Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Breaking the cycle of conflict avoidance

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Ceili posted 7/9/2013 06:47 AM

I've spent the last couple of days reading about conflict avoidance and its been one big "that's us!!" moment after the next BUT all of the advice to fix it feels do laughably simplistic or completely unrealistic to my situation.

For me, especially as a woman who has always had a giver/ nurturer role in the relationship, it seems nearly impossible to reverse this pattern.

Can you share with me how you have been successful in doing this?

SurprisinglyOkay posted 7/9/2013 08:35 AM

Have you tried any of the

laughably simplistic or completely unrealistic

Sometimes the simpler things are the more effective ones. And Simple does not imply Easy.

I think it's about communication and being vulnerable (2 things I suck at)

As our communication has opened up, and I've (very) slowly allowed myself to be a little vulnerable my fear of conflict has lessened.

I may sound like I'm down playing our progress, but I am realistic. This is a long process.

Conflict scares the hell out of me, but I'm slowly learning how to face that fear.

It's gone past just our relationship.

I had a situation with my Sister and it really showed me how much I want to avoid conflict.

Honestly, it's taken a lot of work. And by no means have I arrived anywhere. I just scares me a little less.

We read a book called "The Marriage You've Always Dreamed Of" By Dr Greg Smalley

It dealt a lot with communication and really helped us.

Ceili posted 7/9/2013 08:48 AM

I have found that BH does not react well to my communicating my feelings.

Example, maybe TMI: BH, for our entire marriage has preferred oral over actual sex. I have told him on multiple occasions that this makes me feel like he is using me as a release rather than sex being something affectionate. When he asked on Sunday I told him I'd really rather have actual sex. He asked again and I said no. He asked a third time and I said I resented his persistence. He asked a fourth time and I caved because I knew I'd get the cold shoulder for a week.

Communicating a feeling and firmly asserting yourself ( the laughable advice) doesn't work if the other person isn't receptive.

JustDesserts posted 7/9/2013 09:28 AM

Ceili...this may be TMI back, but if he's pulling that on you, why don't you tell him three words: Quid pro quo.

I know he is a BH, but what he is doing, and perhaps the "why" underneath his insistence, sounds a bit uncomfortable for me to hear. In terms of assertiveness, you CAN be assertive. If he pulls that, and doesn't respect your concerns and how you have clearly stated it makes you feel, then pick up your toys and go pull weeds in the garden for an hour or two. Maybe he'll come around...

Just my .02. YMMV. IMHO...

Ceili posted 7/9/2013 09:48 AM

Is there a ROFL smilie? Oh no quid pro quo. It has been YEARS. I mention it every few months or so but it's like asking for a unicorn for my birthday.

This is our pattern: He goes out on a Friday night with friends. I stay home. I feel resentful of his child free time. Normally I grin and bear it over and over again and then I blow up at him. But if I ask for my own time, he blows smoke up my ass and says yes but doesn't follow through or else flat out says no. This applies to just about every aspect of marriage from finances to sex to holidays.

I know that this cycle of me giving in/ never being on the receiving end makes me resentful and makes me emotionally unattached. And it's is in a big part my fault for enabling him in order to avoid a bad mood or argument. But it's like giving a kid a cookie in the grocery store so they stop whining. What kid is going to willingly and happily give up the cookie?

thecaves posted 7/9/2013 10:21 AM

Ceili I think you see one of the big changes you need to make in yourself to break that cycle. You need to let go of the fear of what will happen. I know, easier said than done.

As a WS, this is especially hard since we fear angering our BS.

Communicating a feeling and firmly asserting yourself ( the laughable advice) doesn't work if the other person isn't receptive.

Very true but you will never know if they will eventually become receptive unless you persevere in your attempts to avoid conflict.

JustDesserts posted 7/9/2013 12:21 PM

@Ceili: I'm no expert but is seems like you had some issues in your marriage predating your affair, and ones which if I sat in your shoes would make me feel taken advantage of, disrespected, taken for granted, and resentful. And now that you're wearing the scarlet "WS" he's seen fit to ramp up that disrespect another notch? How does that benefit him, you, or your marriage?

Despite being a BS, he has what sounds like alot of his own shit to deal with...namely why he feels the need to undermine you and your marriage as you do the work toward repairing the damage you caused. I know I've never walked a mile in his shoes (well, not exactly, but...a long, long time ago...), but if he's using this OPPORTUNITY you both have to perpetuate negatives and do so while sitting on a high horse that seems patently unfair, and violating the spirit of joint healing.

Yup, I'm sitting on the outside looking in, and probably have made some erroneous assumptions and incorrect observations, but on this one point, I take issue with what he appears to be doing.

I will say one thing, on the TMI sub-topic, is that there is definitely more than one type of scrumptious cookie. Your BS might want to figure that one out! Sheesh, us guys

hardlessons posted 7/9/2013 12:33 PM

Ceili, a couple of things that have really helped me with this issue of CA which is one of the biggest issues I deal with is

1. Self respect - if I am respecting my boundaries and my feelings I will give voice to those things that bother me or hit my boundaries.

2. Mindfulness - understanding our role and its impact on those around us and being mindful of the impact others have on us.

A great book I read for CA was "When anger scares you" by John Lynch. Great book for people with our condition!

longroadahead22 posted 7/9/2013 16:40 PM

For me conflict avoidance was a coping mechanism from childhood, so the simplest thing we did was a daily "tell me something you wouldn't normally tell me!" This slowly broke down my barrier to tell my BS things I was afraid to share. It was a safe place without judgement and with approval. So may try doing this as the last thing you do before you go to bed to en the night on a positive bonding experience

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.