09 April 2008

Words: Conflict

I might very well be the Queen of Conflict Avoiding. Avoiding conflict comes more naturally to me than just uncompromisingly stand for ME. I just glide slip my way through conflict if not able to completely be avoided. And sometimes I do the confrontation, but always a remainder of questioning, thinking, feeling, doubt afterwards. So no, I am not at ease with being in conflict with other people.
Why is that? What do I experience?
I do not like the feeling of change, my 'world' changing when in conflict. Then I am not sure what to expect, my safety zone is more or less vanished. When in conflict with people close to me, the risk of loosing my safety net, my 'peace and quiet', my survival kit, is more prominent.

I have two sisters, one older sister and a younger one, so I am in the middle and I used to be good at it - always mediating, being the one with common sense, pacifying and unstirred in that role play. Recently I am in the process of deleting this definition of me as the mediator - my sisters are reacting: when one changes her role, the others will have to face their part too - interesting, I am curious how this will unwind. But also discomfort comes with it, not sure who I am in all this. Who am I when not the mediator? Will I still be needed? Who will keep the balance in this sister thing when not me? Should there be a balance? I fear the effect of me not doing the balancing act - will we still be each other safety net? This must end, I know, because it keeps me from moving, this sister definition, this judo hold.

When I was little, our parent used to fight allot - very often in the middle of the night, yelling and screaming terrible things (well, my mother did)and some physical violence also.
My elder sister and me, we sat on the top of the stairs, terrified, shivering in our pyjamas, just waiting for it to be over with and silently praying no one would get hurt. They didn't notice us, or maybe they did but didn't care.
My parents had also this big fights when in the car, driving to grandma's on Sundays. Me and my sister in the back, holding each other by the hand, terrified. But maybe even worse than the fights was the fear of expecting them to happen any moment - never sure, always be on guard. I see a picture of me waiting by the car, having this feeling in my belly. Still not sure how to describe it, but 100% fear comes close. No option but to get in that car, very frightened of what may happen.

So for me conflict is in close relationship with fear, with not being safe, the shaking of my world - conflict can change my world in a wink of an eye, forever. Someone might get severely hurt or killed.

However, I did direct me the last couple of years towards standing up for me, less compromising, but still not at ease with it. A couple of weeks ago many conflicts came to my doorstep: one with a guy that threatened to beat up my son - no way I am taking this bullshit anymore. So I rang his doorbell and asked him if he did threaten my kid, willingly to solve this. He acted very aggressive towards me, yelling and swearing and repeating his threat. For a moment I thought he was going to hit me. It just wasn't possible to speak with him in a sensible way, so I ended up with telling him I would call the police so they would make it very clear to him that beating up Dj was out of the question, no way! So I did. The police sorted it out with him. A week later I ran into him and he apologized. Ok, we shaked hands and that's it. (He spoke with Dj prior to that, so that was sorted out too. If he hadn't, I would have insisted on him doing so - because Dj was the one threatened and he feared this man.)

I felt good about the way I handled it - taking no bullshit from no one. No compromising.
There was also a major conflict between my sisters and as usual, me in the middle of it. And that one I didn't handle at all. Meaning I was in limbo - not wanting to be the mediator, but then what??? No idea yet. All I know is that I do not want to be in the middle of someone else's conflict anymore. Maybe I should have stated that very clearly - I did, but not resolute enough, not totally, as I said: feeling lost if not defined by the middle sister thing...
I will sort this out.

So in reasoning, in understanding the points of view of the other persons, in compromising, I did manage to stay out of many conflicts. But it has cost me allot - I do not trust me to speak up for me... Too high a price to pay.

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