I don’t “do” conflict well.
A lot of it comes from my parents. They never fought, or even really had interactions, in front of me, or within my earshot. I never really had that activity modeled for me. A lot of it comes from me. I have written before about how I can get overwhelmed with strong emotions and then just clam up. The official term for it is “emotional flooding.” I just have no idea how to react to the swell of feelings, and I shut down. I want to react, but I can’t.
My sweetie and I are in the middle of a disagreement about something. He asked me to do something, and I agreed to do it. I had misgivings about agreeing. I thought that I could get past them, but found that I couldn’t. So, I told him that I had to renege on my commitment.
Needless to say, he was not happy about this. I thought he’d be disappointed and angry, and he was. And he told me so. I also told him that I was sorry, but I just didn’t want to do what he’d asked. I didn’t feel good about it. I thought it was a lot to ask. I also told him that the alternative to my saying no was for me to do something I didn’t want to do, and risk being resentful and stressed out about it. I really didn’t like that option much.
We sort of ended last night’s conversation in a stalemate. I was numb. Then all of a sudden, I was upset, and was about to cry. I told him that I couldn’t talk to him anymore, and hung up the phone. I cried and cried, but not about anything in particular, and not even really about what we were disagreeing about.
I turned off my cell phone (I have no landline- it is my phone) so that I could get some sleep. When I turned the phone on this morning, I had two messages from my sweetie wanting to talk. It’s 11:17am, and I can’t figure out if I want to talk to him yet. I don’t know what to say. Part of me wants to make it better somehow. Part of me is sad and angry. I’m a mishmashymess.
I wish that I had some experience to draw from. I’m not used to standing my ground on something. I usually roll over and say “OK” to my partners to avoid conflict. That’s not healthy either. I’ve ended up doing things that I haven’t wanted to more times than I can count. I’m especially angry that I am learning these lessons at the ripe old age of 35. I feel like I should have gotten this down before.
Image in this post is from here.