How Avoiding Conflict Escalates Conflict in Relationships

These types of outbursts can be hurtful and will damage your with others, as well as your partner. If we’re not voicing discomfort about a specific problem, that anger doesn’t disappear. Where it chooses to re-appear may vary—as will how it decides to re-appear.


We may feel that conflict should be avoided, or we may be fearful of conflict because we witnessed toxic levels of conflict growing up. There’s a reason you or your partner is conflict avoidant and that reason deserves some empathy! Conflict avoiders have learned this way of being and there’s a basis or motive for these actions. For example, if your partner is the conflict avoider, it’s important to remember that they’re not avoiding you, they’re avoiding some scary idea they have of what speaking their truth will mean.

Conflict avoidance hurts your relationship because it hurts you.

You and your partner’s sexual health is an integral part of your relationship, and if there are issues, they should be addressed.You deserve that. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with your partner or your partner disagreeing with you. The key lies not in avoiding conflict but rather in developing healthy ways to resolve your differences. Couples must learn that conflict can actually become an opportunity to deepen their relationship by fostering mutual understanding of one another’s feelings, desires, and concerns. What experiences from your past may have led to your conflict avoidance? What are you trying to escape when you shy away from confrontation?

What’s the best way to respond to conflict?

Assertiveness. Assertiveness is the best way to manage conflict. The assertive principles of standing up for oneself while acknowledging the rights of others mean that both tactically and strategically the assertive person always has a win-win solution to conflict in their mind.

Instead of trying to sedate emotions like anger, sadness, or fear, try looking at them through the lens of self-compassion, and allowing yourself to see your negative thoughts with empathy. People who respond to conflict this way often expect negative outcomes and find it difficult to trust the other person’s reaction. Let’s say you want to remind your boss that you don’t answer work calls after 5 p.m. If you worry that your boss will fire you for reinforcing this boundary, you might remind yourself that your boss is a reasonable person who values work-life balance.

Conflict avoidance in relationships

You may feel resistant and lack respect for these types of people. So rather than try to work through these situations, you try to avoid them. Caroline is very conflict avoidant and always tries to avoid conflict with her husband. She does this because she is afraid of being seen in a negative light. She worries that her husband will judge her, criticize her, or reject her if she engages in conflict. Being conflict avoidant also impacts our relationships because we’re cutting off all honest communication with the other person.

  • Depending on how close you are to this person, you might know your friend’s family dynamics and gain insight into their personality.
  • Your partner often withdraws from conflict or avoids conflict altogether.
  • Withdrawing and shying away from confrontation is a common one.
  • Individuals who are conflict avoidant might choose to take a more passively approach and although they feel the conflict internally, they choose not to face the conflict head-on.
  • In relationships that are unsupportive or characterized by ongoing conflict, letting go may be a great source of stress relief.

It feels normal for you to step back and observe what’s going on with other people without necessarily intervening, even on your own behalf. Just because you value keeping things the same, however, doesn’t mean you’re totally fixed in your opinions. Patterns are identified and new approaches are explored.

What are the 3 C’s for resolving a conflict?

The self-tests and quizzes are tools to help you with mental, emotional, career and relationship wellness. Pleasecontact one of our relationship counselors in Houston to find out more or read more about our marriage counseling services that help with your relationship. Your therapist serves as a guide, a mediator, and perhaps even a referee of sorts. In a safe, neutral space, each partner can speak directly to the issue and grievances can be aired out. You or your partner may think you’ve done an adequate job of interpreting the problem.

How do you respond when avoidant pulls away?

Someone who's dismissive-avoidant might need a lot of time to themselves, or they might pull back when they're feeling afraid of being hurt. Giving them the room they need to sort through their feelings will help them feel more secure around you, which can actually make them feel a lot closer to you.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict avoider will typically act in one of several ways. They will often apologize, accommodate, or agree with their partner. Sean Grover, L.C.S.W., is an author and psychotherapist who leads one of the largest group therapy practices in the United States.