On TV, in books and all over the media we are old that our teenage years should be ones of throwing strops, fighting with our parents, fighting with our friends and generally being mad at the world. With all the new hormones, emotions can run very high but what if you don’t want to fight with everyone? Most people don’t actively enjoy confrontation but what if the very idea of confrontation is terrifying to you?
If you are anything like me this might be the case. I hate confrontation, especially emotional or personal confrontation. The prospect of arguing with someone can bring on a fast heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, a feeling of dread and that innate feeling of Run! Hide! And then I can’t express any of the feelings I was having, anger or betrayal or hurt. They all get shoved down to the bottom of my brain because the concept of sharing them and risking an argument is far worse than just keeping my mouth shut and living with it.
If you have these feelings, they might be isolated to the prospect of confrontation or they might be a part of a wider anxiety problem. Either way it’s likely that you end up bottling up your emotions, not telling someone when they have hurt you. Pretending everything is ok in your relationships when from your perspective, they are falling apart. This is a really challenging situation to find yourself in so here are some tips that might help you.
· If you can’t share you feeling with others, write them down in a journal or elsewhere. It’s important to express your feelings even if it’s not to anyone. Be careful about writing stuff online as it may come back to the person you are upset with and ultimately make things worse.
· Try sharing how you are feeling with that person via a letter, this way you don’t have to physically engage. As a bonus, you can take the time to express how you are feeling in the right way so that your words don’t get muddled up
· At a time when you aren’t dealing with the prospect of confrontation, try talking to your friend or family member about how confrontation makes you feel, and perhaps in future how difficult topics can be discussed in a way that is easier for you.
· Change the way you engage in difficult conversations to make them less confrontational, use a mediator, a speaking conch or have an ‘indoor voices’ rule.
Remember its ok to ask for help, all those feelings I described earlier are feelings of anxiety and you don’t have to deal with them alone.
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The articles here are written by guest writers or previous TWE members.