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Are you secretly addicted to unhealthy conflict?

awareness conflict newsletter Oct 05, 2023

 Eight ways you may be unconsciously benefiting from an unhealthy relationship with conflict.


Over the years, I have noticed that my most requested content is around how to do conflict conversations. 


No one wants to talk about conflict, but everyone wants to know how to do it - well. 


Have you heard the term ‘secondary benefits’? 


‘Secondary benefits’ is a therapeutic term used to define the unconscious benefits that are keeping you stuck in a particular negative pattern of behaviour. When it comes to conflict this is very helpful. Just because you never have any fights does not mean that you have a healthy relationship with conflict. Put another way, playing the people pleaser is an unhealthy relationship with conflict. 


Here are some of the ways you may be (unconsciously) benefiting from an unhealthy relationship with conflict. 


🤭 It saves you from feeling any emotional discomfort with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. 


🤭 It ‘allows’ the other people around you to do the heavy lifting around conflict for you so you don’t have to.


🤭 You draw your sense of power from overpowering others, even in small passive aggressive ways.


🤭 You don’t have to address your unhealthy relationship with conflict, whether you’re a drama queen or determined avoider.


🤭 You can continue to avoid actually acknowledging your feelings and needs, and thus not rock your own boat.


🤭 The anger of feeling wronged or hard-done-by gives you a sense of agency in playing the victim.


🤭 The familiarity of regular conflict is (strangely) comforting.


🤭 Your identity is overly wrapped up in being a ‘passionate person’ or a ‘gentle soul’.


If some or any of these plucked at your self awareness a little uncomfortably, then you may have an aversion to expanding your conflict capability. 


I totally get it! Don’t beat yourself up my friend, it has been (sort-of) working for you. Maybe it is time to lift yourself up into a healthier relationship with conflict once and for all. 


Maybe it is time for a change.


Creating a healthier and more expansive relationship with conflict has it's benefits.


  • ✅ Emotional Resilience: You become better equipped to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions, which leads to improved mental well-being.
  • ✅ Self-Awareness: You gain insight into your triggers, reactions, and values, which contributes to personal growth and understanding.
  • ✅ Adaptability: You become more flexible in various situations, adjusting your communication styles and problem-solving approaches as needed.
  • ✅ Improved Communication: You discuss differences without getting upset, which helps clarify misunderstandings, strengthen bonds, and builds deeper connections.
  • ✅ Enhanced Problem Solving: You address any problems together through collaborative problem-solving which leads to to more effective resolution of issues.
  • ✅ Strengthened Trust: You handled disputes or tensions with maturity, respect, and understanding. It shows that you value the relationship enough to work through challenges, and fosters a sense of mutual trust.


Overall, a healthy relationship with conflict nurtures personal growth, emotional well-being, and stronger connections in every area of your life.

👋🏼 Thea May is a communication coach and guide. She helps both the quiet-types and the social butterflies find their flow in speaking and writing.

With over a decade’s worth of spoken-communication coaching under her belt, Thea now brings her own unique approach to the table.

Her clients and community love Thea because of her state-changing exercises and compelling reframes of communication norms.


👉 Find out more here: Working With Voice

🤳🏾 WhatsApp Thea with your questions or to connect.

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