs from you to not feel scared. As you stated in your question, it is the self-abandonment that creates the terror, but you are confused regarding what is self-abandonment. You are still abandoning yourself when you enter the fray, fighting for what you want.

The only way you are not abandoning yourself in conflict is when you stay lovingly connected with yourself and your spiritual guidance, taking loving care of your own feelings. If you practice this, you will not only find that your fear goes away, but you will discover that you feel extremely empowered. This empowerment will help you know if and how to deal effectively with any others involved in the conflict, instead of reacting from a triggered position.

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

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CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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