Confrontation, oh how I fear thee

I don’t do confrontation. I’m not sure how many people know this about me, but, well, now it’s out there.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about confrontation that scares me – whether it be the ‘I wish I’d thought to say this/that’, or whether it be my lack of confidence in having a conversation ‘live’ that can’t be edited like the written word, whether it be the about my lack of confidence in myself I have & not feeling up to putting my feelings out into the world, or the knowledge that I am leaving myself open & vulnerable by exposing personal feelings & thoughts that once out may be used against me or as bait in future conversations.

Confrontation also brings up so many insecurities for me – of not being smart enough. I was always an ‘average’ student at school & I would always hide & not disclose test scores for fear of ridicule or judgement, even when the scores were ok or even really good. I just didn’t have the assurance that I was able to meet anyone academically & I think I envision confrontation as a type of school debate & don’t feel smart enough to ‘compete’ or will win it for the team. I’m scared of what will happen, what will be said back, that I won’t be equipped with the arguments, the vocabulary or to leave emotion out of it (cos sometimes it’s not about that), to personalise everything & then to play the self-blame game.

I have grown up with depression always being my constant visitor & companion, so my negativity & pessimism spent a long time shaping my outlook on life & my self confidence. I know I’m not the same person as I was as a child or teenager & am learning to see things differently & change the way I think about things, however, for some reason I just can’t shake the fact that confrontation scares me & this fear stops me from acting on it.

I think having a delicate personality or a history of self-doubt also brings ‘character assassination’ into the mix of things I fear when thinking about confrontation. I just can’t shake the feeling that I am going to be ‘dumped on’ even though I might have everything working in my favour for an apology or whatever I’m wanting as the outcome of the meeting. And then there’s the personality of the other party to consider. Strong, intimidating, controlling & those people that are not scared to say anything also stop me in my tracks.

Fear the unknown outcome also scares me. Being one of those ‘type A’personalities & wanting to be able to control as much as possible in my life (which I know is unrealistic, but that’s a whole other blog post) does not bode well when it comes to having conversations ‘on the fly’ that involve feelings & emotions & possible outcomes that I don’t want or didn’t plan for. How will I cope & how will I feel should the outcome be unfavourable? Will this start me on a carousel of ongoing confrontations?

I’m not quite at the point in my life that I know who I am, that I love, respect & accept myself & feel worthy…. And then something like fear or inability to confront shakes me up just that little bit more when things in my personal life requires me to either step up & stand up for myself. This fear makes me question whether I’m ever going to be ‘content’ knowing I’m letting fear & vulnerability take over from rectifying things, improving relationships or standing up for what I believe is right or just having the opportunity to being heard & validated. There are some aspects of myself that I am comfortable with & like & things that attract people to me, but not being able to stand up for myself or being confrontational makes me question if I’m truly content & ok & can lead a fulfilling life.

And I know not all confrontations are hard or need to be a clash of the minds. It doesn’t always have to be a shouting match or a well prepared speech using examples of things from the past to give your point validity. Sometimes it’s a gentle conversation that is included as part of a catch up over coffee & doesn’t get another minutes thought. I think I’m ok with those. Yeah, I am.

When thinking about this fear of mine, it got me thinking of the ‘other party’. Are people nasty or rude to me knowing that I avoid confrontations & they’ll get away with it? Maybe. Do they use this against me? Maybe. Do they push me to the point where I’m backed into a corner out of fear as a means to an end knowing I won’t push back? Maybe. Do I think that those people who know I avoid confrontation exploit me knowing they’ll get away with it? Maybe.  Do I see this as a character flaw of mine & do people that know me see it as a flaw? Maybe. Have I lost friendships & family members over the fact that I don’t confront them. Most definitely yes.

I know I have made conscious decisions lately not to confront certain things that have occurred in my life. It hasn’t been easy & it’s been hurtful, often relentless, nasty & (mostly) unwarranted. This is one of those times that no matter what I say, I will not be heard or given the space to put my case forward. I don’t want to be involved in a situation of having a conversation like this, that only serves to provide the other person with the stage to perform & no purpose other than to give that person an opportunity to lay out their reasons for their actions or inactions.

I know there are times I’ll have to step up & my kids are going to be the impetus for this. There are going to be many occasions that I’ll have to stand up for them as they grow up & I want to be able to do this for them. And I want them to learn this skill from me or DH as I don’t want them going through life letting people take advantage of them for not being able to stand up for themselves.

I would love some helpful (gentle) tips on how I can overcome my fear, so please feel free to share the love cos I sure could do with some of it at the moment.

 

Job application for living my life well

There are many ways to look at oneself in order to gain an insight into how you truly think & feel about certain things & situations & to also learn about how your behaviour is shaped by these experiences (or memories). I enjoy the challenge of trying different things because you never know which approach you’ll resonate best with, which method will have the most impact for you or the technique by which you will learn the most about yourself.

I thought it would interesting to do a job application type of self-analysis & pretend I’m applying to living my life well. Nothing will happen if I’m not hired, I’m just using the categories that one tends to use when applying for work. I’m hoping to get a good look at myself & my life & to get an insight on how I think others might see me. I’m hoping through this process I’ll be able to better determine & prioritise what is truly important for me to live a healthy & authentic life: not hide behind fear & be the person I want to be & what I want my children to remember me for.

So without further ado: here’s my job application for living my life well.

Name: Yuz or mummy

Age: Old enough to know better, make better decisions & choices, but will never old enough to think I know everything about everything. I’ll never be that age. That age is full of negativity, loneliness & closed minds.

Education & experience:  I completed high school & went on to gain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing. I went on to work within the advertising industry for the next ten years working in account management. Deadlines, massaging client & creative team egos was part of the job as well as meeting unrealistic timelines, deadlines & budgets. I worked hard, worked really long hours & wanted to do the best I could every day. I was an extremely loyal employee & conscientious too & this was an interesting combination in the advertising industry full of huge egos, employers who would often take advantage & the clients often reminding us all that we were in fact in a service industry. Some days I wasn’t far off table service in a restaurant without the tips.

My strengths:

* Loyal & conscientious – I still see them as a strength.

* I’m extremely passionate about all sorts of causes & will volunteer my time, experience & skills to helping out when I’m physically & emotionally possible.

* I will stand up for my kids health, welfare & their right to grow up in their own time & at their own pace. No one’s (that I know) has won a Nobel Prize for learning to point at six months or been the first to walk in their playgroup.

* I have the global phenomenon – & often ignored or downplayed characteristic – called ‘mothers instinct’. I might not be the best mother in the world, but I’m striving to be the best I can be, & while I don’t have a medical degree, I know my child: I know when they’re in pain, when something’s wrong & when to speak up when I don’t think I’ve been heard when it comes to their health & wellbeing. If you want to see my mama bear come out, just insult or talk down to my child or disregard, downplay or ignore my pleas for assistance when it comes to their wellbeing.

* Generous – with my time & with our money, but mostly time. I volunteer for many organisations & support groups that I am passionate about & rally up the troops for our annual Relay for Life event.

* Give people the benefit of the doubt – always. No matter how hard this is. The disclaimer here is that everyone gets three chances & depending on how much this person means to me, I either approach them about it or I let the friendship move down a rung on my importance-in-my-life ladder.

My weaknesses:

* Not stepping up to my intrusive thoughts about my worth, my doubts & my fears.

* Not being able to shut my mind down during discussions or an argument already thinking of the next thing I want to say & not hearing or listening to what’s been said.

* Channelling my inner Archaeologist: I dig up shit from the past & am passionate about holding on to it even though it holds no value or will help my contentment & happiness in the long term. And what’s so confronting about this is that I now have an audience to this behaviour & I don’t want my kids learning this trait through my actions & inactions. I want them to learn to deal with stuff & move on, let it go & not to assign any more meaning nor perceived worth to things that don’t deserve it.

* Lying to myself about when I’m not ok & putting on a brave face or mask.

Ok, now to stare down these weaknesses, confront them & make a concerted effort to do something about them. I know there’s no such things as a perfect person, but I know there’s always room for improvement. I can be & can do better.

Now to work out the ‘how’ in doing that…….

 

I wanna….

A few weeks ago there was a thread on the Mama’s Comfort Camp closed FB group that allowed us to explore our ‘ wannas’. The comments appeared quickly, were shameless, funny, honest, full of hope & love & the underlying realisation that approximately 90% of our ‘ wannas’ were just not going to happen or be feasible. However, it was a lot of fun where we learnt so much about each other & for a short period of time dreamt unashamedly & freely.

Allow me to share with you what I wrote as well as more ‘wannas’ that I’ve thought of since then. I’m also hoping that the chances of some of these being feasible works out more favourably, especially the ones where I share my hopes & dreams for myself & my family.

So here goes:

I wanna be able to call Maya Angelou whenever I need or want to.

I wanna nanny (to do the annoying things like clean up vomit & poo & deal with tantrums & I’ll still do everything else)

I wanna holiday home in every holiday destination around the world of my choosing.

I wanna endless supply of cash.

I wanna maid.

I wanna question what makes people famous.

I wanna have warm weather all year round – for it to always be Spring & Summer & to never ever have another Winter.

I wanna infrared capabilities to zap annoying people in the supermarket (grocery store) that are about to come up to me & say something stupid.

I wanna second toilet in our home.

I wanna have more time in the day for just me.

I wanna spend days & days talking to Dr Gordon Livingston.

I wanna chef & personal service from our favourite take away places.

I wanna wand so I can make people’s wishes come true.

I wanna employ the worlds smartest scientists & doctors who will work on getting rid of cancer. Cancer Sucks.

I wanna toy store at the back of our house so my kids can grab another whatever to play with when they’re bored.

I wanna have happy & healthy kids.

I wanna be able to go to the toilet by myself & be able to close the door.

I want my kids to learn they must be responsible for their actions & inactions.

I wanna only travel first class. Without kids. They can meet us where ever we go. Screw that. I wanna have our own jet with a play area, bedroom & lots of staff to do everything.

I wanna ensure my kids feel good about themselves – who they are what they look like & what body shape they have. I hope society, the media & advertising changes to help me with this quest.

I wanna rid the world of sick babies & children. It’s just the cruelest thing.

I want to invent a neurobionic sensor to place in my brain to zap away judgements before they occur. I wanna also be able to insert these into other people. I shall experiment on those people first. You know the ones I’m talking about.

I wanna hire more scientists & doctors to get rid of those ‘extra’ calories in the best tasting foods.

I wanna have go go gadget arms in the supermarket when I need to reach the top shelf.

I wanna be able to look back on my life & truly have no regrets.

I wanna ensure my kids are instilled with the knowledge on how to be good people & how to participate & contribute to society as they grow older.

I wanna end the shame & stigma of all mental illness, mostly all Postnatal (Postpatrum) Mood Disorders (PMDs)

I wanna have Elle Macpherson’s body. I don’t need to be that tall though. I’d be happy just with the overall shape.

I wanna be able to be teleported so I can meet all my PPDChat Mamas & my Comfort Camp Mamas. Maybe the boffins at Skype can work on this one.

I wanna have an infrared zapper in my kids so they get zapped Bart style when they start to whinge or whine.

I wanna ensure no child anywhere in the world lives in poverty or goes without food, water or shelter.

I wanna get rid of the substantial time differences between Australia & the UK/US. A few hours here & there could really help Seon & his game developing & also me catching up with my Mamas.

I wanna remote control for just about everything I can’t be bothered doing. I’m talking to you dish washing, bottle washing, clothes washing & hanging up & folding & putting away & also to you, putting away groceries & tidying up toys.

I wanna make Prejudice a flavour of ice-cream or icy pole & not a nasty human trait.

I wanna invent an anti-bacterial spray that automatically sprays out of the fire sprinkler systems in daycare centres, pre-schools & schools so that my kids don’t bring home lice, coughs, sniffles, diarrhea or vomiting. I know you’re going to tell me it’s good for them to get sick as it builds up their immune system & I shall retort with ‘that’s fine, if my nanny was dealing with it’. Also, I hate seeing my kids sick. It breaks my heart.

I wanna have Diet Coke on tap. Post mix is not acceptable.

I wanna ensure all children can access basic education so that they are given the opportunity to be the best they can be.

I wanna night nanny that looks & smells exactly like me, but isn’t me.

I wanna be remembered for being kind, generous, spirited & loving.

I wanna punch the next person that tells me having my kids at 36wks ‘isn’t really prem’.

I wanna be a cowboy & you can be my cowgirl. Just kidding. It’s just a really bad song.

I wanna let you all know that are suffering with any sort of PMD, it’s not forever & you will get through it.

I wanna be ok with cleaning up vomit, cos I’m not, & I have to be.

I wanna be ok knowing that anyone in the world that knows me or not, is going to read my blog.

I wanna rid my body of ever feeling tired. How good would life be if we didn’t get tired?

I wanna be happy, healthy, content & a good enough mum.

 

I know I’m not done with these & I’ll probably add more as the days go by. In the meantime, want to share some of your ‘wannas’?

Special thanks to @story3girl & for @jamesandjax for having the conversation on Twitter & opening the discussion up, giving us all the permission to dream.