Have you ever noticed how empowering it feels to say, “I don’t want to?”
I was just working with a client who had a fear of confrontation. She grew up believing that it was aggressive to confront someone because it might hurt them or cause more friction and drama.
While you might bother someone because they don’t like you telling them no or standing up to them, it’s not likely they are that hurt, especially if you are respectful in your delivery of the communication.
There is always a chance that a tough conversation will indeed cause more drama, because we are pitting one person’s will or beliefs against another’s. Does that mean we should avoid the confrontation? Not at all.
Do You Fight, Flight or Freeze?
When it comes to the part of our brain (the amygdala) that governs flight, fight or freeze responses, each of us can display all 3 behaviors, depending on the day. If you are wronged by someone, what is your default reaction?
Do you fight and argue with them, trying to prove your position? Do you get out of there and avoid them? Or do you simply freeze, losing your words and not knowing what to do?
I suppose it would depend upon the person who’s wronged you and how comfortable you feel with them, and it could depend upon how confident you are with the topic of the altercation. But overall, how would you respond?
Though I have a tendency to stay and fight (my mom told me I would make a good lawyer), that doesn’t mean confrontation is always easy for me. There have been plenty of times in my life when I felt intimidated by a conversation or person and wanted to flee. I don’t often freeze unless I procrastinate due to a subconscious fear.
The Downside of Avoiding Tough Conversations
What should you do when you feel bullied by another party’s agenda, which could be your ex? I truly believe that avoiding direct communication has multiple downsides that I want you to consider before you continue this way of coping.
1) Suppressing what you truly think and feel leads to illness in the body. Emotional toxins need to be released, and when they build up over time, they manifest as pain and sickness or dis-ease. In particular, when we don’t express our truth, we can get illnesses of the throat chakra, like colds, sinuses, sore throats, phlegm congestion, etc. (this is what my client was experiencing).
2) Suppressing your true thoughts and feelings leads to the disintegration of relationships. I always told my daugthers that if they wanted to preserve their relationships, they needed to speak their truth, no matter how painful. The longer we don’t speak up, the more misunderstandings can snowball.
In other words, this avoiding-confrontation coping mechanism destroys relationships. Happy relationships = Happy Life. Studies have been done to show that people who feel supported and loved in their relationships far outlive those who don’t, and they have better quality lives along the way.
This is worth figuring out, don’t ya think?
What I have found is that having these tough conversations may be more drama-inducing in the short-term because it creates awkwardness. However, when people aren’t upfront about what they truly think and feel, the pain and suffering is multiplied in the long-term.
The relationship may never recover. So we need to evaluate how important the relationship is to us. If we’ve been hurt by this person, it’s easy to justify NOT wanting to talk to them. And that is OK. It’s important to get honest with ourselves.
Empowering Language for Boundaries for Divorce
When setting boundaries for divorce, it’s vital to be able to speak your truth to your ex. Some of the most powerful language you can say to reclaim your power from a situation or if you’re being asked a difficult question is:
“I don’t want to do that.”
“I want this…..”
If you feel called to give an explanation, try: “I don’t want to do that because it doesn’t feel right to me.”
“I want to do that because it feels right to me.”
The key is to be respectful here. These are such powerful words because people can’t argue with your desires. They just are. Further, you can’t be manipulated. Is someone going to say, “Well you SHOULD do something that doesn’t feel right to you!”?
Most people won’t say that unless it’s someone who is particularly “bully-ish” and they really could care less about your feelings, which may be the case with your ex.
This person will also be inclined to say, “Well, you are selfish for wanting that!” and hence try to manipulate you that way. And here is a way to deal with the selfishness accusation.
“Perhaps I am, but I’d rather follow my instincts for what is right for me, than to betray myself and do what you want me to do. Afterall, I have to live within the confines of my own heart and mind for the rest of my life. I best make it a good place to live.”
Being clear and honest in your communication with others will help you get your needs and wants met. This habit will help you to continue to move forward in your life and be a great role model to all you love and influence.
“Life is too short to be anything but yourself,” as my late daugther, Maddie, used to say.
I am here to support you.
If you want to heal your heart after the trauma of divorce, register now for the next Heal Your Heart Online Retreat.