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How Avoiding Conflict Can Cause Problems In Your Relationship

Fortunately, what’s good for flighters turns out to be good for everyone. Flighters might just need a little extra encouragement and support.

  • That said, the vast majority of animosity is likely manageable.
  • Many people dislike conflict, but in some cases, conflict avoidance can harm your relationships and health.
  • If you’re a visual person, for example, you can relieve stress by closing your eyes and imagining soothing images.
  • When you communicate openly and honestly with your partner, you are able to share your thoughts and feelings with them.
  • It could mean you end up overreacting to a minor issue.

I want you to know that if anyone you’re involved with is demanding you to be inhumanly perfect in order to be in a relationship with you, that is not okay. You are a human being, with needs, rights and feelings, not a robot. If she cannot tolerate your humanity, she may not be in a space where she is able to have a relationship with anyone right now. It’s so hard when you connect with someone who is legitimately not emotionally available, but I fear that may be true in your case. And, unfortunately, that is nothing you have control over. One is if you grew up in a family that was harsh, critical, and emotionally unsafe.

Connect with the conflict

If you don’t know how or why you feel a certain way, you won’t be able to communicate effectively or resolve disagreements. The needs of each party play an important role in the long-term success of a relationship. In personal relationships, a lack of understanding about differing needs can result in distance, arguments, and break-ups. In the workplace, differing needs can result in broken deals, decreased profits, and lost jobs. Whatever the cause of disagreements and disputes at home or work, these skills can help you resolve conflict in a constructive way and keep your relationships strong and growing. Facing your fears doesn’t imply starting another conflict.

Is avoidance a learned behavior?

On the other hand, an avoidance response is a learned, voluntary behavior which is carried out to prevent or avoid an aversive stimulus before it is presented: for example, putting earplugs in before entering an environment where loud noises might occur.

You may also subconsciously direct the negative and painful feelings to your partner, blaming them for your inability to speak up and nurture intimacy. Or you may direct them inwardly and begin to hate yourself for your perceived weaknesses. If you feel the discomfort and pain of all the pretending and avoiding, it’s likely someone else in your family or the system feels it too. You addressing things might be the catalyst others need to step up and name things as they are, too.

Marriage Counseling Questions | Couples Therapy Questions

Also, if your partner consistently gets very heated, aggressive or starts cursing, then those are signs that your relationship may be abusive. No matter what caused the argument, no one should yell at you, curse, or otherwise make you feel uncomfortable and/or scared when you are arguing. You should never feel like you are being attacked or need to tread carefully to not make your partner any angrier. If you’ve been in a volatile relationship before, you’ve seen where confrontation can lead.

  • During confrontations, you can try to practice anxiety-management techniques.
  • The key is self-awareness of when situations get uncomfortable and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with safe people who will help you sort through how to best respond.
  • It isn’t easy to open up and connect with your conflicts.
  • He’s a wonderful person and we love each other but he has been trying to establish his own business that is taking an awful lot of time.
  • Jane is more likely to be hurt, defensive, and attack back without reflecting on her own behavior.

Keep in mind, that it’s not that you address every single feeling and go to the opposite extreme of wearing your feelings on your sleeve, especially in the business world. Every family establishes norms about what’s okay to talk about and what isn’t, including feelings. If you did this with anyone in our group, I’d advise that you make an appointment for relationship coaching and then attend the consult with your friend. FYI, how to deal with someone who avoids conflict if you just go on your own to the consult it may make it harder for your friend to engage with this, because she may feel like you “poisoned the well” by sharing your perspective first. Don’t tell me I should have done this or that or the other thing. We offer premarital counseling, sex therapy, perinatal counseling, parent coaching, affair recovery, blended family counseling, financial therapy for couples, and more.


As adults, conflicts with others reawaken this childhood trauma and can trigger panic reactions such as sweating, shaking, or heart palpitations. A person may be conflict-avoidant because of past experiences with an individual who wasn’t secure enough to handle confrontation productively. The nightmarish fights which followed a minor and diplomatic confrontation or question may have been painful and dramatic.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

Unfortunately, conflict avoidance creates only superficial harmony. Gottman recommends that couples avoid criticism, blame, and defensiveness during conflict and approach issues softly and validate each other’s concerns. Research shows that these principles effectively improve marital satisfaction and reduce marriage problems.

Try anxiety-management techniques during conflict

After opening up and connecting with the conflict, identify the obstacles in your path of growth. Insecurity, anxiety, fear of abandonment, dependency, and feelings of inferiority are some of the reasons that might lead you to avoid conflict. If you can’t recognize your insecurities or don’t know how to deal with them, you can always seek the help of a psychologist. I try to explain to him over and over again that I’m not angry, I’m hurt by his invalidation of my feelings but he still doesn’t understand. Once he left me sitting next to him on the sofa, crying my eyes out without saying a word or without touching me at all. I don’t know, maybe I’m really overreacting, but I think it was very cruel. I also once told him he doesn’t have to understand, all he has to do is respect my feelings.

What do you call a person who avoids conflict?

If you are a pacifist, you avoid physical confrontations. The beliefs and actions of peacemakers can also be described as pacifist, as in someone whose pacifist beliefs lead him to take part in nonviolent protests against a war.

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