"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering. "

... BEN OKRI

How to Overcome the Discomfort with Conflict

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014

In my work with clients, many individuals fear conflict. They often use the term “confrontation” which has a negative connotation and sounds aggressive. When individuals fear conflict they often go to great lengths to avoid it as if it were the plague. The problem with avoidance of conflict is that it can result in problems for the person avoiding it and their relationships and interactions with others. Oftentimes, the avoidance stems from low self-worth where individuals do not believe that they have a right to set personal boundaries. Consequently, they end up being a doormat to others and walked over.

Individuals that avoid conflict feel very uncomfortable at the thought of a disagreement, or of someone becoming upset with them. Instead they may placate the person and as a result end up feeling resentment. Or they may change the subject or be silent allow the other individual to monopolize the conversation. There is a fear of what may happen if they assert themselves.

In some instances, it may be very adaptive to disengage from conflict, especially when we are dealing with individuals that are very angry, aggressive or emotionally abusive. In such situations, there is no point in getting into a disagreement with them as nothing constructive will occur. Attempting to reason with such individuals or to make your own point of view known can result in aggression or abuse. With such individuals it is best practice to disengage peacefully as soon as possible.

Fortunately, these people are in the minority and if you encounter someone with such traits, it is best to have as little to do with them as possible. What is difficult is such a person may be a family member and we may feel obligated to have contact. Remember that you have a right to a peaceful existence and do not have to endure abuse in order to maintain a relationship. You may minimize your contact with anyone including family if the interaction is toxic. In some cases no contact is warranted and it does not make one a bad person if one decides to extricate toxic individuals from their lives.

In most situations, people are not abusive, and therefore avoiding conflict is not productive. If someone is starting to insult you or coerce you, remaining silent is unhealthy and a way of neglecting yourself. It is vital to stand up for oneself.

What you consider “conflict” is solely having boundaries and setting limits with a person’s unacceptable/poor behavior. You’re saying “No” to how they are treating you because they are crossing the line of respect.

Engaging in this type of “conflict” is healthy self-care. Avoiding “conflict” in this case would be sending the message that their behavior is acceptable and that you are willing to tolerate their mistreatment of you.

It is only destructive to engage in conflict with emotionally and physically dangerous people. With the rest of the world, “conflict” is what protects you from being abused.

I am committed to providing the highest quality of care and maintain a deep desire to facilitate personal transformation that allows individuals to live whole-heartedly. My desire is that individuals live a life embodied with peace, joy, love, and prosperity. I hope to accomplish my purpose, which is to help you live your dream of realizing your fullest potential in a personal and meaningful manner that allows you to live the life you want.

A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.

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The Association for Compassionate Transformation is dedicated to empowering individuals, enrighing live, promoting personal growth and development by providing professionally competent and personally compassionate services for children, adults, couples and families through life-coaching, psychotherapy and education with the intent of achieving a productive life, a meaningful existence and reaching one's highest potential. I am deeply passionate about my work and am honored to have been chosen as a counselor/psychotherapist on the journey to self-improvement. I find my work as a psychologist to be highly rewarding and fulfilling. I never underestimate the courage and strength it requires to engage in self-introspection and work toward positive change in becoming one’s true and authentic self.

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