Anxiety Makes Me Avoid Confrontation at All Costs
This piece was written by Holly Riordan, a Thought Catalog contributor
I hate confrontation. I avoid arguments at all costs. I will let people walk over me if the alternative means looking them in the eyes and standing up for myself. I never want to cause a disturbance. I never want to ruin the peace. I would rather complain inside of my head (and again once I’m with friends I trust) than say something in the moment. The last thing I want is to make a scene.
Besides, I am terrified of people not liking me. I will “yes” them to death if I think they will like me better. I will do whatever possible to keep them happy with me because the thought of annoying someone brings me stress. I don’t want anyone mad at me. I want them to want me around.
When someone raises their voice at me, I have to hold back tears. I do not like yelling. I do not like conflict. It makes me feel even more uncomfortable than I already do on a daily basis.
If I have to approach someone with a problem, I will plan what I am going to say inside of my head for hours beforehand while I’m in the shower or driving down the highway. Even if I have every word of my speech memorized, once I get in front of the other person, I will decide to say something different. Something a little nicer. Something a little less rough. I will keep my tone light. I will keep my words kind. I might be pissed off at them, but they would never be able to tell because of how calm I sound. I try to phrase everything respectfully even when my blood is boiling.
I have always sucked at confrontation. I will end up apologizing to someone I was originally pissed at in order to fill the silence. I will end up feeling guilty when I didn’t even do anything wrong.
It’s why people have taken advantage of me in the past. They know they can hurt me and I won’t say a word. I will go along with it. I will treat them with kindness even when they treat me like a piece of shit.
I am terrified of drawing attention to myself, which is why I will keep my lips pressed tightly together in the back of a room instead of standing up and speaking my mind. I will choose silence over conflict every single time, even if that means making my life more difficult than it needs to be.
I have cried myself to sleep over comments people have made about me, even though I acted like they didn’t bother me in the moment. I am good at pretending because I am always putting on an act of some sort. Acting like I am comfortable in social situations. Acting like I couldn’t care less when something goes wrong. Acting like I am OK when I am screaming inside.
My anxiety makes it hard for me to stand up for myself. It makes it hard for me to do much of anything.
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Unsplash photo via Tiko Giorgadze