I’m not a big avoider, but when it comes to TV and social media, witnessing people engaged in heated disagreements and escalating anger, name-calling, and open disrespect makes me very uncomfortable. Conflict and confrontation are emotional triggers. I accept my avoidance tactics because I understand where they come from. Avoidance and escape are some of my childhood survival mechanisms, and I’m OK with that.
Uncomfortable Triggers: Conflict and Confrontation in Media
I have a deep fascination with data. The world of databases, writing queries to collect data, and creating informational reports captivates me. With a degree in Information Management, it’s no surprise that I have a strong affinity for all forms of information. It’s crucial to have access to accurate, credible, and trustworthy information to ensure the safety and well-being of my family and myself.
Unfortunately, in today’s world of news shows and social media, what is often presented as “information” is merely an individual’s perspective or opinion. This can lead to nasty disagreements when others don’t share the same point of view.
I firmly believe that disagreements are healthy and natural. Holding different views or disagreeing with someone is not inherently wrong. In fact, sharing and discussing differing viewpoints is essential for personal growth and learning. However, it is crucial that these differences in opinion and perspective are expressed in a respectful, productive, and healthy manner. In my own relationship with my husband, we often have differing opinions, but we communicate calmly and respectfully, ultimately agreeing to disagree. We don’t aim to hurt each other or change each other’s mindset simply because we have different viewpoints. We respect each other’s entitlement to our own perspectives. We understand that we don’t have to agree on everything because we are individuals.
Differences in perspective can be a source of inspiration, prompting us to question, listen, and learn something new.
What is not healthy is blatant disrespect, refusal to listen, judgment, non-constructive criticism, unsolicited advice, closed-mindedness, shouting, and name-calling. When I encounter these behaviors on news programs or social media, I choose to disengage. I don’t want to be a part of that chaos.
You can understand why this wouldn’t benefit anyone seeking and desiring information. Do you want information that only aligns with what you already know or believe? Or would you prefer a comprehensive understanding? Do you want to consider other viewpoints and opinions outside of your own? This means you have to develop the courage to confront some of the challenges and emotional triggers I mentioned earlier.
Confronting Avoidance: Facing Uncomfortable Realities
Now, I won’t claim that I have suddenly become extremely comfortable witnessing threatening situations. That would be far from the truth.
What has changed is my willingness to step out of my comfort zone and stay engaged, at least for a while.
News and social media can instill fear in some of us more than others. If you have grown up in a scary, threatening, or traumatic home environment like I did, you understand what I’m talking about. I made a conscious effort to identify and address some of my emotional triggers a while ago. I recognized that exposing myself to inflammatory news and social media content was an opportunity for me to desensitize and alleviate those triggers.
Differences in points of view can inspire us to question, listen, and learn something new. The opportunity to see issues from another person’s perspective and learn something new became more important to me than staying within my comfort zone. So, I started sitting through the chaos and facing my triggers, reminding myself that I am in the safety of my own home and that I am an adult. Gradually, I began to hear and learn things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. My tolerance for witnessing heated disagreements increased over time. Angry arguments between others started to feel less threatening. This broadened my perspective and made me more willing to endure what used to be intimidating or scary moments.
Real life doesn’t happen in a bubble. By sitting through these uncomfortable moments, I have gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the complexities of the world around me.
Learn to recognize potentially dangerous people
Learn about setting boundaries.
Learn about codependency and other maladaptive coping skills
Take the Adverse Childhood Experiences Quiz
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More Resources for You~
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For as long as I can remember, there was something “different” about my mother. She wasn’t like other mothers.
My mom didn’t hug or kiss, smile at, spend time with, or play with me. She never seemed happy to see me. She didn’t ask about my school day and wasn’t interested in knowing my friends. She seemed to have no interest in me or anything that I did. My mom called me hurtful names and obscenities, and at times, she ignored me, not speaking to me for days, weeks, or even months. When she felt sad I was expected to emotionally care-take her. When she didn’t feel like parenting, I was responsible for my siblings. When she lost her temper, she hit. When I was disobedient, there were bizarre punishments.
I was not allowed to express feelings, ask questions, or show initiative or curiosity. My feelings were discounted, minimized, or invalidated. She re-wrote my memories, and I was expected to believe her version. I was to obey, stay quiet, and not question.
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In a world where love and companionship are highly valued and sought, it becomes necessary to navigate our relationships cautiously. Understanding relationship warning signs can be helpful in your relationships with family members, friends, and colleagues too. By recognizing potentially harmful patterns of interaction or behavior, you can take proactive measures to avoid toxic dynamics and nurture positive connections with those who share your values and aspirations.
In this book, I delve into concepts of personality quirks and idiosyncrasies, relationship dynamics, and the definitions and differences in what is meant by toxicity, dysfunction, mental health, and abuse. You’ll learn how to guard against emotional, physical, or psychological harm that can arise from unhealthy relationships. By honing your ability to discern the warning signs, you can enjoy more satisfying relationship experiences!
I hope you join me on this transformative expedition as we delve into the intricate tapestry of human interactions and the delicate balance between connection and self-preservation. Together, we will navigate the sometimes-hazardous realm of relationships, armed with information that can guide us toward more fulfilling relationships. We will uncover the hidden patterns and subconscious biases that can lead us astray and we’ll empower ourselves to make informed choices that align with our true desires and values. This journey of self-discovery will illuminate the path toward healthier relationships and serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity for growth and transformation. So, get ready to embark on an odyssey of awareness, self-discovery, and empowerment as we leave past missteps behind and embrace a future filled with love, authenticity, fulfillment, and a constant feeling of safety and security.
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I AM: A Guided Journey to Your Authentic Self, Workbook and Journal, by Diane Metcalf
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About the Author
Diane Metcalf is an experienced advocate, speaker, and author specializing in abuse and family dynamics.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Information Technology. Her professional portfolio is diverse, encompassing fields such as Domestic and Partner Abuse Counseling, Geriatric Care Management, Developmental Disability Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Information Technology Management, and Education.
Through her personal healing journey from physical and emotional abuse and neglect, and with ongoing self-improvement practices, she has developed effective tools that she happily shares with others seeking growth in their own recovery. Her focus is on healing relational trauma through awareness, intention, and introspection, combined with healthy coping strategies and tools.
She is the author of the highly praised “Lemon Moms” series, an emotionally supportive collection that dives into the effects of growing up with mothers having narcissistic traits. This compassionate trilogy provides valuable insights and guidance for coming to terms with past traumas to initiate the healing process.
Learn more about the Lemon Moms series: Lemon Moms
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This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional therapy.