Ever Avoided a Difficult Conversation?

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Have you ever avoided a difficult conversation, put something off, hoped in vain things would improve and they haven’t?  Perhaps then you may have found yourself stuck thinking how do I bring it up now, its been so long!

I was spending some time recently with a lovely person who was speaking about a relationship they were in. They were explaining that they felt taken for granted, that the partner no longer helped out as they had in the past and in fact had laid even more expectation onto them.

I listened patiently for a long while hearing many examples of how this person had been slowly and surely taken for granted and swallowed up by the pressure they now felt to complete all of these “responsibilities.

The weight that they fell upon their shoulders was tangible. Eventually I asked gently, “Have you spoken to them, do they know how you feel?” The response was immediate, “Oh No I couldn’t possibly I am not a fighter.”

 I probed again, “Why do you say fight? I asked if you had told them how you feel.”

They were now perplexed, they were not able to see this conversation going any other way than a huge fight. Now why is this?

One reason is resentment. This conversation should have ideally occurred many many months earlier when things started to change for the worse. But it did not. The person perhaps felt that things would improve, or that they just did not want to rock the boat, after all it was only a small change. In short they avoided it.

As time progressed and things in the relationship declined as they tend to do, the pressure began to increase and along with it the growing resentment. As resentment grows so do very powerful and negative emotions. We begin to tell ourselves all sorts of stories such as “They don’t care about me”, “I mean nothing to them”, etc etc

These stories then start to become your truth and if you are not careful they strongly affect how you relate to the other person. When in truth the other party may have no idea how you really feel and how much the change has negatively affected you.

As resentment and avoidance grows you begin to catastrophise and imagine this huge fight because it would have to be a huge fight because you feel so angry. In fact you are like a volcano ready to erupt.

In truth, what has happened is that your partner has relaxed a little too much. We are all guilty of this at times and need a little correction from our loved ones. Resentment, worry and anxiety are not the only negatives that come from avoidance. All this from a conversation you put off to the point that it has now become a difficult conversation, only because emotionally you have so much to say.

My encouragement, speak sooner, with love and respect. Ask more than assume such as “ You used to help me with dinner but you’ve stopped why is that? Are you Ok?” This is much more effective than turning into a ranting lunatic 12 months down the track who is screaming toxically at their partner spewing up every thing wrong they have ever done.

If you struggle with speaking up, with raising issues, with putting in boundaries for yourself you are not alone!   You can learn some really simple and powerful strategies here at our upcoming Master Class in November 2014  (“The Art of Difficult Conversations).  This Masterclass will empower you to be able to deal more effectively with such situations both at work and personally.

Here is the link https://teamology.com.au/courses/madc/ if you are keen to make this positive change in your life. Don’t put it off any longer; you deserve the freedom that speaking up for yourself brings.


Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

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