Do you have FEAR of conflict?
If you recognize that you are fearful of conflict, you have already made the first step to dealing with it more effectively.
Don’t beat yourself up, that never helps. What DOES help, is understanding what happens in your brain. Why do you feel these feelings?
It all begins with your brain, anyway.
Your brain orchestrates your feelings and emotions. But, you feel them in your body. You don’t feel them in your head.
You might feel the fear in your heart. Your hands might sweat or even tremble, your throat may narrow, and suddenly your voice cracks, or worse, you start to stutter. You cant find the right words, it feels like your brain is frozen, and of course, afterward you blame yourself. “Why couldn’t I calm down and say what was really bothering me clearly and coherently?”
Another way some people deal with fear of conflict is – walking away! It can be very effective for surviving the moment, but it’s not really effective for resolving a conflict. Or, for getting your needs met.
So, WHY is it, that you have all those stress responses.
Let me ask you this.
As a young child of 2 or 3 years old, did you ever experience situations where someone that you loved very much (like your parent or an older sibling) got very angry at you?
Or, did you witness a terrible fight between your parents, where they were both screaming, or even throwing things around or at each other. That is a very scary experience for a child.
Or, maybe you observed a very intense anger outburst. For instance, your dad was furious at your mom.
In your little child’s brain, witnessing the anger directed at you or directed at someone you love so much, -who is also your protector- is very overwhelming emotionally.
The emotional circuit of ANGER, -we have 7 circuits in the brain, – gets entangled with the FEAR circuit. That means neurons that are wired together, fire together. The “fire” is the response you feel.
So, the strength of the intensity determines how strong you are affected by that experience.
The result is, that in the future, when you experience someone exhibiting a strong angry behavior, at you or anyone, you automatically feel a FEAR response.
Now,.. no one likes to be in fear. So, we try to avoid people who have angry outbursts.
Here is a great tip.
If you feel angry, about something or about someone – it doesn’t matter-, know, that you have the right to feel and acknowledge anger. It is often an indicator that can change important things for you.
You could be angry because of your deep needs for respect, love, or appreciation are not being validated, or worse, they are being violated. That’s upsetting!
So, what can you do? First, you look inwardly, and acknowledge your unmet needs and the reasons why you are angry or upset.
Next, and here it comes, remember that you are NOT angry AT, but angry THAT. You need to focus and direct your anger on the topic, the problem, your unmet need.
If you are angry THAT, you don’t direct it to the person, but the facts. The result is, that you do not hurt anyone while you express what’s upsetting you.
This way, if you are a parent, and angry, you won’t frighten your child. Your child then has the opportunity to learn compassion for your upset or pain no matter what ignited your anger.
If you are angry at your partner, he or she will have an easier time listening to you, but not only that, they won’t feel attacked and they will be much more likely to listen to you and actually hear what you are saying.
Recently, I discovered someone stealing some of my plans and written materials. Somebody I never expected to behave that way. I had a strong response of shock and anger when I realized what had happened.
And yes, I got very mad and said with a loud voice: I AM FURIOUS!!!! (I said it louder than now…) That was the only thing I said a few times.
Right away a door opened and one of my sons came out: “Mom what is going on, what happened???” He was there, ready to listen, and compassionately receive what I had to share.
If I would have gone ranting, cursing, and yelling at the person who caused my anger, (because that’s what people often do when they are upset, …) his door would have probably opened only after I would have calmed down.
Being angry is totally ok, even though there are some so called ‘enlightened’ people that think anger is wrong. No. Anger is a sign that something is not right for you, that important needs are not being met, or worse, being violated. And you need to acknowledge that!
“Being angry THAT” instead of angry AT, is so much healthier for you, and others around you. Try it!
If you want to learn more about HOW you can deal with those entangled circuits, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me! I would love to talk to you!