I Hate Confrontation So I Bottle Up My Emotions & Ruin All My Relationships

You know what I’m really great at? Sabotaging perfectly good relationships. I’m a pretty great girlfriend, but when it comes to expressing any emotion or discussing issues in my relationship, I tuck and roll like I’m engulfed in flames. I need to see a therapist, you guys. I hate confrontation and it’s ruining my whole life.

  1. Isn’t the stereotype that guys are supposed to be the emotionally repressed ones? Whoever dates these guys after I do must love what I’ve done to them. Since I’m not keen on talking about my feelings, my boyfriends are forced to share their own… at which point I run in the other direction. Basically, I’m sacrificing my own happiness in order to cultivate the perfect man for you. You’re welcome.
  2. Avoiding conflict wreaks havoc on a relationship. Not that this is any sort of groundbreaking news, but avoiding conflict causes the feelings to build and fester, which only makes things worse. You could even say that avoiding conflict creates even MORE conflict. Oftentimes, I feel my frustrations and anger welling up inside me without any release. I can sense the resentment steaming through my ears like an angry cartoon character. This bottled up emotion causes me to be a passive-aggressive jerk and I can’t even imagine dating myself.
  3. My relationships all end the same way: in flames. My relationships end in one of two ways: either I dump them because the feelings I’m harboring cause me to lose sight of any good feelings I had for my sig o, or they ditch me because I won’t share what’s on my mind. Either way, it’s a toxic trend and all fingers point to me.
  4. I used to consider my passive behavior to be a good thing until I became an adult. My besties love that our friendships are drama-free. I don’t point fingers in a fight and will let the bad stuff go as quickly as it came to me. I’m a pacifist. Then I realized that while burying my feelings, I’m not being true to myself. I’m inauthentic. I’m FAKE. I do not want to be associated with any of these character flaws.
  5. When caught in the war-zone of an argument, I freeze. Despite what it says on my résumé, I don’t do well under pressure. When an argument begins, my IQ drops to 40, maybe less. I can’t construct valid arguments and my eyes tear up as the pressure builds. I’m not the person you want to go into battle with—you’ll lose, thanks to me. I’ve worked to be an independent, strong woman, so this is a serious conflict for my life goals. Aside from my relationships, what else am I sacrificing by staying quiet?
  6. I know that I need to stand up for myself. I’ll be the first to say it: I’m a total wuss. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m a doormat, but I won’t go out of my way to voice frustrations if I see it leading to an argument. Arguments are exhausting, and who needs that sort of mess in their life? Life is hard enough as it is, but the fact is that if I continue to accept the roadblocks simply because it’s easier, then I won’t be successful in anything I do.
  7. I assumed that all confrontation is bad, but it’s clearly time to adjust my thinking. I had this friend in high school who would confront me about every little issue she had with me. Honestly, it was terrifying and I’m not entirely sure why I called her a friend. From that point forward, I associated confrontation with aggression—wouldn’t you? What I’m slowly learning as I navigate from one relationship to the next is that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Two adults can confront each other in a mature way and come out on the other side for the better. Who knew?
  8. I’ll never get what I need out of a relationship until I learn to demand it. My boyfriends could literally get away with murder around me. They could cheat right before my very eyes and I’d still consider the confrontation to be more effort than it’s worth. In the end, I’m only cheating myself out of a healthy, happy relationship. It’s time to speak up.
  9. Practice makes perfect. In order to have a brighter future than the one involving me as a hoarder in a one-bedroom with eight cats, I braved my fears of confrontation and gave it a shot. You know what? It wasn’t terrible. Shout out to my boyfriend who was absolutely terrified when I yelled at him out of the blue. My confrontation skills are in the beginning stages and could use some finessing—sorry, babe!
Caitlyn is a freelance writer living in Washington D.C.