Some people find it very uncomfortable to speak their truth if that may upset someone else. Even the expectation real or imagined of conflict is often enough to deter them from expressing their own feelings, needs or wants. A common thought for these people is that
- it is not worth hassling over
- it’s not important
- the relationship is more important
- I will just bear it in silence
They can present in a very friendly, reasonable and accepting way but underneath strong currents of negativity are flowing together with powerful consequences for the future of their healthy relationship. The reality is that every time this happens a piece of their self esteem is damaged and resentment begins to accumulate. This results in negative covert behaviours where the avoider (of conflict) agrees to do something on the surface but sabotages this in some way, without admitting to it. The partner finds this hard to discern, feels confused and over time loses trust and becomes frustrated, leading to more conflict and more avoidance.
The avoider has quite often experienced a dominating adult in childhood who also did not listen. This has created a belief in this child that
- his or her needs are not important
- it’s not safe to express my feelings and needs
- in open conflict you always lose
- I cannot afford to say no
- In this moment the most important thing is to please or make peace.
Consequently pleasing people to their face becomes the obvious strategy, while unconsciously they misinform, distort, forget and basically tell lies. This can all happen with the best of intentions being in place.
Because of these childhood experiences the avoider often develops a hypersensitivity to being dominated or a sense of extreme vulnerability when expected to reveal their feelings, needs or wants. It’s easy to project onto the partner that they are very dominating and overwhelming especially when the partner is somewhat inclined to be dominating or simply speak their truth.
This common yet destructive pattern is caused by damaged self esteem, limiting core beliefs and emotional vulnerability can be healed and transformed through :
- learning how to accept yourself at the core level
- developing core strength that is not dependent on others
- identifying and transforming those beliefs that enable this behaviour
- Normalising those emotions through inner child work.