Conflicting

Really Real Mental Health Post

Or at least, it sort of falls under mental health but I sort of think everyone does it.

I have this really bad habit of trying to wait till the perfect time to bring a difficult discussion up.

Like I’ve said before, conflict is really difficult for me.  It goes back to my childhood when conflict didn’t happen without some form of emotional explosion.  I see things in super bright colors so even minor yelling seemed like fireworks and arms waving seemed like pots and pans flying.  I can’t tell you how bad it actually got because in my head it was all horrible.  And I don’t know how much of that horrible was different from what other children experienced.  I don’t know how much of it was just me being “too sensitive” and how much of it was a really toxic environment.

And as an adult I became the yeller and I dated and later married people who were really good at keeping up with the yelling and the arm waving and we made our own fireworks.

And now, I’m so afraid of those fireworks that when something bothers me I hold back.  And I know I’ve written about some of this before, but processing isn’t a once and done, so here we go again.

I hold back because the person has something difficult going on in their life, so I won’t talk about the thing bothering me, because it might be too much on them, and therefore make it more likely to explode, so I’ll wait.  And then I wait because there’s another stressful thing, or because I’m not in the right mood and I’m more likely to become upset.

It’s a really hard lesson for me to learn that hard conversations don’t have to mean fights.

I think, It’s an even harder lesson for me to learn that I’m allowed to be upset about things.  To me, being angry or upset means I’m going to yell and scream because that’s what anger looks like.

To be frustrated and stay calm means some sort of passive aggressiveness or plotting or silent treatment.  It can’t mean I’m angry and I understand, I’m frustrated and I’m okay with that.  Except now, that’s exactly what is does mean for me.

Even separating those feelings, anger, frustration, upset. . . . and the underlying anxiety that I feel because of them,  they all have little nuances that I was never able to figure out because I was too busy reacting instead of reflecting.

But knowing this stuff also means that I’m even more likely to hold back because I work through the emotions and decide that it’s not worth acting on or even talking about.

Finding the balance, working through these emotions while still verbalizing what’s bothering me without waiting for the perfect time, is really really hard.

It creates its own type of conflict, an internal one.

I’m relearning a lifetime of unhealthy skills and it won’t happen overnight.

But it’s happening.

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