Do you sprint away from conflict? When even the slightest disagreement happens, do you feel unworthy of that relationship? Maybe you criticize yourself or have a petrifying fear of relationship conflict?
Whatever it is, it’s detrimental to your relationships. All relationships (even the most healthy relationships ever) have conflicts. It’s natural when two people interact.
Yet, us survivors of abuse often fear it. And for good reason! In the past, conflict could have been very threatening. If you disagreed with your abuser in some way, they may have hurt you. Perhaps your life was even threatened.
If a partner asks something of you—something that was impossible to anticipate—you might get angry at yourself that you didn’t notice it earlier. Even when you didn’t actually make a mistake.
When you do make a mistake (cause that happens to all of us!), your reaction is even worse. You might feel so bad you want to break off the relationship, hide in a corner, and never interact with anyone again.
Having faced violent abuse, I know just how potent the fear of relationship conflict can be. Even if nothing bad actually happened, even if I was completely safe, I was still terrified.
But relationships are the lifeblood of joy. As humans we need positive connection.
That’s why I made this video. To show you that disagreements can feel safe and comfortable to experience.
Fearing relationship conflict is natural, but it’s painful too. This episode has hopefully showed you how to embrace conflict with open arms. Seeing it is something normal, rather than frightening. It might take a bit of time to get used to conflict, but you’ve just taken the first step towards it being much less scary.
I’d absolutely love to hear from you:
What is your biggest fear when it comes to conflicts? What rational things can you tell yourself when you make a mistake, to help tame your inner critic?
And, before you go, take a second to share this video with a friend or partner—especially if you want to make conflicts a safer and more accepted part of your relationship! I really do count on you sharing this work. It’s people like you that help me reach other survivors, so I’d be truly honored if you could share this.
Relationship conflict is no longer dangerous. It might be uncomfortable, but you’re safe while it’s happening. The love you and your partner or friend feel is as real as always, even in the midst of a disagreement.