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  • Writer's pictureThe Brawn

What To Do When You Can’t Handle Conflict

Do you find yourself always “agreeing,” but only because you want to “keep the peace?” Do you keep your opinions to yourself most of the time? When you sense conflict on the horizon, does your “fight or flight” response get triggered as if you were in actual danger?

Life isn’t easy when you can’t handle conflict. Therapy can make a big difference. Read on to discover how…

Can’t Handle Conflict? Therapy May Be Your Next Step

When you can’t handle conflict, therapy can help in a lot of ways. Instead of providing a quick fix, therapy can help you dig deeper to create and follow a sustainable plan for handling conflict in the future.

Getting To The Roots

Why do some people have no problem with arguments and debates, while others can’t handle conflict?

Sometimes, when people think they can’t handle conflict, it’s because they don’t experience conflict in a healthy way. If you’re living in a toxic or emotionally abusive environment, then any sort of conflict may have you feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. In that case, the first step is recognizing it.

You may then want to work with a therapist to help reveal (and help you overcome) your conflict challenges, which may be triggered by the following causes:

  • General Anxiety: If you have an anxiety disorder, conflict can send your overtaxed nervous system into a tailspin. When your nerves are already in a state of high alert, even small conflict may send you over the emotional edge.

  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria: If you have ADHD, you may struggle with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). RSD makes people extremely and painfully sensitive to any perceived rejection, causing sufferers to shy away from conflict to avoid potential rejection.

  • Trauma: Did you grow up in an environment with a lot of conflict? Did the slightest hint of a conflict mean impending trouble? If that’s the case, you may be dealing with trauma.

Whatever the cause happens to be, if you can’t handle conflict, therapy can help you figure out why. Once you and your therapist have identified the root of your struggles, together you can address and overcome your conflict challenges.

Types Of Therapy

For those who can’t handle conflict, therapy definitely is not “one size fits all.” Depending on the cause of the problem, your personality, and your preferences, your ideal therapy session might take any number of forms. A good therapist will consult with you and guide you towards an ideal approach, which may include the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on three core areas: thoughts, emotions, and behavior. CBT works from a foundation that each of these areas impacts the other two, i.e. if you improve one area, you can positively impact the others.

For those who can’t handle conflict, CBT focuses on recognizing your harmful thought patterns about conflict. For example, you may subconsciously believe, “If I disagree with my friends, then I will lose them.”

Once you uncover such thoughts, CBT can help you counteract them with more realistic ones, for example, “Every friendship has disagreements, and I’m confident my relationships can handle conflicts – and even grow as a result.”

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has many features, but on a broad level, ACT teaches people how to fully accept their feelings, whether those feelings are positive or negative. With ACT, the key is to accept the existence of such feelings, but without clinging to them in a way that won’t serve you.

For example, if you panic at the slightest hint of conflict, an ACT-trained therapist may help you “accept” those feelings, but without trying to force them away. You will then learn how to live your life in a meaningful way - no matter what feelings arrive.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy is often used to help people with phobias, but can also be effective when handling conflict by addressing the cause of your fear in small and non-intimidating ways.

For instance, do you like pineapple on pizza? Find someone who feels the opposite, or who can at least pretend to, and then practice having short disagreements with that person. You can practice these disagreements with your therapist or with trusted friends. Group therapy may also give you a great place to practice.

Eventually, you’ll build your skills and tolerance until you are more equipped to handle higher stakes conflicts.

When You Can’t Handle Conflict, Therapy From Connected Roots Can Help

For those who can’t handle conflict, therapy can be life-changing. Here at Connected Roots, we offer a blend of therapies and techniques to help those who struggle with conflict. We tailor our techniques to you, so you can rest assured you’ll get the personalized therapy you need. Contact us at Connected Roots today. We’d love to help you find healthier and more effective approaches to the conflicts in your life.

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