Conflict Avoidance

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Enzel, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    I can't tell if this has gotten worse, but I'm at least way more aware of it now than I have been.

    a big part of my anxiety revolves around being misunderstood/disagreed with. I know those are two different things, but basically, if someone criticizes me or disagrees with me, I feel this urge to explain my position or situation in detail because it really, really bothers me that someone might be drawing a conclusion about me based on false information. I also have a lot of difficulty with the idea of someone disliking me; I feel like I have to do something to change that, like I did something wrong.

    I've been told that I need to stop making "excuses" whenever I make a mistake but i don't necessarily want to not take responsibility, I just want the other person to understand why I did something, not think I was just being careless or callous. I've been afraid of making mistakes least a very long time, if not my whole life. I meticulously plan things and gather information before taking action because of this. I'm extremely indecisive and it kills my motivation. I have a hard time working up the nerve to start things because I'm afraid of screwing up. I've become marginally better at this thanks to therapy, but I'm between therapists at the moment for various reasons.

    I think my biggest issue right now is the fact that, if someone disagrees with me about something minor (like, idk, something I like or an issue i'm passionate about) I either get really defensive and angry, or I concede their point almost immediately because I really don't want to argue, or for them to dislike me. I'm constantly prefacing things I say with "I'm sorry, but" or something like that. If I get upset with someone, even if I complain about them to someone else I start to rationalize their behavior out loud like I'm trying to find an explanation for their actions.

    I hope this made some sort of sense, I know it's sort of jumbled. I'm looking into getting another therapist but it's going to take some time (inertia, crippling anxiety about phone calls) and I'm wondering if there's some sort of...strategy that I could use to manage this in the meantime. I guess. Rationally i know people disagree all the time and that's perfectly fine but the idea of it just...sets something off that I feel like I can't control.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
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  2. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Hmm. My social anxiety is a bit more control based. So what I do is often go over the possible consequences and decide my possible responses to each one, and that helps, but it sounds like yours is a different core issue.

    Honestly, this forum is doing wonders for me atm, because it is such a safe space. I think mine isn't quite as bad, but being in an environment that isn't critical and is really open takes a lot of the fear away. I highly suggest practicing here, because the practice helps. As for things to practice, I'm a little stumped.

    So questions! Do you mind explaining things in detail? Like, does clarifying later bother you(kinda like how I am asking you questions here)? Is it simply a fear/frustration thing, or do you also have trouble with having the energy to explain again/further? It sounds to me that maybe the amount of effort you put into this might be exhausting you and causing more problems.

    There are some phrasing things that may help with the "excuses" thing. Like, "I understand I did [mistake], I just want you to know that [things you need to clarify]". It doesn't work on everybody, but it does get a good number off your back at least.

    If anything I said was unclear or incorrect, feel free to ask for clarification or correct me. I promise that I will not be offended as I very much like helping people but also know that I get things wrong in my interpretations. (If you respond and I don't get back to you soon, it is probably because I finally fell asleep)

    Edit: wow this is a lot more scatterbrained than I remember it being when I wrote it last night. Uh, feel free to ignore if you desire <- fail-safe for my own social anxiety/conflict avoidance
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  3. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    hey, just letting you know I saw your response, but i'm sick and my head's sorta fuzzy atm so i will formulate my response asap. @_@ thank you!
    • Like x 1
  4. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    You know, the "list possible consequences" thing is something I did with my last therapist, and while it made sense in sessions, I could never get it to work outside of them. :/ I've been told I'm extremely self-aware, but in practice that means "cannot trick self into doing things", like, for example..."finish this task and you can eat some ice cream as a reward!" and I just go "well, nothing is stopping me from eating it right now." I've gotten slightly better at managing my motivation, but. I wonder if that counts as impulse control...either way I have a hard time remembering the method when I'm in an anxiety-inducing situation, and if it caused me anxiety I have very little desire to revisit it later on my own to try to figure out why.

    My anxiety does the whole "imagine every possible thing that can go wrong" or "imagine one thing that can go wrong and then escalate exponentially" thing. As in: must make phone call -> I will probably stumble over some words -> I will definitely forget what I want to say and freeze up and be very embarrassed -> person I am calling will think I'm WEIRD and HATE ME. Like, absurd stuff. Stuff I know is absurd, but it puts my brain into panic mode and then I get the physical symptoms like the jitteriness and feeling almost...preemptively humiliated.

    I will usually be ok with explaining things later, though if I feel I'm not being understood I do start getting nervous again. Sometimes I do give up if I don't have the energy, but that's usually with my mother, who I really don't get along with. She's very spoon-draining to deal with in general. Thankfully I no longer live with her.

    I think part of the problem is I just don't know how to let things go? Like, I can be very forgiving of minor mistakes, apparently, but I've also held grudges about things I found extremely hurtful for years. A friend of mine just married a guy that I disliked for a very long time because he said something insensitive to me in high school, and I know that he's grown up and gotten better now, but every time I think about it I still feel hurt. And I don't want to. I feel like I'm just making myself extra miserable, but I don't know how to let it go.

    I feel very similarly about my own social mistakes, though, and will often dwell on things months to years after the fact. Like suddenly I'll remember something dumb I did and just feel awful about it even though other people have probably forgotten ages ago.

    This actually sounds like something I could do, I'll try to remember it.

    You're totally fine! I wrote my post, went to sleep, and woke up with a fever, so I was really out of it most of the day, hah. I'm afraid my stuff is a bit rambly as well.
  5. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Ah! Well, when I do the write thing, it is because it is still bothering me. Like, I've had silly little social interactions bother me for days "did I offend the person? Are they mad at me? What if I said that thing wrong??" And it just sits and twirls in my head a thousand miles per an hour. So I write it down so it stops swirling. I have a hard time dealing with things stuck in my head because they cycle. Writing it down makes the circles stop. And once written, I can read it and reread it to make sure I have all the swirly thoughts gone. I get a satisfying sort of "yes, I said everything about this subject. There is nothing else to say". I also put actions in there btw. So if I'm worried about them hating me, what am I going to do about if it's true? For me anyways, that changes the problem. I can't deal very well with "what if"s, but I don't have a problem with someone disliking me. It is just logically impossible for everyone to like me. If yours is more of an intense in-the-moment anxiety, it probably won't be as affective. Bringing up anxiety never makes me feel good, but mine tends to linger around way too long.

    I am also not very good at tricking myself with reward systems. I have a higher success rate of involving a pleasant thing into my task. For example, I'll have ice cream while I am working on homework or something. I often put music on to get myself to do cleaning and such.

    There is another social anxiety thread that has some tricks for the brain spirals. As far as phone calls, if I'm having an automated call, I will often hang up if things go wrong. If I have the spoons, I will call again. For people, I have heard that making scripts help, but if it's one of those annoying business calls and I find I need info that I don't have, I just tell them I will have to get back with them later and end the call. When I have spoons again, I will try again, after gathering more info. Sometimes I ask someone else to do the calls for me and I provide all the info. I typically keep my phone calls short, few, and far between though.

    I came to the conclusion a couple years ago that it's okay to hate people. It really is okay. And feeling okay about hating people actually makes it easier? Like, I used to hate my sister. She's screwed with my life a couple of times. And it pissed me off. I have told her I don't like her and I don't want to be a part of her life. She's hurt by this, but I didn't honestly care, kinda still don't. But it doesn't build. And one of the magical things about it, is when I'm angry, I have somewhere I can direct it(I do not for the record contact her, but I will often rant to family and friends about it). And it is sort of freeing? And I have two other people I hate that I am unlikely to ever meet again, but just feeling angry without guilt can feel really good. Like, when you tie your anger and your guilt together, they both become harder to deal with. I seperated mine so that I no longer feel guilty about being angry, and I don't get angry/frustrated when I feel guilty. Because they are both feelings that are normal and okay to feel. And, for the record, my sister and I aren't friends, but I can honestly say I don't hate her anymore. I still don't like her, but the passion is gone, and I can interact with her fine.

    As far as old social mistakes, as overly simple as it sounds, I apologize, even if it's years/months late. It really does help. If it's people I don't interact with anymore, it's a little harder, but I've convinced myself that a)they've become stronger and dealt with it and b) hunting them down and bringing it back would only resurface hurfeelings.

    Anyways @_@ my confidence is really off right now and I'm not sure if I was any help. But sometimes I love to talk! xD
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