Monday, March 23, 2009

Hating Conflict and Learning to Pick Your Battles

I hate conflict. There is no doubt about it. I hate the physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual problems that result from conflict. Perhaps I have it tougher because the physical sides of conflict mimic and sometimes create anxiety symptoms. Anxiety attacks are something I try to avoid as much as possible. Not only are they not fun to go through at the moment, they also tend to ruin my day because I don't process the chemicals out of my body the way that most people do. Once the adrenaline and other byproducts of anxiety pour into my system, they take quite a while to get out, which results in headaches, more anxiety (sometimes), and a general feeling of tenseness. It's not fun.

Sometimes that means that I don't pursue things that need to be dealt with. I might avoid a dealing with a situation so that I don't have to worry about the problems that might arise from it. Sometimes this keeps me from picking an unnecessary battle and sometimes it means that things that should be taken care of are not. For me, it takes quite a bit of "guts" for me to actually bring up something that bothers me. I am always a little proud of myself, regardless of the outcome of the conflict, when I do speak up because I prove to myself then that I don't always run away from conflict.

I also react differently to different conflicted situations. Sometimes I fold in on myself, ready to make compromises wherever I feel they need to be made to resolve the situation. Other times I stand my ground unwavering (and then afterward wonder if I was correct for doing so). Sometimes I allow the conflict to be talked out and compromises are made that benefit all in the situation.

There are times when each tactic is needed. Sometimes petty things need to be dealt with by simply deciding that there is no need to be upset over them at all because they are not that important. When it comes to faith in Christ and the Truth of the Scriptures, there is no compromises, only fact. When an issue is important enough to warrant a discussion needing resolution, it is important to talk everything through calmly and rationally to bring the conflict to a close.

My biggest issue is deciding which tactic is needed for which situation. As I said, I try to avoid conflict as much as possible, which means sometimes I take the path of least resistance instead of the path that is right for the situation. How much of it is my personality and how much of it is my disorder? It is hard to say. Regardless, I have been working on speaking up when it needs to happen, working with those I am in conflict with when there needs to be a resolution, and walking away, either literally or mentally, from the problems that are really not that big of an issue.

So, I wonder, does anyone else suffering from GAD, depression, or other mental or behavioral disorders have this issue?