Why You Avoid Conflicts (And What You Miss)

Conflicts are painful and scare. It is tempting to avoid them. On the other hand, if I consider conflicts as something that is fundamentally part of life and growth, then I will develop myself. I can be open and curious again. This involves researching three perspectives: my own, those of the other person, and the conditions that contribute to our conflict. You also find that interpersonal or internal conflicts are difficult to endure and try to avoid them if possible? Then welcome to the club. Would not it be nice to live in a world without these conflicts? It probably depends on how you look at a conflict.

How you look at a conflict:

Quick solutions to reduce pain and anxiety

If you are primarily aware of the pain and anxiety that a conflict causes in you, then it makes sense to seek a quick fix. So why not quickly agree with what you would actually reject; why not give in quickly so that everything is harmonious; or why not quickly prevail where you have more power; or ignore the one with whom you are experiencing a conflict?

Yes, such quick fixes have the distinct advantage of not having to endure the intense feelings and pain of a conflict at the moment. Instead, you bypass all the issues associated with the conflict; these issues are often hard to bear - feelings of addiction or lack of self-esteem may be affected; and not infrequently, conflicts go straight to the roots, their own identity, their own roles and expectations.

An example

I take an example from myself: how many internal and external conflicts I experienced alone, that I moved from Hamburg to Copenhagen a few years ago. All of these conflicts had to do with my identity, in this case my origin, my language, my culture, my job and my new role as father.

Find the solutions

During this time, I met several other foreigners who seemingly elegantly solved this problem: They told me that you had "sacrificed" or "abandoned" your culture, or that your future was "exclusively" in Denmark. Oh, how I wanted to be happy - and how reluctant I was to find the solutions they had come to expect.

Transformation instead of fast solutions

No, there were no quick fixes. Rather, I learned (once again) that conflicts can be viewed from two fundamentally different perspectives.

  • The conflict is a problem that I have to solve as quickly as possible in order to get away from the pain and the violent feelings. The conflict has little to do with me and my growth.
  • The conflict is intense and painful, and I take time to explore and get to know it, to become clearer and grow. I see the conflict as an opportunity to learn something new and go directly to it.

In Example 1, I probably perceive the conflict, in particular the pain or the violent feelings such as fear or anger. In Example 2, I perceive the conflict as something that makes me curious to know more.

The three perspectives to explore the conflict

This "more" I'm interested in ultimately consists of at least three perspectives.

The first view is my own, as I experience the conflict at the moment. What is important from my perspective? What are the reasons for this conflict? What is going on in me?

Second, I can look at the conflict from the perspective of the other person (s) - how does she experience this conflict? How does this person experience me in this conflict? It is also possible to ask how an outsider would describe the conflict.

Thirdly, it makes sense to take a somewhat broader perspective: Are there any other factors that play a role here? Do cultural differences matter? Is there an indirectly involved, other group or structures, eg the family or the workplace?


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Important in these questions is that it is not about truth or right. You can assume that there is always something to be completed and still more perspectives. It's about the process of describing and exploring that helps you find more than "quick fixes".

In the long term you will learn to understand conflicts as learning opportunities and actively seek them instead of avoiding them.

Is It Wrong To Avoid Conflicts?

  • No, in fact, it would be ideal to prevent them.
  • The problem is not the avoidance of a conflict; what makes it negative is:
  • The reason why you want to avoid.
  • Fear or anxiety are the worst reasons.
  • The cost of avoiding it
  • You never charge what you lend, live with someone you are no longer comfortable with, work in places you no longer want, find it hard to say no, tolerate abuses “voluntarily”, conformism projects or weakness of character and they grab you as a pig.
  • You let things stagnate for years.
  • You channel feelings that occur through the isolation or consumption of substances.

What have you come to tolerate to avoid a conflict?

The real importance of the subject.

A Greek tragedy about the half-open refrigerator is perhaps somewhat exaggerated.

If it solves the problem or not, avoid it.

If you throw it under the rug and the problem comes up again and again then avoiding is not the best strategy.

 What are you afraid of conflict avoiders?

To the reaction of the other.

Punishment or disappointment.

In couples, an overly demanding person can shoot in the other avoidance behaviors and a vicious circle forms.

To emotions derived from conflicts.

  • Before the conflict there are two perspectives:
  • Orientation towards feelings.
  • Hypersensitive people to whom the emotional impact of themselves or of others is a priority over logic or facts.
  • Orientation towards thoughts.
  • People who recognize the emotional cost of a decision, procure the one that causes the least possible impact, but the greatest benefit achievable for the system (relationship or person).

To have their image and identity damaged.

  • They do not want to be the bad guys in the story.
  • This is derived from distorted self-esteem.
  •  To his incompetence to resolve conflicts.
  • Derived from authoritarian parents, who always believed they were right, they were distributors of blame, who demanded blind obedience and devotion, did not listen to arguments or problems with the handling of emotions.

There are those who work with conflicts but emotional situations cannot handle them.

What Exactly Is A Conflict?

Mexico.- Mario Guerra, psychotherapist, and thanatologist, ontological coach, ask if you do anything to avoid conflicts or if you are one of the people to whom the conflicts cause anxiety or anxiety. If your answer is positive Waters! It is not the same to prevent conflicts than to do more than necessary to avoid them

What is the price you have paid to bring the party in peace with someone else? 

It is the disagreement that you have with another person, or with yourself, where you hold two mutually exclusive positions about something and that has not been resolved.

When agreements are reached, the conflict disappears.

 How to know if you are a conflict avoider?

  • Change the conversation topic
  • Distract the other’s attention with anything.
  • You directly discuss the topic:
  • Keeping silent or leaving the other talking only.
  • Making you the offended or the angry.
  • Blaming the other for the conflict in himself by taking a false “pacifying” attitude to be able to scrub in the face his foolishness, intransigence or little tolerance.
  • Appearing in a hurry.
  • Saying that “this is not the right time or place,” but never taking up the subject again.
  • “Give the plane” to the other in a sarcastic way.
  • Cedes “kindly” (submissively) your opinion, point of view or needs as long as another or others do not get upset or get hurt.
  • Using formulas such as “how you want”, “I do not care” or “choose you”.
  • Postpones
  • Important decisions or actions that you believe will bring negative consequences for you, for another person or for a relationship.
  • Because you spend your life searching without finding (because it probably does not exist) how to communicate that decision or act without there being the slightest negative consequence for anyone.
  • You do not even tolerate the idea of ​​them looking at you ugly or going to say anything about you.