Posts Tagged Avoidance
I’ve set my next Epic Win in SuperBetter to work on Conflict Avoidance & Assertiveness. I’ve been avoiding conflict my entire life. The hypervigilance/anticipation is all tied into that. I will anticipate what someone will say or do to avoid conflict. I also struggle with being assertive. I often put everyone else’s needs and wants before mine. I feel obligated to do things when I am not. So I’ve set up some quests over the next few weeks to work on these things.
Quest: Keep a Journal
I have a hard time recognizing when something bothers me. Keeping a journal over the next two weeks may help me identify easier what is bothering me an how I can address it.
Quest: Say No or State Your Need Without Giving Reason Why
I often have this problem especially with people at work who always want to know my business, like why I have a doctor’s appointment, and I feel like I am obligated to give them an answer, but I am not.
Quest: Express My Feelings to Someone
Once a week for the next 5 weeks, express how I am feeling to someone either at home or at work. If I need something for things to work better, then ask for it.
Quest: Be assertive – Use “I messages”
Often I don’t make decisions or say what I want because I feel like I don’t have the right to have needs or wants. But, over the next few weeks I would like to push myself to be assertive more often and express what I want using “I messages” more frequently. For example, “I am feeling frustrated about X. I would really like it if we did X about it.”
Do you struggle with these things? If so, what types of things do you do to deal with them?
I called a local Support network for domestic violence survivors this week. No one answered, so I left them a message. I hope to reach out to others in my community and to share the work I’ve been doing to get better from trauma. For over a year and a half now I’ve grappled with the thought that networks like that are for people really in need, that since I am no longer experiencing abuse, those networks are not for me. But, I realize now that’s exactly what they are there for. I also have a fear that they will tell me they can do nothing for me and to just shut up and get over it. I think I feel that way because after I was raped and went to seek help, they told me they can’t help me and to just shut up and get over it.
I also made a dentist appointment! I have been avoiding going to the dentist for over 10 years. Going to the dentist is a high anxiety experience. I feel trapped and like my space and privacy is being invaded. I also am distrustful of dentists. I have had some bad experiences in the past with them. I read many trauma victims experience this same anxiety of dentists. I consider going to the dentist being a very big step for me in the way of breaking the symptom of avoidance.
Yesterday I was talking with a couple of good friends about how I’ve been pushing myself to just do things instead of worrying about them. They asked me, “How are you able to do that?” I reflected back to a strategy I learned in therapy. I know I already talked about this in an earlier post, but it’s one of those fundamental characteristics I can rely on to help me break my habits of anticipating and avoiding.
I realized I’m really good at this kind of thing at work. I’m not afraid to push back, to ask questions, or come up with a new strategy to deal with things. So, I wondered, why am I good at that at work, but not at home? When I’m at work, I’m very conscious of how much time, money, and energy is being used or wasted. So now I apply that same principle to my home life. I waste more time and energy worrying about something than it takes to just ask about something.
Whenever I notice I’m getting anxiety over something now, I push myself to take action on it rather than anticipate and worry about what could happen if I were to do or say something. For example, on Sunday I was running late and had to find a parking spot. I get a lot of anxiety over parking in small spaces on a hill. The first available spot I found was a tight spot on a hill. Instead of freaking out over it, I decided why don’t I just try it and see what happens? So I did it. This is just one small example of overcoming anticipation and avoidance. And like I wrote about with pushing your social anxiety by continuing to engage in social contact (e.g. going to events, asking someone to get coffee or go to lunch, talking to people in the hall, making plans with friends), once you start doing it, it becomes kind of addicting and second nature. But, if you have one bad outcome, like if I were to hit a car parking in a narrow spot on a hill, don’t let that discourage you from trying something again or asking for something again in the future.
Now I also want to talk about avoidance and the tools I’ve been using for it. I wrote about some of the things I’ve been avoiding in an earlier entry like going to the dentist and eating eggs. I also have been avoiding what used to be some of my most favorite hobbies. Last week I set some small goals or Quests that I’m really looking forward to doing that in the long run will get me closer to doing those things I’ve been avoiding. These things don’t have to be big goals. I also have a problem doing things for myself. I get all worried about how I shouldn’t spend money on myself. So I applied the same principles I apply with work there. I thought about how I should “invest” my time, money and energy into my passions so that I will be happier and defeat anxiety, avoidance and guilt.
If you’re reading this and are trying to tackle anxiety, avoidance and guilt, what kind of tools do you use to overcome them? What have you found works? What doesn’t work?