AvoiDANCE

Allow me to introduce to you to my close friend, protector & social deflector…. Avoidance.

Avoidance has been my fire blanket for as long as I can remember, so much so that I don’t want to fold it up, pack it away, or even consider it not being my ‘go-to’ comforter.

I think I learnt this skill early on in life as growing up we had many people coming in & out of our home due to the job my parents had. We often had people sitting at a dinner table not knowing each other & sometimes not knowing us either. We were ‘briefed’ beforehand & given a rundown on how this person landed up in our home & at our table & were also provided topics to avoid due to it’s sensitivity or inappropriateness towards our visitor. Hence, the dinner dance I grew up with was created – the very essence of avoidance & masking uncomfortableness. There were times I recall my brother & I almost performing for these people to break the silence, encourage conversation & topics of interest or just talking amongst each other in the hope that the deafening silence & awkward social situation would be drowned out by our banter. We actually used to call each other ‘social lubricators’ & it became instinctual when our services were required.

Over the years, I perfected avoidance so much so that performing became a breeze & it also manifested itself into a mask. I hoped as my confidence grew & as my strived to achieve my hopes & dreams socially & professionally, that I would be better confronting people & situations. However, it wasn’t to be. And sadly, as my depression increased in it’s frequency this was just something that I just didn’t have the energy or room to work on. My avoidance isn’t prejudiced either as it involves both situations & individuals so all my bases are covered in terms of any potential conflicts.

I don’t know what my issue with avoidance is & how I’ve become so resistant to confrontation. What am I afraid of? What’s the worst that can happen? Isn’t confrontation just standing up for myself? I’m not a weak person, nor a pushover, so surely this should come easily! Am I just wilfully ignorant?

I want to get to the bottom of this. I really do as I feel it holding me back to the person I want to be for myself & for my family. So, what is my issue exactly? Is it feeling overwhelmed at the time of confrontations & not saying what I want to say? Is it that I think of things to say after the fact & get angry with myself for not thinking of them at the time? Is that my excuse for not even starting the conversation that needs to be had? Am I scared what the other person will think of me? If they’re my good friends I shouldn’t care & the friendship is supposed to strengthen. And If we’re not good friends, then I shouldn’t even bother, so it’s not avoidance rather disinterest. Am I scared about the unknown outcome therefore not even wanting to find out? Is it a control thing – that I can’t control the outcome, my feelings etc?

And then I start thinking: what lesson I am teaching my kids by all this avoidance? Is this the kind of role model I want to be to my children? If I want people or my kids to have respect for me then surely I need to be able to genuinely respect myself & be content with my life’s decisions. Is my avoidance a form of self-respect sabotage?  Is my fear born out of self-preservation? How do I go about & what do I need to do to give myself permission to be vulnerable enough to stop this tango of avoidance? If I want to be the best version of myself, then surely something needs to change in my thinking.

Like my realisation that the word ‘forgiveness’ had the word ‘give’ in it, the word avoidance has the word ‘dance’ in it. This is perfect for me as I actually see myself dancing around topics & hop stepping about in order to deflect from the real issue. In actual fact, I would rather dance instead of facing a confronting, uncomfortable or excruciating event.

At the beginning of this post, I called avoidance my ‘fire’ blanket as opposed to a safety blanket. Is there really going to be a wall of fire thrown at me for standing up for myself? Do I really have to snuff it out before it starts to sting? Is this how I view confrontation – that the consequence is me being told off, questioned or hurt? Are all confrontations going to be an attack on my character? Is that how I see confrontation – as personal attacks? At the end of the day confrontations & arguments are just words. They’re just noises that come out of peoples mouths & form things called words which we use to communicate to each other. It’s all it is. I can make these words bounce off me or go right over me depending on the level of value I hold in the relationship with the person in conversation with. Surely this is nothing to be fearful of!?

I’m sure there are some people that see & view my avoidance as a weakness & an area in which they can exploit & take advantage of. Surely this alone should give me the motivation & impetus to make a change & stop dancing around the real issues. And I need to be honest too & admit that I’m not proud of this personality trait, so this together with my feelings of exploitation just have to be the architects of change.

I really don’t know the answer here, but I hope that exploring my thoughts & feelings in this space will provide me with some insights & in time possible paths of exploration.

Does anyone else have issues with confrontation? Have you managed to overcome your fears? What have been your strategies? I’d love some tips.


Comments

  1. Hi – I have struggled with Approach/Avoidance issues as well. I have anxieties & fears that sometimes cause me to feel less than other people and then avoid having the discussion I need to have with them. But as I am maturing and feeling more confident, I am more able to have those discussions. I also found EMDR to be a great tool in uncovering the feelings and the core beliefs I had that caused me to put up my inner defenses.

    • Petq says:

      Jane, thank you for letting ppeole know the reality of the day-to-day with PND. I may have had it briefly after my 2nd child but it was certainly never diagnosed. And I had no idea of the severity of this condition. I feel for you. But the fact that you’re aware, are getting help, have an amazingly supportive husband and look to the future all speak volumes of the success you will no doubt have in kicking it. Your honesty and authenticity is truly wonderful. Bless x

  2. Alexandra says:

    Google images of “Avoidance.”

    My picture comes up.

    xo

    • Nakrani says:

      thanks for linking up today and shrinag this very important topic – thanks for your information, your open heart and honesty. It is something close to my heart and was such a struggle for me. It is a difficult time already with children and when you are dealing with those feelings that come from post natal depression it is so much harder. I hope you have been able to help many others today. Thanks Jane xx

  3. Andrea says:

    I struggle with this as well. I worry about how it will affect my daughter. Sometimes even if I see something like a child grabbing something out of my daughter’s hand forcefully or something like that, it’s hard for me to speak up even at that & I will just tell my daughter “oh it’s ok let them have it”. Because I don’t want the other parent to get annoyed with me, or I don’t know what my issue is!! But like you said, what is that really teaching my daughter? That she should let others walk all over her?? I don’t have any tips but I do hope that by writing about this it will provide you with some insights. I have learned a lot about myself just through writing. A lot of “AH HA” moments 🙂
    I really love this quote too. xoxo

    • DJo says:

      Jane, thank you for sharing. It must be so huge to put this out pblaiclluy as you say. You have shown so well that PND can happen to anyone, it is so random. Your husband sounds amazing, and you are both very lucky to have each other and your wonderful children. A dear friend of mine has recently had PND, and like you by seeking help and support, she is feeling like she is coming out the other side and moving forward.

  4. Jenny says:

    Yuz, I hate confrontation as well. I still cannot believe that I had to manage people, and I would feel like throwing up when I would have those difficult conversations. I still struggle with talking about it, but I am trying in baby steps to express myself.

    • Volkan says:

      hi. Forgive me for that. Now that I’ve come across this post, I wanetd to write my hellos and say I hear you too. It is a long hard road. You WILL get there though. Big hugs to you for your courage to write about PND, thank you for sharing your story. I have my own black dog too and my blog is one of the ways I stay focussed on the positive, as I’m sure your blog is for you. And there are so many positives in our lives to focus on, aren’t there. Hugs, Alison xx

  5. I actually have the opposite problem. I have zero fear of confrontation and sometimes run toward it. We should hang out so our bad traits rub off on each other and even each other out. 😉
    xo

    • Amit says:

      MOTH’s mother suereffd from this insidious disease in the early 1950’s, but it went undiagnosed. It culminated with a pyschotic episode 4 weeks after the birth of her 3rd child. She spent 6 mths. in a pysch. hospital, received 26 doses of ECT & then spent a lifetime trying to rebuild her life. His entire family was affected & still is. Your post is brave & in many ways triumphant Jane. You will not let this issue define you, that’s very clear.Millie ^_^

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