Some folks are what we call, conflict adverse. They don’t like conflict. They avoid it.
However, avoiding conflict means some things may not get resolved. Those things may fester. Issues may thus get bigger.
It can be helpful to reflect on one’s experiences growing up to truly understand why one would be conflict adverse. It may be that in one’s childhood, a parent or elder sibling had an anger issue. People learn to walk on eggshells and seek to avoid upsetting the person for fear their anger may erupt with heated emotion, yelling or screaming, or acts of physical violence. Avoidance may have been the successful survival strategy of childhood.
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However, now as an adult, it leads to other problems.
It may also be that in the present, one is concerned about the anger of their partner and how the partner will react to you seeking to address issues of concern.
Of course, there are also those folks who, by virtue of their personality, may simply be more sensitive and timid.
To move towards resolving conflict, it may first be necessary to determine if concerns for safety are current or an outcome of past experiences. For that, it may be necessary to speak with a counsellor. If there are current concerns, please do discuss those with your counsellor and obtain guidance specific to your situation.
If one’s conflict avoidance is more based on past experience or if a person is more of a timid type, then setting the stage to address issues is important.
Consider informing your partner that you have some things to talk about that for you, are difficult. They key is to not blame the partner but to take responsibility for your difficulty in raising issues. Although taking responsibility, you are seeking your partner’s support to enable the conversation.
Ask to be able to complete your thought without interruption and advise that you will do the same as you take turns talking. Advise that you both are able to take a break if the conversation feels too difficult and that you can return to it when both are ready.
Taking responsibility for one’s difficulty with conflict and setting the stage for conversation can help many people talk about those things that were of issue to them. The key is in seeking to raise and discuss those issues in a way that doesn’t shame or embarrass the other.
For folks still concerned about having difficult conversations, and are still conflict avoidant, do consider meeting with a counsellor, either on your own to gain additional guidance, or with your partner to help facilitate the conversation.
As you gain experience and mastery and learn these skills of raising and addressing issues peacefully, you can overcome conflict avoidance in this relationship.