I hate conflict and I’ll do almost anything to avoid it.
I hate the way conflict feels while it’s going on, but what upsets me even more is the way it makes me feel afterward. Something in my body associates conflict with the way I felt as a child when my father would get angry with me and scream with a kind of rage that scared me.
When he was yelling, I never knew if would suddenly decide to spank me with his belt or to punish me in some other way. I never knew if his anger would cause him to stop speaking to me for a couple of weeks, which happened sometimes over absurdly tiny things. And I was in constant fear that he would start pushing or shoving me, something which rarely happened, but which always made me fear he was going to finally hurt me.
So when conflict happens today, my body goes on alert. I become aggressive in my response to the conflict. If someone is going to verbally push me, I’m going to push back — as hard as I can.
And when it’s over, I feel like a child in trouble. I’m depressed. I feel as though I’ve been a “bad boy.”